I am posting this dip ahead of so many of my Indian favorites. You know why? I love you guys so much, and I thought this one will help you… this Tomato Cucumber Raita will be your savior.
When you want to eat Indian food, I mean really crave it, yet feel a little timid of the fieriness when putting that tandoori chicken or pork vindaloo (yep those vindaloos can send you to the loo if you’re not used to them) in your mouth, think again. Here is something to cool your fiery bites a tad bit and create a nice yummy palate in your mouth.
See, saviour. That’s my tomato cucumber raita for you. The coolness of cucumber and tanginess of tomatoes in nice cold yogurt. The yogurt contains a protein called casien, which binds to capsaicin (the stuff that makes food spicy) and helps wash it off your tongue…hmm… Science behind it. All I know is it works and you can try a tiny little bit more spice than you can handle normally.
Different types of raitas are the most popular side dishes in Indian cuisine. This one goes great with any Indian dish you have in mind, be it saag paneer, vegetable korma, yellow dal, rice biryanis. It’s the perfect partner!
So, here is the easy fix to cool off the heat. This one is for someone in hurry, whip it in a zippy! A little chopping, mixing… and some of my secret ingredients… and believe me, this dip is going to be your favorite. And not only just for Indian meals, but just to munch something and cool off in these hot, hot summer days.
Ingredients for basic Tomato Cucumber Raita
- Yogurt – The base for any raita. You can use Greek for a richer raita, but regular plain yogurt works fine.
- Tomato and Cucumber – Because that’s what type of raita we’re making today!
- Jalepenõ – We have different green chilis in India, but jalepenõs work great.
- Salt and Sugar – To fine tune to your taste.
How to make Tomato Cucumber Raita
Chop your cucumber, tomatoes, onion, cilantro and a little jalepenõ. Mix in a bowl with yogurt and add a bit of salt and sugar… taste and adjust. You can just stop here and enjoy.
This part will add a couple of extra little step, but will elevate this raita to next level.
Crush some roasted peanuts and add to the raita… mmm… yea..!! You can stop here and enjoy.
But would you really like to try the ultimate in Indian raita???
To try the secret yumminess of so many Indian households, you need to learn the Indian cooking technique called Tempering, or Tadka. It is is a method widely used in Indian cuisine in which some spices or other ingredients are heated in hot oil or ghee and then this mixture is added to a dish. Hot fat has an amazing ability to extract and retain the essence, aroma and flavor of the spices and herbs and the carry this forward to added dish..
All you have to do is heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a small cooking vessel (we have special tadka pot) and once it’s smoking hot add cumin seeds and mustard seeds along with few jalepenõ pieces. Another thing we add is few curry leaves which is a common staple in India, but unfortunately you can usually only find it in an Indian grocery store in Western countries.
If you don’t have curry leaves, that’s fine. But, boy if you have those you get to cook like a real Indian…Be extremely careful, as the oil is smoking hot and it tends to splatter once you add things. After frying these spices for a minute or two, pour this mixture over your raita. Stir and taste… yummm… yes!! Perfect… too perfect. If you can resist finishing it all right then, chill and serve!
What to serve with your homemade Raita
This Indian condiment is really one of the most versatile things you can have in your fridge. Of course it is a perfect accompaniment to just about any Indian meal, from dal and rice to tikkas to chicken masala. You can even roll it in a roti for a quick snack. But don’t think it’s usefulness ends with Indian fare. Do you have any spicy favorites that you think could use a nice cool side dish? This is it! And similar to tzatziki, it is a great dressing for salads and Buddha bowls and it makes a great dip for veggies and crackers. Once you start experimenting, you just may want to keep a batch in your fridge all the time! Speaking of which…
You can keep this covered or in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days. I wouldn’t recommend keeping it longer, as water begins to leech out of the cucumbers and thins your raita down too much. But that’s okay, it’s so easy you won’t mind whipping up a fresh batch!
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Tomato Cucumber Raita, on my Gypsy Plate… Enjoy!
- 1 large cucumber
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 1 small onion
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1 jalepenõ
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- Salt to taste
- Sugar to taste
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped peanuts
- 2 Tbsp cooking oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 stalks curry leaves
- Chop cucumber, onions and tomatoes. Mix it with yogurt, salt, sugar, cilantro and half chopped jalepenõ.
- Add coarsely chopped peanuts and mix.
- Heat oil in a small vessel. When smoking hot, add cumin seeds and mustard seeds. When it starts sputtering, add remaining half chopped jalepenõ, being careful not to splash oil on to yourself. Add curry leaves. When leaves begin to crisp, pour this hot tempering into your raita. Mix well.
- Cover and chill before serving.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 209Total Fat 14gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 3mgSodium 247mgCarbohydrates 15gFiber 3gSugar 9gProtein 8g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
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