Pomegranate Raita

Pomegranate Raita

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I can’t imagine an Indian feast without raita. Pomegranate raita? Even better.

Raita is a yogurt based condiment that usually accompanies a spicy Indian dish. From Pakistani biriyani, Bengali kebab, and South Indian thaali, raita is epic in South Asia. This is our recipe for Pomegranate Raita, because we can’t help ourselves in adding an extra serving of fruit in our meals.

The South Indian counterpart to raita is called pachadi (pronounced PUH-chu-dî). A typical South Indian meal will feature rice, Sambar, Rasam, steam-cooked vegetables, and raita (there might be an additional pan roasted vegetable such as potatoes or green plantains gracing the menu). Almost all of these preparations involve the use of different spices such as red chili, fenugreek seeds, cumin, coriander and lentils. 

A typical meal incorporates sweet, sour, salty, and bitter.

Raita adds a touch of sweetness to a meal and helps to soothe the palate and balance the salty and spicy tastes of lentil-based dishes, like Rasam or Sambar. It basically utilizes the power of yogurt and raw or cooked veggies and fruits to provide a sweet and sour counter to the salty, bitter landscape of daals and curries. I love, love, love packing my stews or daals with heat, and you won’t see me making Indian food without at least a few peppers added, whether its whole fresh, dried, or powdered. Each layer of spice has a story to tell and an intention to serve. It should never feel overpowering, but the boldness can always be tempered with a cool raita.

Pomegranate Raita is one of many varieties of raita. The possibilities are endless.

For however easy this dish is, it’s made even easier by the fact that you cannot go wrong on what you choose to include in your raita. We particularly prefer pomegranate because the tart, sour and sharp taste of pom seeds cuts through the yogurt and balances the power of bold spices.

Other options?

Cucumbers! Jalapeños! Tomatoes! Cilantro! Dill! Okra! Green Mango! Potatoes!

Whatever you choose, don’t be afraid to make it colorful. You can add whatever you herbs, fruit or vegetables you already have. Remember, this is a yogurt sauce. Sure, it’s an Indian yogurt sauce, so it’ll be savory and spice-filled, but it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t reflect your whimsical fancies. Would I recommend blueberries, or broccoli? No, I would not. But you’re in charge when you leave here.

History

Here’s what you need to know. The word raita in the languages of Bengali, Hindi and Urdu is a portmanteau of the Sanskrit word rajika which means black mustard seed, and tiktaka, meaning sharp or pungent. In South India, our neck of the woods, especially in the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, traditional raita is called pachadi, which broadly translates to mean food that has been pounded.

In Tamil Nadu, pachadi is eaten fresh and typically made of finely chopped vegetables such as cucumber or gourd, with green or red chillis and tempered in oil. Pachadi is commonly eaten with rice and daal curry.

In Kerala, pachadi exists as a sweet variant in Kerala, made with pineapple, grapes or pumpkin. It is especially popular as a side dish during the most popular festivals –  Onam and Vishu.

A variety of raita in North India varies from region to region, most notable are boondi raitha— which includes tiny balls of fried gram flour (chickpea flour), and sometimes topped with onion and other vegetables. The mixture is served chilled, and is used for the purpose of cooling the palate when paired with the spicy masala-based curries of the North.

Spice Mix

Happy palate soothing, Cumin Beings!

Pomegranate Pachadi (Raita)

Raita is a yogurt based condiment that usually accompanies a spicy Indian dish.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian

Ingredients
  

Pomegranate Pachadi (Raita)

  • Yogurt – ½ cup
  • Pomegranate – ¼ cup heaped
  • Water – 3 tablespoons
  • Oil – 1/2 tsp
  • Mustard Seeds – ¼ – ½ tsp
  • Red Chili – 1
  • Salt – To taste
  • Cilantro chopped – 1/2 tablespoon

Pomegranate Yogurt Dip:

  • Yogurt – ½ cup
  • Pomegranate – ¼ cup heaped
  • Salt – To taste
  • Cumin powder – ⅛ tsp
  • Coriander powder – ⅛ tsp
  • Cayenne pepper – ⅛ tst
  • Lemon juice – ⅛ tsp
  • Cilantro or mint for garnishing – optional

Instructions
 

Pomegranate Pachadi (Raita):

  • Beat yogurt in a bowl until smooth.
  • Add water and mix well. Yogurt should be smooth and slightly thinner for raita.
  • Add salt and adjust the amount according to taste.
  • Add pomegranate seeds to the beaten yogurt.
  • Heat oil in a small frypan. Once oil is hot, add the red chili and mustard seeds and immediately cover the pan with a lid and turn the stove off.* The seeds will begin to pop and once it stops popping, open the lid and pour it over the yogurt-pomegranate mixture.
  • Garnish with cilantro.
  • This raita is a nice accompaniment to a spicy rice dish.

Pomegranate Yogurt Dip:

  • Beat yogurt in a bowl until smooth.
  • Add water if need to get your desired consistency.
  • Add salt and taste. Adjust accordingly.
  • Add cumin, and coriander powder and cayenne pepper and mix well.
  • Add pomegranate seeds.
  • Squeeze lemon juice and mix well.
  • Garnish with cilantro or mint. It is your personal preference. You may skip this if you want to keep it simple.
  • Dip your favorite veggies or chips or pita chips and enjoy!
Keyword condiment, southindian, tamil

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