My colleague is a keen gardener and is always surprising us with fruits and vegetables from his half acre garden where he grows fruits and vegetables using poly tunnels. Last week, he gave us these lovely yellow lemon cucumbers. They don’t have a lemon taste but look a bit like small yellow lemons. They reminded me of the kind of cucumbers we used to get in Kenya and India where sliced cucumbers were served as fruit sprinkled with salt and chilli powder. They were a real thirst quencher in the hot weather. I used my cucumber to make a raita
A lot of Indian restaurants serve raita, pickle and papadams (really called papads) as soon as you sit down to order your meal. In Indian homes- raitas, pickles and papads are all served as part of an Indian meal together with the curries, dalls and chapatis or any other Indian bread such as parathas. The name implies that it’s a dish containing mustard but most restaurants don’t add mustard to their raita. Try out my recipe and let me know the difference in taste.
- 1 lemon cucumber (you can substitute this with any cucumber or grated carrots or even diced bananas.
- 1-2 finely sliced green chillies
- 2 cups of Greek style yogurt
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp mustard paste ( any make you like)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic (crushed using a garlic press)
- 1 tsp of grated ginger
- pinch of ground cumin
- pinch of turmeric
- pinch of ground black pepper
- some watercress ( you can also use fresh mint)
- 2-3 cherry tomatoes for garnishing
1. Peel and grate the cucumber and transfer it to a mixing bowl. Add all the spices – including the chillies, garlic, ginger, the mustard paste and watercress to the mixing bowl. Add the two cups of yogurt and mix well.
2. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with some baby tomatoes and watercress. Sprinkle some ground pepper and keep it in the fridge until ready to serve. We don’t serve raita as a dip but as part of a meal as the cool raita helps to balance out all the different tastes of food served in an Indian thali (plate).
3. For those of you feeling adventurous, add very finely chopped spring onions to the raita!!