Introduction to Cucumber Raita:
Cucumber raita is a spicy and refreshing yogurt dish that pairs perfectly with most North Indian dishes. It consists of whole-milk yogurt, red onions, tomatoes, cucumber, cilantro, mint, and spices.
I love eating raita with my favorite daals, rajma, or some bhindi. Even plain rice and raita is absolutely scrumptious. And the best part is that raita is so quick and simple to make. You can complete this dish in under 10 minutes from start to finish.
Breakdown of Ingredients:
- Yogurt: Whole-milk works best for this dish, but if you prefer, you can substitute whole-milk yogurt for low-fat or a plant-based yogurt instead.
- Red Onions: Red onions are a must for this dish! They add a perfect kick to balance out the flavors in this dish. I would not recommend substituting with yellow onions for cucumber raita; instead, I would just omit onions all together, or use shallots if you don’t have red onions on hand.
- Cilantro + Mint: Make sure to finely chop these so the flavor imparts evenly throughout the dish. Mint, in particular, is what makes this dish so unique and refreshing.
- Roma Tomatoes: This is just my personal preference, but I love adding chopped tomatoes to my raita too. However, you can omit this ingredient if you aren’t a fan of tomatoes.
- Cucumber: To get the perfect texture for your cucumber raita, make sure to shred the cucumber. You can also chop the cucumber finely if you prefer, but shredding the cucumber with a grater works best.
- Raita Masala: Raita masala is also a must. It’s a spice blend you can pick up from your local grocery store. However, if this isn’t easily accessible for you, you can also get away with adding some cumin powder and a little garam masala instead.
- Salt + Pepper: Some raita masala blends already have some salt, so make sure to check the taste of your raita before adding more salt. Once you’ve checked, you can add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Kashmiri Chili Powder: Kashmiri mirch is a type of red chili powder that has a bright red tone that is more vibrant than regular chili powder and also a milder flavor. It adds the perfect amount of spice to this raita.
The process for assembling this cucumber raita is super quick and simple. For the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and mint you want to make sure to chop everything finely. The texture of these veggies should look similar to how finely you’d chop your ingredients for a salsa.
For the cucumber, I recommend using a shredder instead of chopping your cucumbers. So, grab a grater and use the setting you would normally use to shred long strips of cheese. After you’ve shredded the cucumber, some people like to squeeze out the excess water. I personally don’t. I think the cucumber water adds a great flavor to the raita, and also gets the yogurt to become the right consistency without adding extra water or milk.
However, if you do like a thinner consistency to your raita, of course, feel free to add in more water or whole milk and mix well until you get your desired consistency.
Additions + Modifications:
- Add Chaat Masala: Another great substitute for raita masala is using chaat masala. So, if you don’t have raita masala on hand, grab your chaat masala instead, and add in a hefty sprinkle to your raita.
- Add Potatoes: This might seem like an unconventional addition, but don’t knock it until you try it! Boil some gold potatoes and chop into small cubes before adding it to your rice. This adds a lot of substance to the raita and makes it more filling. This way, you can server your raita with just plain rice and it turns into a full meal.
- 1 Roma tomato
- 1/2 English cucumber
- 1/4 Red onion
- cilantro (to taste)
- mint (to taste)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- 1/2 tsp raita masala
- 1/8 tsp Kashmiri mirch
- 1.5 – 2 c whole milk yogurt
- Shred your cucumbers and finely chop the rest of your veggies: tomatoes, onions, cilantro and mint.
- I like to add a few sprigs of cilantro and mint just for garnish; you don’t need a ton!
- Then add in your yogurt and seasoning: salt, pepper, Kashmiri mirch, and raita masala. Adjust seasonings to taste.