Seasonal recipe No 7 – Cucumber raita
Serve this as a side dish with curries or simply as a dip. This recipe is from Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook. Without the turmeric and with a bit more garlic and a tablespoon of olive oil, you’ll have Greek tzatziki. And the Turkish cucumber and yoghurt salad cacik is pretty much identical too.
Draining time: 30 minutes
Preparation time: 5 minutes
¼ teaspoon fine salt
200g mild natural yoghurt
small bunch of mint
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
small pinch of ground turmeric or paprika
Grate the cucumber – you don’t need to skin – and put it in a sieve over a bowl. Sprinkle it with the fine salt and leave it to drain for half an hour. Pat the cucumber dry with kitchen paper. Mix with the yoghurt, mint, garlic and just enough water to give you the consistency you want, usually in the region of 100ml. Add a pinch of turmeric for extra flavour and pale yellow colouring or sprinkle paprika over the top.
I didn’t find it necessary to add water! There are many variations on this recipe: Delia Smith slices rather than grates the cucumber and adds a finely chopped spring onion, 2 pinches cayenne pepper and 1 pinch cumin seeds; Madhur Jaffrey doesn’t bother with draining the cucumber and uses 1 pinch roasted cumin seeds. But whichever way you make it, it’s a refreshing and cooling dish.
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