My cucumber raita is simple to make and bursting with fantastically fresh flavor. This simple combination of yogurt, cucumber, cumin, and salt is the perfect way to add a dose of freshness to any dish. It is creamy, cooling, and tantalizingly tangy!
Today’s cucumber raita recipe comes to us from the sensationally spiced world of Indian Cuisine. Bright, tangy yogurt, crisp cucumbers, and smoky cumin come together blissfully to produce this delectable gem. This cool, creamy condiment is perfect for adding balance to zesty, heavily spiced dishes. It has the unique ability to add flavor and richness while also lightening and cooling the flavors!
Cucumber raita is also super versatile. It can be used as a dip, drizzle, side dish, appetizer, or snack. And honestly, I’m addicted. Since I made it the first time, I can’t make Indian food without whipping up a batch of the stuff (or my Onion Raita or Pineapple Raita). Luckily, it only takes 10 minutes and 4 simple ingredients to create. Get ready to elevate all your favorite dishes with this easy culinary treasure!
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If you are cruising for more Indian-themed condiments to have in your rotation, check out my Sweet and Spicy Tomato Chutney, Cranberry Apple Chutney, and this Pudina Chutney (Indian Mint Chutney). For a Middle Eastern treat, try my Cucumber Yogurt Salad (Mast o Khiar), too!
- Cucumber – The star of this cucumber raita recipe, it adds an invigorating freshness and slight grassy sweetness. I recommend choosing a variety with thin skin and small seeds, like Persian or English Hothouse. However, any cucumber you have available will do the trick.
- Yogurt – Provides a foundation for the dish with a light, creamy texture and bright, tangy flavor. Regular yogurt is perfect for raitas, but Greek yogurt will work too. Just be sure to add a small amount of water to thin it out.
- Kosher Salt – Harmonizes flavors and helps the other ingredients in the dish shine.
- Cumin – Adds just the right amount of contrast with a dash of warm, smoky, spiciness.
What is Raita?
Raita is a traditional Indian side dish made of yogurt, raw or cooked fruits or vegetables, and a few seasonings. It’s SO easy to make, and tastes wonderful with a variety of other dishes.
- Prepare the Cucumber. Use a grater to grate the cucumber into a sieve or colander, then allow the liquid to drain into a bowl.
- Blend Yogurt & Spices. In a separate bowl, combine the yogurt, kosher salt, and cumin. Whisk well to get a nice, smooth consistency. If you are working with Greek yogurt, first thin it with ⅓ cup of water, whisking until incorporated before you add in the salt and cumin.
- Add the Cucumber. Squeeze the grated cucumber to remove as much liquid as possible. Discard the cucumber water or set aside for other uses. Toss the cucumber into the yogurt bowl and mix to combine.
- Serve or Chill. Enjoy right away or transfer your raita to the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes to an hour. Sprinkle it with chili powder before serving.
At first glance, it might seem like these two condiments are the same thing. They are both seasoned, yogurt-based sauces featuring fresh cucumber. Don’t be fooled — although they are similar, they have a few key differences.
Tzatziki is a classic Greek condiment made with Greek yogurt, fresh cucumbers, garlic, lemon, and dill. It has a thick consistency and the ingredients in any tzatziki recipe do not tend to vary much.
Cucumber raita, on the other hand, has its origins in India. It is made with regular yogurt (or thinned Greek yogurt), fresh cucumbers, cumin, and salt, making it thinner and simpler than its Mediterranean cousin.
Furthermore, cucumber raita belongs to a larger family of raita recipes that are popular throughout India. These yogurt-based sauces can contain a wide variety of different fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices.
It can be enjoyed as a snack, dip, side dish, or even marinade. Here are a few of my favorite ideas to get you started:
– Pair this cucumber raita recipe with Lamb Vindaloo, Gobi Masala (Cauliflower Curry), Indian Chicken Curry (Murgh Kari), or any of your favorite curry dishes.
– Add some to classic biryani dishes like this Chicken Biryani.
– Enjoy raita as a snack by itself, or with a fresh batch of Roti Indian Flatbread (Chapati) or Garlic Naan Bread.
– Use as a dip for appetizers like these Crispy Corn Pakora or Zucchini Lentil Fritters.
– Have raita alongside your favorite roasted meats or kebabs like Chicken Tikka Kebab, Tandoori Chicken, or Lebanese Kafta.
Yes, cucumber raita is incredibly healthy. The yogurt base in this cucumber raita recipe is full of friendly probiotics to help the gut. What’s more, the cucumbers in the recipe are helpful for slimming down and removing toxins from the body. It is a low-calorie, nutrient-dense food that is fantastic for digestion, heart health, and more.
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- Grate cucumber over colander and drain in bowl.
- Whisk yogurt, salt and cumin to a smooth consistency. If using Greek yogurt, add 1/3 cup water to thin. Whisk until smooth consistency then add salt and cumin, stirring once again to combine.
- Squeeze drained cucumber to extract excess water and discard water (or save for other use). Add to the yogurt and mix to combine.
- Chill if you prefer and serve with chili powder sprinkled on top.
- I prefer using a hothouse cucumber, the long thin skinned ones or the smaller Persian thin skinned cucumbers. Any cucumber will work, this is just a preference.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.