Escape the summer heat with a bowl of chilled cucumber raita. This classic Indian accompaniment combines crisp cucumbers, creamy yogurt, aromatic spices, and fresh herbs for a burst of cool, tangy flavors. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or craving a light side dish, cucumber raita is versatile and always impresses.
Our recipe is beginner-friendly, guiding you from selecting fresh cucumbers to balancing spices and herbs. Unleash your culinary creativity with creative variations. Elevate your meals and embark on a refreshing journey with our irresistible cucumber raita recipe. Let’s savor the cool flavors of this summer delight!
Why I Love This Recipe
Due to some unexpected health issues, I’ve been prescribed an anti-inflammatory diet to see if it helps my symptoms. I’ve been on this new diet for 2 weeks and I am happy (and sad) to announce that it is helping me significantly. I’m so thrilled to be feeling so much better after months of being so sick…but this means my food-loving lifestyle is going to make a significant change forever. I haven’t quite come to terms with that yet.
After a week of nothing but protein and salads for lunch and dinner, I knew it was time to do some research and recipe creation for meals that would completely satisfy my love of culinary adventure. My mind instantly went to Indian food because it is some of my favorite flavor profiles right now. This Cucumber Raita was so much easier than I thought it was going to be, and double bonus, even better than my local Indian restaurant’s version. I loved being in complete control over the flavors!
What is Raita?
Raita is a popular condiment in Indian cuisine that complements and balances the richness and spiciness of various dishes. It is a yogurt-based side dish typically made by mixing whole milk yogurt with finely chopped vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, or grated carrots. Raita is seasoned with a blend of aromatic dried spices and fresh herbs such as cumin, coriander, mint, and cilantro which adds a refreshing and cooling element to the meal. Its creamy and tangy texture, combined with the burst of flavors from the spices, makes raita a delightful accompaniment to biryanis, curries, kebabs, or even enjoyed on its own as a refreshing palate cleanser.
Cucumber Raita Ingredients & Tools
- Plain, whole milk yogurt
- Fresh cucumber
- Red onion
- Fresh ginger root
- Fresh garlic
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh lemon juice
- Fresh mint
- Fresh cilantro
- Ground cumin
- Ground coriander
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Box grater
- Mixing bowls
How to Make Cucumber Raita
If you have 5 minutes of time, you can make this cooling palate cleanser to go along with your favorite Indian dishes!
Time needed: 5 minutes
How to Make Cucumber Raita
- Gather all the traditional ingredients
Using authentic, high-quality ingredients is vital for the success of this recipe. Whole milk yogurt, a firm cucumber, and fresh herbs and spices create the best results.
- Prepare the cucumber
You can either peel the cucumber or leave the peel on to grate it. I like the added texture and color of the cucumber peel and choose to leave it on. If you are worried about the raita being too watery, you can let the shredded cucumber drain in a mesh strainer for 10 minutes before adding it to the mixture.
- Mix the raita and serve
There isn’t much more to prep besides mixing the ingredients together and serving. The completed raita will stay good for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
Traditionally, cucumber raita uses plain whole-milk yogurt as the base of the sauce, though some substitute low-fat or Greek yogurt instead. There are many variations of raita based on what is mixed into the yogurt. For cucumber raita, freshly grated cucumber is mixed in along with fresh onion, ginger, garlic, mint, cilantro, and various dried spices.
Both vegetable and yogurt-based sauces are very similar. The main difference between cucumber raita and tzatziki is the type of yogurt used. Raita uses whole milk yogurt while tzatziki uses the thicker choice of Greek yogurt. The herbs and spices used in each sauce can also be different.
Can I make raita with Greek yogurt?
If you are looking for a bit thicker cucumber raita or one that has more protein in it, you can substitute plain Greek yogurt. I would still use whole milk Greek yogurt instead of a low-fat or fat-free option. Those tend to be thin and have an odd aftertaste.
Fresh herb substitution options for raita
This recipe uses fresh mint and fresh cilantro, both of which can be quite divisive for some pickier eaters. You can always use fresh flat-leaf parsley, which will add freshness without a strong flavor. Another option would be fresh basil but use a light hand because it can easily overpower the flavor of the raita.
Should I peel and seed the cucumber before shredding?
If all you want in the raita is the flesh of the cucumber, then yes, you can certainly peel and seed the cucumber first. Some might find the texture and bitterness of the peel a bit off-putting. And the seeds can add a bit too much water to the raita, especially if the cucumber is a bit larger in size.Print
3/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1 clove fresh garlic, finely minced
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
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Cucumber raita will keep 5 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Category: Side dish
- Method: Fresh
- Cuisine: Indian
- Serving Size: 3 tablespoons
- Calories: 43
- Sugar: 4 g
- Sodium: 86 mg
- Fat: 3 g
- Saturated Fat: 1 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 5 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 1 g
- Cholesterol: 3 mg
Keywords: cucumber raita
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