This recipe is for my father-in-law, who recently tried raita at our favorite Indian restaurant. Perhaps for the first time? Anyway, I told him it's easy to make at home.
I've made this many times over the years, the recipe comes from the Moosewood Cookbook. I am going to disagree with Mollie just a tad: cucumber and onion are not optional, Molls. No way. I do like that you are free to play around with spices and additions until you figure out what strikes your fancy.
So here we go.
Preparation time: just a few minutes
Yield: 2 cups (serves 6)
"One of the many condiments served in a traditional Indian meal, raita is a yogurt preparation with small amounts of seasoning and a hint of minced or grated fresh vegetables. It is designed to cool and relax the palate in between bites of heavier, more intensely seasoned dishes. Serve raita with any curry, or with samosas...This can be put together in just minutes.
Note: For a deeper flavor, the cumin and optional fennel seeds can be lightly toasted first. Cook them without oil in a small, heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about a minute, or until they give off a toasty aroma."
2 cups plain yogurt
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 small cucumber (about 5 inches long), peeled, seeded and minced or grated
1/4 cup finely minced onion
salt and cayenne, to taste
OPTIONAL ADDITIONS (add some or all):
1 small ripe tomato, diced
1/2 cup finely minced bell pepper (any color)
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
Combine everything in a small bowl and mix gently. Cover tightly, and refrigerate until serving time.