April 25, 2008

Grape raita

Raita is an Indian condiment/dipping sauce which basically has smooth plain yoghurt with a combination of vegetables or fruits. It is served as an accompaniment with biriyanis and pilafs beacuse the cool yoghurt soothes the palate when taken with the spicy food. The raita that I usually make has onions, tomatoes, green chillies and a bit of chopped coriander, along with youghurt and salt. This recipe for grape raita is taken from a cookbook and goes well with spicy biriyanis because it is balanced well with grapes and a slight flavor of cumin and cayenne. The tempered spices add another dimension to the usual taste of the raita. I made this as a side dish for the prawns (shrimp) biriyani and it went perfect with it! It is kid-friendly too because the creamy yoghurt, the sweet grapes and the mild spices would be very appealing to the li'l ones.

Recipe (Serves 4-6):

Plain yoghurt (Curd) - 3 cups
Seedless grapes - 1 1/2 cups, halved
Ground toasted cumin - 2 tsp
Sugar - 2 tsp
Cayenne pepper or paprika - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp or to taste

Tempering oil:

Canola oil - 3 tbsp
Cumin or black mustard seeds - 2 tsp
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 6 fresh or 10 frozen, torn into pieces (optional)


Whisk the yoghurt in a bowl until smooth and lightened.

Stir in the grapes and then add the cumin powder, sugar and cayenne/paprika.

For tempering, heat the oil with the cumin or mustard seeds in a small pan over medium-high heat.

Heat until the cumin seeds darken or the mustard seeds crackle, about 1-2 minutes.

Add the fennel seeds and curry leaves (if using) and cook uncovered stirring for 5-10 seconds more.

If using curry leaves, stand back as they spit when they hit the hot oil.

Pour over the yoghurt and chill well.

Just before serving, stir in the salt.

Source: Indian home cooking, a fresh introduction to Indian food by Suvir Saran.


  1. Any variety of seedless grapes, red or black, or both can be used. I used red seedless grapes.
  2. The author suggests serving with lamb or chicken biriyani. I think this raita will go well with anything spicy!

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