When I run out of veggies, or just have a little bit of this and a little bit of that, simple and comforting Raitas are the ones that come to my rescue. Raita is a yogurt based sauce or dip that can be made in so many different ways by altering the veggies, herbs and spices. ‘Thayir Pachadi’ is the Tamil name for Raita.
Most of the times the veggies added to the Raita are raw and are finely chopped/minced/crushed. Cooked veggies in Raitas are not uncommon either. Green peppers, okra etc. taste great when lightly sauteed in oil before mixing them in yogurt.
A traditional full course South Indian meal (Thali) is incomplete without a Pachadi. Indian food spread made for special occasions are much elaborate. Special occasions are just not big festivals and weddings, they also include house warming ceremonies, baby showers, birthday celebrations and many more. Served traditionally on a large banana leaf , the meal normally consists of a dozen or two different varieties of food items. This is one of the many things that we miss being far away from our homeland. Hmm, I cannot recall when I last ate such a sumptuous feast served on a banana leaf, sigh! Home sweet home!
Carrot Cucumber Raita is one of my favorites. I make it in large quantities and can have it with anything and everything. Sometimes, a big bowl of this Raita with a little bit of mango pickle is all I need for a filling/satisfying lunch. This is no exaggeration.
Prep Time : 15 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Yield: 3-4 cups of Raita
1 cup grated cucumber
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup plain yogurt (thick)
1 small green chili (hot)
1/4 cup grated coconut
1 teaspoon oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
Grind coconut and green chili together with two tablespoons of yogurt into a smooth paste.
Mix cucumbers and carrots with salt and the remaining yogurt in a wide bowl. Let it sit for a few minutes. Salt releases moisture from the veggies and dilutes the Raita a little giving it a perfect consistency. Add a tablespoon or two of water if you want to thin it out a little more.
To this, add the coconut green chili paste and mix well. Heat oil in a skillet and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter, add curry leaves and turn off heat. Pour on top of raitha.
Serve cold or at room temperature.