What Is Raita?

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Like butterflies, snowflakes, thumbprints, unhappy families and Coldplay songs (though they come close), no two raitas are exactly alike. A chilled yogurty vegetable (or fruit) condiment native to India, raita’s basic formula is 2 cups of yogurt plus a chopped vegetable or two, plus various spices and herbs. 

There are eggplant raitas, potato raitas, onion-chickpea raitas, carrot-tomato raitas, banana raitas, mango raitas and raitas made from pretty much anything else you can mix with yogurt and spices. 

The traditional raita is made with cucumber, though this too can vary according to herb (mint vs. cilantro, for example), spice (cumin vs. coriander vs. chili powder vs. mustard seed) or additional vegetable (tomatoes vs. chile pepper). We like a very mild cucumber raita to serve alongside spicy meat and vegetable dishes. 

Do you have a favorite raita? 

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