What is Raita?
Raita is a side dish that is very simple to make, and a meal in India is incomplete without it. It is used as a condiment not just in India but in many South Asian cuisines. The main ingredient used in the raita recipe is yoghurt or the Dahi. This can then be mixed with cooked or raw vegetables. It can also be made with fruits of many kinds to give it a twist. The raita recipe is similar to the dip or sauce that the Western Cuisine uses. Depending on the raita recipe, the seasonings vary. The raita can be sweet, spicy, or savoury and is usually used as a contrast to the main cuisine.
What are the Benefits of Raita?
Curd is a staple food ingredient in most Indian homes and it is made by fermenting milk which produces lactic acid. This lactic acid gives the rich and thick texture of the curd. If had on its own, it has a creamy flavour and has a little sweet-sour taste. Curd is highly beneficial for health and when used in a raita recipe it becomes super healthy due to the use of all those raw fruits or vegetables. Some of the health benefits of raita are:
1. Boosts bone and teeth health
Curd is rich in phosphorus and calcium and that makes the bones and teeth stronger. It also helps in preventing bone diseases and issues like arthritis as they make the bone stronger.
2. Improves immunity
Curd with a mix of vegetables/fruits helps in fighting infections and improves immunity. Curd is rich in probiotics which are healthy bacteria that is needed to maintain the balance of the microorganisms in the body. Moreover, probiotics also increase the WBC counts and thus help to fight infections.
3. Aids digestion
The curd contains probiotics that help in the proper functioning of the digestive system. Moreover, the fruits/ vegetables in the raita recipe contain fibre which aids digestion.
4. Keeps heart healthy
Consuming curd can reduce cholesterol which in turn reduces the risk of hypertension and blood pressure. All this means that the heart is healthy when the cholesterol is at optimal levels.
5. Controls blood sugar
Yogurt can be digested easily and that can help in controlling blood sugar levels. So consuming it reduces the risk of diabetes but one should avoid the sweet versions of it.
6. Gives energy
A raita recipe with curd and fruits/vegetables can aid in increased entail of vitamins and minerals. It is not only an energy booster but also acts as an antioxidant reducing oxidative stress.
7. Improves skin health
When mixed with lime and gram flour it acts as a natural face pack that gives blemish-free and glowing skin.
8. Aids in weight loss
Bad lifestyle and diet choices lead to accumulation of fat especially around the waistline. Curd which is rich in calcium reduces the production of cortisol which helps in weight loss. Moreover, consuming something like cucumber raita or mixed veg raita leaves you full for a long time and reduced food intake.
Uses of Raita
The raita recipe is so versatile that it can be used as a dip, side dish, or even as a main dish for weight watchers. Some of the uses of raita are:
• It can be used as a dip for barbecues and spicy curries.
• Raita like Boondi Raita recipe is the most famous as it can be had with rice dishes like Pulao, Bisi Bele Bath, Biryanis, and more.
• It can be used as a sauce for starters like Hara Bhara Kabab and other kebab varieties.
• Raita like Beetroot Raita or Amaranth Raita or Mint Raita can be used as a salad for people who are on weight loss.
• It can be used as a marinade for chicken
• Used as a topping on fried dishes, roasted vegetables, etc.
• A Beetroot Cucumber and Tomato Raita can be a great mid-evening snack.
10 Must-try Raita Recipes
1. Basic Raita
This is among the simple Dahi raita recipe. Start by beating 1 cup of chilled curd until it is smooth. Chop onions, tomatoes, and coriander finely and mix them into the curd. Season it with salt, pepper powder, and green chillies. Give it a good mix and a tasty raita recipe is ready to be served with your meal. You can also make sweet versions of this recipe. Make pomegranate raita or black grape raita for a sweet variation of this easy raita recipe.
2. Boondi Raita
The Boondi raita recipe is the most sought-after recipe as it goes well with biryanis and pulao. To make this popular raita recipe for biryani, take warm water in a bowl. Add home-made or store-bought Boondi to the warm water. Ensure that it is completely soaked in water, cover with a lid and set it aside for about 10 minutes. While the Boondi is soaking, whisk curd in a bowl until it becomes smooth and keep aside. Now drain water from the Boondi, lightly press with your hand so that excess water is removed. Add it to the curd and spice it with jeera powder, garam masala, and chilli powder, and mix well. Mix in the coriander leaves and serve.
3. Mint Raita Recipe or Mint Chutney
It is among the best raita recipes for kebabs and other starters. To prepare this, wash and drain the mint and coriander. Roast cumin until it is aromatic add it to the blender to powder it. To the same jar, add mint, coriander, ginger, garlic, onions, salt, green chillies, salt, and a tsp of curd. Blend to a paste and add this to the whisked curd and serve.
4. Ginger Mint Raita
Crush ginger and mint leaves and strain them while retaining the flavour and taste of these ingredients. Chop onions and coriander, add green chillies, salt, and cumin powder. Mix with whisked curd and serve. Spinach Raita can also be done in a similar way.
5. Fruit Raita
It is among the easy fruit raita recipe that is yummy as well as refreshing. Chop the pineapple into bite-sized cubes, whisk curd until it is smooth. Mix both add spice powders like red chilli powder, cumin powder, and chat masala. Instead of normal salt use rock salt to give more flavour and garnish with coriander. Instead of only pineapple, use a mix of fruits to make a delicious mix fruit raita.
6. Lauki Ka Raita
This is a healthy raita recipe as it uses Lauki. Wash and peel the Lauki and grate it. Add this to boiling water by adding salt and cook until it is tender. Strain the excess water and keep it aside. Whisk curd until it is smooth, add jeera powder, chilli powder, rock salt, and the cooked Lauki to it. Garnish with coriander and serve.
7. Beetroot Raita
Chop the ends of the beetroot and peel it. Use a grater and grate it and set it aside. In a bowl whisk curd, mix rock salt, jeera powder, and chilli powder. Add the grated beetroot to the mixture, garnish with coriander and serve. Mix veg raita can also be done similarly.
8. Burani Raita
This is one of the healthy recipes due to the addition of garlic into it. Crush garlic into small pieces, if you don't like the raw flavour roast it and keep it aside. Whisk the curd and add spice powders of your choice along with garlic. Garnish with coriander and serve.
9. Aloo Ka Raita
Boil potatoes with salt and cut into cubes. Take a cup of curd and whisk it. Add dry spices like chilli powder, cumin powder, chat masala, and salt to it. Stir the spices so that it gets mixed and add potatoes to it. Garnish with coriander and serve with your rice dish.
10. Makhana Raita
This is a healthy raita recipe that is good for diabetics. It is also among the different raita recipes as it uses nuts. Dry roast the Makhana in a pan until it is crunchy and leave it to cool. Crush this cooled Makhana into small pieces. Spice the whisked curd with the seasoning of your choice, stir well. Add Makhana to this curd mixture, garnish with coriander and serve.
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