Shredded cucumbers in Smooth Mint-Flavored Yogurt
-Recipe from Yamuna mataji
There are so many ways to make this, India’s most popular raita, that I
am presenting two of my favorite recipe variations. In this one, we
discover how mint and cucumbers were made for each other. With a touch
of lemon or lime zest, you have one of the most refreshing salads
possible. Though avocado oil is not available in India, I find it
perfect for delicate salads and raitas. You must use crisp, seedless
young cucumbers. If all you can find are overgrown, out-of-season
giants, seed them before shredding. This makes a terrific cold rice
salad: simply fold it into room-temperature or chilled cooked rice.
Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): about 30 minutes
Chilling time: 1-2 hours
2 medium-sized cucumbers (about 1 pound/455g)
½ table spoon (7 ml) salt
1 ½ cups (360 ml) plain yogurt, or 1 ¼ cups (300 ml) plain yogurt and ¼ cup (60 ml) sour cream
¼ teaspoon (1 ml) cayenne pepper or paprika
2 table spoons (30 ml) finely chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon (5 ml) grated lemon or lime zest
2 table spoons (30 ml) avocado or sesame oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) black mustard seeds
Cucumber flowers and paprika for garnishing
Peel and coarsely shred the cucumbers, then place them in a bowl.
Sprinkle with salt and toss. Let the cucumbers sit at room temperature
for 20-30 minutes. Pour them into a strainer, press out the liquid,
then pat them dry with paper towels.
2. Place the
yogurt or yogurt-sour cream mixture, cayenne or paprika, mint and
citrus zest in a 1-quart/liter bowl and whisk with a fork until smooth
and creamy. Stir in the cucumbers. Heat the oil over moderate heat in a
small pan. When it is hot but not smoking, add the mustard seeds. Fry
until the seeds sputter and turn gray (if the oil is very hot, you may
need to use a spatter screen to keep the seeds from jumping out of the
small pan). Pour the fried seeds and oil into the cucumber-yogurt
mixture, and stir to blend.
3. Refrigerate for 1-2
hours to allow the mint and seasoning to release their flavors. Serve
with a garnish of twisted cucumber flowers and a sprinkle of paprika.