This easy homemade Indian Cucumber Raita is so refreshing. Made with grated cucumber, yogurt, and flavored with spices, it a perfect easy side dish. Serve it as an accompaniment to biryani, pulao or any Indian meal.
In India, we have a variety of raita recipes. You can make raita with cucumber, onions and tomatoes, pineapple, boondi (fried gram flour balls) or even with bottle gourd. Raita is an integral part of our meals. It pairs perfectly with Indian curries and biryanis!
This authentic homemade Cucumber Raita (Indian yogurt sauce) has so many health benefits and can be eaten any time of the year with your meal. You can also have raita as a yogurt snack.
If you love cucumber, also check out this easy Indian Cucumber Salad, called Kachumber.
What is Raita?
Raita is the popular side dish from the Indian sub-continent served as an accompaniment to lunch or dinner. It is made with whisked, creamy yogurt, and often vegetables or fruits and/or spices are added to it. Raita is often compared with Tzatziki, the Greek yogurt sauce.
Raita helps in cooling the palate after a sumptuous meal. It also aids in the digestive process.
I like to make yogurt for raita in the instant pot. Here is my homemade pot-in-pot yogurt recipe.
Cooling Cucumber Raita
This is a classic homemade Cucumber Raita, made in most Indian households. Served with biryani or pulao. There are so many different versions of raita. Each family has their favorite recipe.
Cucumber raita generally tones down the spicy food. Since yogurt and cucumber (caked kakdi or Kheera in hindi) have cooling properties, it helps to balance the heat from the spicy food.
This cucumber raita is similar to Tzatziki, but a bit different. Here we add spices, while in Tzatziki, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice are added. Typically, raita is made with plain yogurt and tzatziki is make with greek yogurt, and is thicker in consistency.
If you prefer, you can also use greek yogurt to make a thicker consistency raita.
Is Raita Healthy?
Yes, raita is made with yogurt which has lots of good nutrition, such as calcium and protein. Yogurt also aids in digestion.
The additions to raita are typically grated or diced vegetables or fruits such as cucumber, which are rich in fiber. Also, spices and herbs added to raita, have lots of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Whisked Yogurt (Curd) – This is the main ingredient of the raita. I make yogurt in Instant pot. It is easily available in grocery stores as well. Use plain yogurt for this recipe, whole milk or low fat, either would work.
- Grated Cucumber – If using English or Persian cucumber, peel, and grate. If using regular cucumbers, slice lengthwise and scrape out seeds using a spoon. Then grate the cucumber. If you prefer, you can also dice the cucumber to add to this raita.
- Spices – You’ll need roasted ground cumin, chaat masala and salt. I add a little mild red chili powder for garnish (looks pretty!).
- Green chilis (Slit) – These are totally optional. You can add, and take it out before serving.
- Cilantro Leaves – I added chopped cilantro leaves.
- Mint leaves – For garnish (optional)
I did not add sugar, but you can also add sugar to the raita, especially if the yogurt is too sour.
To make this recipe vegan, you can use any non-dairy yogurt based on your preference.
How to make Raita?
Firstly, wash, peel, and grate the cucumber.
Note: Taste the cucumber before grating, if it has a bitter or has sour taste, then don’t use it. If using English or Persian cucumber, peel, and grate. If using regular cucumbers, slice lengthwise and scrape out seeds using a spoon. Then grate the cucumber.
Now in a bowl add whisked yogurt, salt, roasted ground cumin, chaat masala, cilantro leaves, slit green chili (optional), grated cucumber, and mix it well.
Transfer it to a serving bowl. Garnish with roasted cumin, chili powder, and mint leaves. And it’s ready, have it immediately or refrigerate before serving.
Note: Remove the slit green chili before serving.
Cucumber Raita Variations
Raitas are considered to be a versatile side dish. You can customize it as you want, with whatever you have at home. Some of the variations are:
- You can add grated carrots, chopped red onion, bell pepper, or tomatoes to this cucumber raita.
- Instead of grating cucumber, you can add diced cucumber as well.
In South India, some people also add tempering (tadka) to raita. I have never seen my mom or mom-in-law do it. If you want to add a tadka, you can the below ingredients.
Tempering – Heat oil in a small pan and add 1 tablespoon oil to it. Add cumin seeds and dry red chilies (broken to pieces). Let them sizzle and add to the prepared raita.
What to serve raita with?
You can serve this homemade Cucumber Raita (Indian yogurt sauce) with any Indian meal. Here are some ideas:
You can store raita in an air tight container in refrigerator. It does get a bit thinner in consistency as it is stored.
Raita is best served fresh. But if you refrigerate it, you can consume it within 24 hours as the flavor of cucumber tends to change.
Yes, you can use any non-dairy yogurt of your choice to make vegan raita.
Yes, you can make this homemade cucumber raita in advance till the grating part, also can whisk the yogurt separately add spices to it and store it in the refrigerator, while serving mix everything together.
Hope you enjoy this delicious easy raita. Looking forward to see your creations. Do share with #pipingpotcurry!
Easy Cucumber Raita
- 1 cup Cucumber, grated
- 2 cup Plain Yogurt, whisked
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt, adjust to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon Roasted Ground Cumin (Jeera powder)
- 1/2 teaspoon Chaat Masala, optional
- 2 tablespoon Cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- 1/2 Green Chili , slit, optional
- Mint Leaves, For garnish
- 1/4 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder, Adjust to taste, for garnish
- Wash, peel, and grate cucumber. Taste the cucumber before grating, if it has a bitter or has sour taste, then don't use it. If using English or Persian cucumber, peel, and grate. If using regular cucumbers, slice lengthwise and scrape out seeds using a spoon. Then grate the cucumber.
- Now in a bowl add whisked yogurt, salt, roasted ground cumin, chaat masala, cilantro leaves, green chili (optional), grated cucumber, and mix it well.
- Transfer to a serving bowl. Remove the slit green chili, if added. Garnish with roasted cumin powder, red chili powder, and mint leaves. And it's ready, have it immediately or refrigerate before serving.