Raita (RI-tah) is salad, relish, dip and side dish in one. Served as a condiment in India, this cooling yogurt concoction requires barely any cooking and is quickly made with common ingredients. There are sweet raitas, some that are downright fiery and many that are given more texture with the addition of chopped onion, cucumber or bell pepper, and a burst of flavor from fresh herbs like mint and cilantro. There are infinite variations, and you can take them in any direction you like.
Each state in India has their own version of raita. The base is plain yogurt and depending on what you like, add the toppings and other ingredients. While boondi raita is probably the most famous, other raita variations like pineapple raita, palak raita, potato raita and mixed vegetable raita are also made.
In Southern India, there is a city Hyderabad. The place is famous for their biryanis and other spicy rice dishes. To complement the spice in the rice, it is generally served with a cooling raita. Amongst all the raitas made there, Burani Raita is really famous. A perfect blend of yogurt, minced garlic and spices, this raita is tasty yet easy to prepare, and needs very few ingredients.
There are two variations of the raita: one with the addition of raw garlic to the yogurt and the other one with garlic sauteed in ghee or oil. If you do not like the raw flavor of garlic, the sauteed version will work better for you! I personally prefer the cooked version and so this is how I made it. It can be served with biryani, pulao or even khichdi.
Garlic 1-2 cloves,minced
Yogurt 1 cup
Oil/ Ghee 1 tsp
Curry leaves 1-2
Red Chilli powder, cumin powder, salt
Beat yogurt in a bowl and make a smooth mixture.
Heat oil or ghee in a pan, add the garlic and curry leaves. Once the garlic starts to brown and does not smell raw, add the mixture to yogurt. Add some cumin powder, salt, red chilli powder and mix well. Top with some more red chilli powder, cumin powder and cilantro.
The raita is ready to be served with anything, ranging from a simple Pulao or khichdi to Cracked Wheat Khichdi; or as a Garlic dip with chips or salads.