One of my Indian graduate students showed me how to make raita about 20 years ago. Since I have experimented with many variations especially switching the herbs. I love the addition of fresh mint more than any herb. Today, I also spiked half of the dip with a splash of Hendrick's gin to experiment with a gimlet version. This idea was inspired by a visit to Lamberts in downtown Austin by their wonderful cucumber gimlet. What a happy addition this turned out to be. —Sagegreen
thinly shaved and finely chopped English cucumber
finely chopped fresh mint leaves
finely chopped fresh cilantro
minced fresh jalapeno pepper (no seeds)
finely sliced scallion greens
Himalayan or sea salt, to taste
zest of key lime or half regular lime
Greek or Persian yogurt, fage
tiny splash of Hendrick's gin, optional
sprinkle of aleppo pepper, optional
sprig of fresh mint for garnish
In This Recipe
Drain away any excess liquid from the shaved cucumber. Muddle together the thinly shaved and chopped cucumber with the chopped mint and cilantro leaves. Drain most of the cucumber juice away (save it for a drink), but you can use a little here for flavor. Add the minced jalapeno, salt, cumin, and lime zest. Muddle these ingredients together and then let them sit for a few minutes.
Stir in the yogurt; make sure the yogurt is thick. Leave any of its liquid out of this recipe. Taste and adjust the seasoning, especially the salt and cumin. Add the optional gin or aleppo pepper for a surprise finish. You want this to remain thick enough for dipping, so don't add too much gin. Garnish with fresh mint. Serve in small dipping bowls with tortilla or pita chips, crusty bread, or even crudités.