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This easy raita recipe makes a lovely, lightly savory complement to Indian-inspired meals. It cools and cleanses your palate.

a decorative bowl containing an easy raita recipe
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Why we love this recipe

Raita provides a beautiful cooling element to Indian and Indian-inspired meals. It’s remarkably amenable and fits right in with a spectacular variety of curries, grilled dishes, and more. You’ll find near-infinite variations on this simple dish.

This recipe is:

  • Full of its own savory flavors, but plays well with other dishes
  • Beautifully balanced in terms of both flavor and texture
  • Quick
  • Highly customizable — you can find suggestions below or riff on your own

Raita also makes a great dip for pita or naan chips or vegetable sticks, if you have some left over or don’t plan to cook a whole meal.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • The base of this recipe is plain yogurt. You can use any fat percentage, and either Greek-style or American-style, depending on how thick you’d like the result to be. I personally prefer a slightly thicker result and tend to use Greek-style yogurt, but that’s not the traditional choice. To make this recipe vegan, feel free to sub in a neutral-tasting plant-based yogurt of your choice.
  • You can use any kind of cucumber you’ve got, since you’ll be peeling and seeding it.
  • There’s no substitute for freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  • Mint leaves add a pop of bright, fresh flavor.
  • Ground cumin contributes a remarkable depth to the flavor profile.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make this easy raita recipe. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. First you’ll peel, seed, and shred the cucumber.
  2. Sprinkle on half the salt and let it drain. Discard the liquid.
  3. Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl.
  4. Give it a thorough stir. That’s it!

Suggested additions and variations

This easy raita recipe is super-flexible and amenable to your variations. You could:

  • Add a minced garlic clove and/or two tablespoons of minced onion or shallot
  • Add a teaspoon of sugar
  • Add a bit of ground cayenne pepper, to taste
  • Swap in a different grated vegetable for the cucumber. Try carrot or beet for a sweeter take. Or use a combination.
  • Swap in different herbs for the mint. Try cilantro or parsley or a combination of all three.
  • Instead of ground cumin, use whole cumin seeds (and black mustard seeds, if you like), toasted in a dry pan until they pop.
  • Swap in freshly squeezed lime juice for up to half of the lemon juice
  • Drizzle in some olive oil

Expert tips and FAQs

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

Yes. Raita will keep well in the fridge for up to a week. If you’re making it in advance on purpose (as opposed to handling leftovers), consider stirring in the mint shortly before serving.

More favorite Indian-inspired recipes

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a decorative bowl containing an easy raita recipe
5 from 2 votes

Easy Raita Recipe

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
This easy raita recipe makes a lovely, lightly savory complement to Indian-inspired meals. It cools and cleanses your palate.
Prep: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
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Ingredients 

  • 1 ½ cups (340 grams) plain, whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 6- inch segment English cucumber
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • Place the yogurt into a medium mixing bowl.
  • Peel the cucumber, remove the seeds, and grate the flesh on the large holes of a box grater.
  • Place shredded cucumber into a fine-mesh sieve in the sink or set over a bowl. Sprinkle on about half the salt and stir together. Let sit for 10 minutes, then discard any liquid.
  • Add prepared cucumber to the yogurt along with the lemon juice, mint, cumin, remaining salt, and pepper. 
  • Give it a stir and use right away or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a few days.

Notes

  1. The base of this recipe is plain yogurt. You can use any fat percentage, and either Greek-style or American-style, depending on how thick you'd like the result to be. I personally prefer a slightly thicker result and tend to use Greek-style yogurt, but that's not the traditional choice. To make this recipe vegan, feel free to sub in a neutral-tasting plant-based yogurt of your choice.
  2. You can use any kind of cucumber you've got, since you'll be peeling and seeding it.
  3. There's no substitute for freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  4. Raita will keep well in the fridge for up to a week. If you're making it in advance on purpose (as opposed to handling leftovers), consider stirring in the mint shortly before serving.

Suggested additions and variations

  • Add a minced garlic clove and/or two tablespoons of minced onion or shallot
  • Add a teaspoon of sugar
  • Add a bit of ground cayenne pepper, to taste
  • Swap in a different grated vegetable for the cucumber. Try carrot or beet for a sweeter take. Or use a combination.
  • Swap in different herbs for the mint. Try cilantro or parsley or a combination of all three.
  • Instead of ground cumin, use whole cumin seeds (and black mustard seeds, if you like), toasted in a dry pan until they pop.
  • Swap in freshly squeezed lime juice for up to half of the lemon juice
  • Drizzle in some olive oil

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 cup, Calories: 57kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 4mg, Sodium: 250mg, Sugar: 9g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Sauces and Condiments
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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