Raita is a refreshing, cooling and versatile yogurt sauce commonly served as a side in Indian cuisine. It pairs well with spicy Indian food. Raita is generally prepared with plain yogurt. However, the recipe will vary from region to region and season to season. Another yogurt sauce typically used in Greek cooking, tzatziki, is made with thicker Greek yogurt.
Raita is thinner while tzatziki has a thicker consistency because of the Greek yogurt. Tzatziki is usually a mixture of yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, kosher salt, oil, and lemon juice.
Most cooks in India make their own yogurt. There is no one way to make raita and it usually reflects the ingredients that are indigenous to an area in India. Typically, the yogurt is combined with peeled, seedless cucumbers, cumin, cilantro, and chilis. The Enhance your Palate recipe, below, also adds mint powder. I opted to use fresh mint since I did not have the powder. You can make the raita a day ahead if you like and it will keep well in the refrigerator.
Experiment in your kitchen trying different spicy foods with this versatile cooling cucumber raita sauce. Rupali likes to top her raita with pomegranate seeds to add a little sweetness to the sauce.