Raita is a cooling and refreshing yogurt dip that helps round off any Pakistani meal.
We mostly tend to have Raita with rice dishes like Sindhi Biryani to mellow down the heat or with Kala Channa Pulao to really just make the meal more wholesome and comforting. It equally goes well with dry curries with less sauce like Butt Karahi for that extra creaminess and texture.
Depending on the kind of flavour you require, raita can be made plain, spicy or a bit tangy. We make our raita with roasted cumin seeds because it gives a beautiful smokiness to it with an earthy depth.
Raita really is one of those recipes that you make to your taste. If you prefer extra heat, add red chilli powder and for that tanginess add chaat masala. We occasionally also add carom seeds, no particular reason. Mainly because mum’s raita always had it and it just tastes so much more delicious & nuttier.
Here is a basic recipe for Zeera Raita that you can whip up in minutes, with optional ingredients to give you an idea on the endless flavour possibilities.
1 Cup Yogurt (~ 250g)
A splash of Milk or Water
1 tsp Roasted Cumin Seeds
1/4 tsp Salt or to taste
Pinch of Black Pepper Powder
Coriander to garnish
1/8 to 1/4 tsp Red Chilli Powder
1/8 to 1/4 tsp Chaat Masala
1/4 tsp Carom Seeds
- Heat a non-stick frying pan, add cumin seeds and dry roast gently.
- Stir until they turn a shade darker and release their musky aroma.
- Whisk the yogurt in a large bowl, with salt and cumin seeds.
- Add enough milk or water to get a smooth runny consistency.
- Sprinkle some black pepper on top and garnish with few coriander sprigs.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.