If you have been to Indian restaurants here in US ,you must have noticed white yogurt sauce in the condiment area of buffet.I was puzzled to see it labeled as ‘Raita’ for the first time.It was nothing like what i grew up eating.I noticed two different variation of it.
- In North Indian restaurants,it has shredded cucumber and carrots,may be some cilantro and green chili thrown in,to the seasoned yogurt.
- In South Indian restaurants,’onion’ replaces the cucumber and other veggies may or may not be present.
- Yogurt has runny consistency to it.
I liked it but i was still hesitant to call it ‘Raita’ because of the strong influence of what i grew up eating.
- My most memories of ‘Raita’ eating comes from Indian wedding.It is made of ‘opo squash’ and very tart yogurt.Black mustard seeds ground and green chili are the spicy ingredients.But Raita as whole is not spicy.
- Opo squash is easy to grow.So in my grandparents house and many houses in villages,they will have over abundance of ‘opo squash’ growing and also the abundance of yogurt from their cows.’Raita’ is the regular dish made out of combining these two items.
So my mom prepared what she saw my grandmother doing when she has yogurt going tart.Opo squash was common vegetable we ate growing up.
Yogurt in old days and still now which are not bought from store packed in container, did not come with expiration date slapped on them.Your nose is taste indicator.If you smell tartness in it means you got to consume it quickly.There are level of tartness and varied smell to determine if yogurt is still good or not to consume.I can not tell the same thing about tartness for store bought yogurt here.I have noticed,it just goes bad without going through the ‘tartness’ phase if it is over expiration date,so your nose doesn’t have to do guessing work.
Even now,i love ‘Raita’ made with ‘tart’ yogurt and ‘opo squash’ then any other kind.However i have hard time finding both of these items here.So here is the one prepared by my sister,Pritha.