There’s a reason why I didn’t bother with a nicer presentation of this dish in the bowls. This is just so good there’s no time to arrange it or take multiple photos, you just want to eat it immediately! I tasted this type of raita around two years ago in Masala Restaurant in Prague and I absolutely fell in love with it. It was not a side dish for me, it was the star of the whole meal. Not only the flavour combination was surprisingly tasty but also its soothing effect when eating spicy biryani won me over completely. And perhaps that’s how it works best, in combination with extremely spicy dishes. This raita, biryani of your choice and garlic naan together make a perfect meal. Unfortunately I moved out of Prague and started to miss Masala’s special raita. I decide to recreate it basing on what I remembered. Results totally knocked me over. After experimenting a bit I perfected the ratio of ingredients. Behold the perfect raita!
Ingredients (for one serving!):
- 1/4 red onion finely diced
- salt to taste
- 3 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2-3 tablespoons cucumber finely diced
- 1/4 tomato finely diced (also around 3-4 tablespoons)
- a handful of chopped fresh coriander
- 150 ml fresh yogurt
- ground coriander
- hot pepper or sweet paprika to taste
All you have to do is chop all ingredients very finely and add to your bowl, mix with joghurt, lemon and salt. Sprinkle the dry spices on top. As for fresh coriander; I prefer to add chopped stalks instead of leaves. I think they give more flavour and although they are already quite soft they still give your raita a bit of a crunch which is very nice. You can use leaves though if you want, I prefer to reserve the leaves for when I cook biryani. As a variation you can also add parsley or fresh mint. For a more spicy version green hot pepper will be perfect here. Be careful when adding cumin as it’s this type of spice that tends to be overpowering. On the other hand you can add as much of ground coriander as you want. Note that this amount is for one person. I tend to prepare it in individual bowls so that no one ends up only with onion while others have only cucumber. Don’t be afraid of the onion-yogurt combination, as weird as it may sound it works surprisingly well. Red onion is more subtle in taste, I haven’t tried making this with regular white onion, but I suspect it may be too strong for such a dish. Finally once your raita is ready, put it to fridge for around 1 hour. This will allow all the flavours to mingle. Take it out of fridge 30 minutes before serving. Flavours will intensify when at room temperature.