Monday, July 23, 2007

Raita and Tzatziki

I'm not a huge yogurt fan, but I love this Fage brand of strained yogurt. It's is outstanding, especially in the hot weather. It's so great not to have to put the stuff in a coffee filter to get the water out of it. I make both raita and tzatziki - two yogurt dips/sauces from India and Greece respectively - which are great when you don't feel like cooking or eating anything. This yogurt has about 15g of protein in 7 oz (200 g), so it's a good source of easily digested protein.

Easy Raita
(Indian Yogurt Sauce)

3 tblsp fresh mint (use dried if you have to)
1 tsp fresh ginger (" ")
1/2 c. fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves (substitute parsley if you hate cilantro)
1 clove garlic
(garam masala - Indian spice mixture, if you like and have it)

Grind these in a food processor or blender until paste-like

Whir in:
1 peeled and seeded cucumber, chopped. Drain on paper towels if it's really wet

Make sure there is some substance left to the cucumber

Blend with:

2 - 3 cups Greek strained yogurt

Serve cold with rice or any grain - quinoa is a great choice here. Or just enjoy as is.

(Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Sauce)
(Makes about 3 1/2 cups.) This sauce is great with grilled zucchini or any grain dish. If you don't worry about mixing meat and milk, as most Greeks don't, it's a classic with lamb and any other grilled meat. I've also had this combined with avocado and it's quite yummy. Add more yogurt and it becomes a dip.

2 medium cucumbers, seeded and diced.

Peel cucumbers, then cut in half lengthwise and take a small spoon and scrape out seeds. Discard seeds. (If you use the small seedless or European cucumbers with few seeds, you can skip this step.) Dice cucumbers, then put in a colander, sprinkle on 1 T salt, and let stand for 30 minutes to draw out water. Drain well and wipe dry with paper towel.

Juice of one lemon (about 3 T - warm lemon in micro first to get more juice)
1 garlic clove, chopped
about 1 T kosher salt for salting cucumbers
1 T finely chopped fresh dill
1 T finely chopped mint leaves (if you'd like)
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

In food processor with steel blade, add cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, dill, and a few grinds of black pepper. Process until well blended. This is different from the raita, where you want more cucumber niblets left in the sauce.

Stir in:

3 cups Greek Yogurt (or regular plain yogurt, strained)

Taste before adding any extra salt, then salt if needed. Place in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving so flavors can blend. (This resting time is very important.)

Some people like to add:

A dash of extra virgin olive oil


A dash of Ouzo - greek liquor

*I HATE licorice/anise so I'm not doing that, but I've had it and it's good, IF you like that flavor*

This will keep for almost a week in the refrigerator, but you will need to drain off any liquid and stir each time you use it.

No comments: