Raita is yogurt salad, pronounced (RYE-ta), classically served as a “cooling” condiment with Indian curry dishes. You don’t necessarily need to drain the yogurt, but it helps, especially with the low fat and fat-free choices, to keep the raita nice and thick. Greek yogurts, which we can now find easily in the market, are a good choice and they are more thick in the first place. Add some ground cumin to the walnuts as they finish toasting.
Try this raita with grilled vegetables or as a dip for toasted pita chips.
2 cups plain low-fat or fat-free yogurt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
1/3 cup walnut pieces, lightly toasted
1 large cucumber
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch sea salt
Drain the yogurt in a colander, lined with cheesecloth, for about an hour. It will some of its watery liquid and gain a nice thick texture.
Chop the toasted walnuts into 1/4-inch pieces. Peel the cucumber, cut it in half lengthwise and, with a spoon, scrape away the seeds. Cut into 1/4-inch dice or grate like you would for carrots.
Stir together the yogurt, garlic, chopped basil, walnuts and cucumber. Season with the cayenne and salt.
Makes about 2 cups.