Whenever I make Indian food, or food that isn’t specifically Indian but that features those intoxicating spices, I make a raita to serve with it. It is such a quick and easy thing to throw together and it complements the food so well. The dhal I made the other night is, as I mentioned, very highly spiced so a nice cooling and and tangy raita goes perfectly with it.
My standard additions to the plain yogurt are cucumber, lime juice, and salt; but the other day I had some of this on hand.
It’s called dukkah and it is a spice mixture that originated in Egypt. I ground some for a dish that never made it to the table so, rather than waste it, I figured I’d just spice up my raita. Although I mixed cultures and cuisines, the result was fantastic. The dukkah stars coriander seed and cumin seed (among other wonderful things) and both of those spices are common in Indian cooking. So I wasn’t that far off the mark. It can be used, among other things, to garnish a bowl of your best olive oil for pita dipping, and it can also be used to coat soft boiled eggs that sit on greens which sit on toast (the original reason I made it).
But don’t feel like you need to make dukkah to in order to enjoy the raita. It is wonderful without the spices as well. Oh, and those cute little boxes? They are filled with a variety of sea salt courtesy of my good gift giver of a husband.
One Year Ago: Palmiers
Dana Treat Original
Makes about 1½ cups
Feel free to use full-fat yogurt here, or even Greek yogurt. Just please don’t use that nasty non-fat stuff. If you are adding dukkah, use about 2 tablespoons. If you are a cilantro hater, substitute the same amount of fresh mint.
1 cup plain low fat yogurt
½ English cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
Juice of 1 small lime (or to taste)
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Taste for balance of flavor. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
(Can be made one day ahead. Be sure to give it a good stir before using.)
The Modern Vegetarian
1/3 cup hazelnuts, skinned
¼ cup sesame seeds
5 tsp. coriander seeds
4 tsp. cumin seeds
2 tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. paprika
Large pinch of cayenne pepper
Heat the oven to 350° F. Roast the hazelnuts and sesame seeds separately until golden. Then, roast the coriander and cumin seeds until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Transfer to a food processor or large mortar and pestle, add the remaining dukkah ingredients, and blend until a coarse mix is formed. (Don’t overdo it; otherwise you will end up with a greasy mess.) Store the dukkah in an airtight container until required.