Sunday, December 03, 2006

two raitas and a chutney

i eat a lot of indian and asian food. i appreciate the endless wide variety of [vegetarian] dishes and spicy combinations.

the following are some of my favourites condiments.

for those of you who are unfamiliar with this fare, a raita (rah-ee-ta) is a simple spiced yogourt condiment made with either a chopped or grated vegetable such as cucumber, tomato or carrot and eaten at an indian meal. it is said to soothe the palate due to the cooling nature of the yogourt.

the carrot raita and the coriander and mint chutney are my own renditions. the cucumber raita is from world vegetarian by madhur jaffrey.

make sure to use the brown mustard seeds available from an indian or middle eastern shop. they make all the difference and give a pronounced nutty flavour.

a few tablespoons of ground peanuts may be added to these condiments to thicken them if they are too thin or if you just like that flavour.

a simple coriander & mint chutney


1 bunch coriander, cleaned
1/2 bunch mint, cleaned
1 big clove garlic
1 small chunk of ginger
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded
1 - 2 green chilis, seeded
1/2 c water

1 tsp salt
2 - 2 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 tsp hot chilli powder [omit if using green chilis]
1/4 - 1/2 tsp cumin powder


clean the mint and coriander and remove leaves. some soft stems on coriander is fine. peel the garlic and ginger and cut in pieces. clean the green chili(s).

in a blender or food processor, mince the garlic, ginger, green chili(s) and bell pepper. add the water and the mint and coriander and blend well. once well blended, add the final ingredients.

taste. adjust flavourings.

carrot and coriander raita

the combination of grated carrot, roasted cumin seeds, and nutty brown mustard seeds suspended in cool yogourt is a perfection combination. it is both sweet and tangy. try it and you won't be disappointed. the addition of a tablespoon or two of ground peanuts would go really well here, too.


1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
1 3/4 to 2 c yogourt
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp sugar
2 - 3 tbsp chopped coriander

1 tbsp peanut [or vegetable] oil
3/4 tsp brown mustard seeds
1/2 tsp whole cumin
1/4 tsp red chili flakes, or more


grate carrot. add salt, sugar, coriander and carrot to the yogourt. mix well and set aside.

in a small pot with a lid, heat the oil until it is hot. add the mustard seeds, the cumin and the chili flakes and partially cover the pot. when the mustard seeds stop popping remove from heat and carefully add to the yogourt mixture. mix well. refrigerate and serve.

cooking the spices in the oil (or ghee) is called a chaunk [or tarka or baghar]. it must not be done over high heat or you will end up burning your spices. if that happens, throw it out when it has cooled and start again at a lower heat. the spices however will darken somewhat.

gujurati cucumber raita
as per madhur jaffrey


1 c yogurt
1 seedless medium cucumber, grated and squeezed dry
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/8 - 1/4 tsp chilli powder

1 tbsp peanut oil
1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds


exactly the same as for carrot raita.


Pamela said...

Hi burekaboy, hope you don't mind but I've been feeding your hedgehog some strawberries! Too cute man. I have an imaginary dog (iDog) called Miguel, but he is hard for others to see, and I have never caught anyone feeding him strawberries... Maybe I will have to adopt a virtual dog (vDog)!

burekaboy — said...

lol, no problem. i have been feeding him, too! check out the site, they have quite a few cute ones to choose from. perhaps you can feed your new adoptee some raita or chutney, lol.

thanks for stopping by. funny, i was thinking about you & vancouver just yesterday.

Nafeesah said...

My family makes a similar coriander chutney during Ramadhan and we eat it with samosas (home made samosas, I abhor the store bought ones), however we dont add the mint and add some fresh coconut flesh and grind it up with everything. Next time I'll add the mint (whilst keeping the coconut) and see the difference it makes :). I'll be making Kabshah this weekend so I'll probably try out this Carrot and coriander Raita to go with it :)

burekaboy — said...

hey nafeesah - LOL, yup, the storebought samosas can be pretty wretched. i LOVE samosas but they can be a lot of work; i have to be in the mood to make them.

the green chutneys i know of usually mix both but i also make them only with coriander or only with mint. both ways are good. i like it with the mint. i don't usually put in coconut but it sounds YUM! :D

ok, now i have a question for YOU! what is kabshah?

btw, the carrot and coriander chutney tastes even better the next day, i find. hope you like it.

Nafeesah said...

Yes tell me about samosas being alot of work! usually by the time i'm finished i'm so tired and sick of them that I feel as if I never want to see one again! LOL but of course that's never the case :p

Kabsah (sorry spelt it wrong before) is a dish which is popular in Saudi, It's a dish in which the meat and rice is cooked pilau I would's almost like biryani! minus the yogurt and some of the seasonings, wait does biryani use a whole lot of tomatoes? *tries to remember* because Kabsah sure does lol..

burekaboy — said...

haha nafeesah - i ALWAYS say the same thing about those samosas; cursing myself for even starting them!! but then, you CANNOT resist and end up making them yet again. oh well, they're worth the work ;P

i don't really know this kabsah dish but will look it up to see what it is all about :)) my friend's family is from dubai so i'll ask him about it. i'm sure he'll know since many of the foods are the same. btw, where are you from originally?