Cooking

Fresh Basil Raita

10:30 AM

Raitas are what we would call a yogurt based dip in continental cuisine.

Raita is the name Indians give to what we would simply called a yogurt based dip in the West. There are many types of raita out there, the most popular being the cucumber and boondi raita (guaranteed to be on every single restaurant's menu over here).
The thing is raitas can really be made with whatever you want. It's really just adding elements to a cup of plain yogurt.

all you need is one cup of plain yogurt and as many fresh basil leaves as you want.

Since I have a nice big Italian basil plant growing in a pot at home. I decided to make a raita (or dip, call it what you want) made with freshly plucked and chopped leaves.

It's a ridiculously easy "dish" to pull. All you need for this one is a cup of plain yogurt (called Dahi in India), any yogurt type will do, but the thickest the better really. For this recipe I used Greek Style Dahi from Danone because they just launched it in India and I wanted to try it (tastes great by the way).

Chop as many fresh basil leaves as you want. The more you use, the stronger the taste will be. Then mix them in your yogurt and you are done. This is that easy folks!
Of course if you prepare this raita in advance you are going to give a chance for the taste to develop better. I would totally advice you do that if you have time.

raitas or yogurt dips go best with grilled and barbecued dishes.

I have made this basil raita adding red onion paste in the past, and it tastes awesome too. But my daughter hates onions (when she sees them), so when I planned this recipe post I had to do without because she was watching me.

Raitas go great with just about any Indian dish as a side. It goes especially well with tandoori food and kebabs. Pretty much like yogurt dips go better with barbecue food in continental cuisine actually.

So go an make some for your next meal already!

6 comments

  1. Anonymous9:37 PM

    have u tried mother dairy dahi? I don'the know whether it is available in Mumbai.

    talking about yogurt I think it actually means curd with fruits so a mango or strawberry flavoured curd would fall under the category of yogurt. I remember reading somewhere that plain curd was not used frequently in European cuisine but yogurt was popular. plain curd is more of an Indian thing and has been used since vedic times. In fact the word "dahi" comes from the sanskrit word "dadhi" and "ghee" from "griht" both used in fire ceremonies. I don't know whether plain curd is an Indian speciality. who knows?

    apple

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    1. Actually yogurt and curd are synonyms. Plain yogurt is curd, and fruit curd is yogurt too. Curd is just an older word for it, one that refers to the fermenting and curdling process to make yogurt.

      Plain curd is used in continental cuisine and is sold everywhere. We use is in savoury dishes, to make dips and salad dressings and in some cereal dish. Fruit yogurt is mostly a Swiss and French thing that I know of. you find them else where but not with as much choice and variety as you will find in those two countries.

      Plain yogurt is also frequently used as a marinating agent for meat dish that are destined for the barbecue in continental cuisine, because the live culture and enzymes in yogurt tenderise the meat. That method is used in India as well that I know of :-)

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    2. Anonymous9:37 AM

      This is the article which I was referring to. The gentlemen argues that there is a difference between curd and yogurt in the west.

      http://www.hindustantimes.com/brunch-stories/rude-food-the-curious-case-of-the-indian-curd/article1-940739.aspx

      Apple

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    3. As good as Vir Sanghvi can be. He is often very opiniated and offers fairly one sided view. America and UK do not have much of a yogurt tradition, but they aren't representative of the whole west. Most of the Alpine region in Europe knowsyogurt in one for or another and it is NOT a recent import. In Switzerland it has existed along with cheese making. In a country with little land left for mass grain agriculture people raised cattle instead, so the dairy industry has always been big. The French Alpine regions also had yogurt for quite sometime.
      Curd is a british term that Indians took to give Dahi an English name, but curd and yogurt are one an the same. The british version of it feels more like cottage cheese though, or "fromage blanc" as the French call it, or Quark as it is often reffered to in Scandinavian countries as I came to learn. The Swiss have different names for their various type of yogurt : plain yogurt is the more liquidy type, not unlike the curd you find around here, but churned to get the lumps out, we then have something that goes by the Swiss French name "Serre" which is the same as set dahi, or hung dahi and is a thicker version. Then we have "blanc battu" which is the same as the british curd, or the scandinavian Quark. The plain unflavoured yogurts go in dips, marinating solutions and breakfast dishes as I said. The ones with fruits added to them is more of a snack thing, or a light dessert. In Switzerland and France we usually eat the fruit variant for breakfast as well, but it is less consumed outside central Europe. The Greek have the thickest yogurt, which is refered to as Greek Yogurt the world over.

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    4. when I was in US, we really missed Indian Curd, till we found a branded "Bulgarian Thick Buttermilk". Amazing, healthy and absolutely tasted like Indian curd

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    5. Yes Bulgarian yogurt has the same type of thickness and sourness as Indian Dahi, Greek Yogurt is also fairly similar though it taste and feel closer to Indian hung curd than the more liquid version of Dahi.

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