The color of beets alone is luscious. Rich like a burgundy velvet chaise. Wet and slick, when in your hands, the color penetrates your skin. Sliced up or grated into a salad, it stains and saturates everything it touches. Adorned with flowers, this is one dish begging for the start of spring, but dismayed at the demise of winter. We’ll get beetroot here in Texas for just a bit longer, but you can enjoy raita of any kind year-round.
Just to explain briefly, raita is not a condiment. It’s a side dish. It’s not for dipping. It’s for spooning. So make the recipe, put it in a bowl and eat it by the spoonful in between bites of a spicy hot curry or even with a fish fillet and rice, like my students did in a recent class. I like chunky raitas so I’ve cubed the beets, rather than grating them. I find that grating beets is not only messier but too much of the color leaches into the yogurt resulting in a raita that is for me overbearingly discolored. The tempering spices are optional in raitas, but really make raita more complex than just a bowl of simple, salty, vegetable-laden yogurt. So, I urge you to temper the spices, make a little seasoned oil, and drizzle it over the raita.
© Shefaly Ravula/ Shef’s Kitchen