Cold and creamy, tangy and dotted with summer sweetness, fruit raitas can accompany hot curries in the summertime, but are also a great condiment for grilled meats. Traditionally though, you would want a bowlful of raita as a side dish, spooning in each mouthful after each forkful of curry. This raita, and most raitas, are quick to make, and this nectarine one is always a hit in our house, especially in the height of the season. I pick nectarines that are firm but ripe. Let ’em sit on the counter too long and they’ll be too juicy for a raita! The curry leaves are not essential, but will elevate the raita’s mellow simplicity just one step toward authenticity (at least for the raitas I love best!)
My curry leaf plant did not do well during our landscaping and all the work on our house so I was left with the delicate baby leaves which fortunately have the most punch!
Serves: Serves 2-3 people
- 1 tsp. canola oil
- ⅛ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ¼ tsp. cumin seeds
- 1 stem curry leaves (optional)
- 3 cups plain yogurt, preferably not Greek
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon roasted cumin powder (optional)
- ½ cup diced nectarine
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1) Have the first four ingredients available (for this technique called “tarka”) near the stove before you get started.
- 2) Heat oil in a very small skillet or saucepan (SEE NOTE BELOW) over high heat until oil is shimmering and hot. (You can test the oil by putting in a cumin seed. If it sizzles and rapidly moves in the oil, the oil is ready).
- 3) Add mustard seeds and watch for sizzling and popping. When they begin to pop, immediately lower heat and add the cumin seeds. If they begin to brown, remove from heat and continue quickly to the next step.
- 4) Then add curry leaves. They will splatter initially upon touching hot oil so use caution.
- 5) Stir well, fry for merely a few seconds and then turn off heat. Set aside and let cool.
- 6) In a medium mixing bowl, blend the yogurt well with a spoon.
- 7) Add salt and roasted cumin powder. Stir well.
- 8) Add the tempered spices that have cooled down. Mix well.
- 9) Stir in the nectarine pieces.
- 10) Sprinkle with cilantro and serve cold or at room temperature.
*If you have a larger skillet, you will need more oil and you can discard the oil later using just a little for seasoning.
*Raita is served as many different names all across India and is prepared in a variety of ways. Some do not add any tempered spices to the basic yogurt mix. Some don’t add any chilies. You can prepare raita with a variety of ingredients. Banana raita or pineapple raitas are an example of fruit raitas. Cucumber/tomato/carrot raita is a common raita as well.
© Shefaly Ravula/ Shef’s Kitchen