Saturday, June 23, 2012

Simple Sauces Part 2–Raita

This is the second in a series of quick and easy sauces to jazz up any dish.

I had about a half-tub of leftover yogurt from the Bell Pepper Harissa Soup. Since we were having spicy sausages for dinner, I decided to make a nice yogurt sauce that I could douse my sausage in to hopefully prevent it from burning a hole in the roof of my mouth and causing irreparable damage to my larynx as it blazes a fiery trail down my esophagus.
I consulted one of my favorite cookbooks, The Joy of Cooking. It has two recipes for raita, which is an Indian yogurt sauce specifically for spicy meats. Perfect! I chose the fruit one, mostly because we didn't have any of the stuff for the other one and conveniently had everything for this one. (The other is a cucumber/mint sauce.) It was actually good that I didn't have a choice, because they both sounded good–and they're both really easy to make.

Fruit Raita


1 ripe banana, peach, or nectarine, finely chopped, or 1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1 cup yogurt or 1/2 cup yogurt and 1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped almonds or macadamia nuts

1 tablespoon golden raisins (optional)
Up to 4 tablespoons sugar or honey, depending on fruit
Pinch of ground nutmeg or ground cardamom


Chunky: Put fruit, yogurt, nuts, and raisins in bowl and stir. Add honey/sugar and spice to taste and stir to combine.

Smooth: Put fruit, yogurt, honey, and nuts in a blender and blend until smooth. Add honey and spice to taste and blend a little more.
Please accept this picture of an adorable puppy as my apology for there not being pictures of the smooth sauce.
Though I don't mind chunky sauces, I created a "Smooth Sauce" approach for those who do. I wouldn't recommend using raisins for a smooth sauce, though, because I don't know how well those would blend.
I really like this sauce. It cut down on my sausage's heat nicely.
Thankfully, it did not burn a fiery hole down my esophagus.
Though some might say that it's just yogurt with fruit chunks, I disagree. It has the consistency of yogurt, but it tastes like more than a sum of its parts. The fruit and honey make it a sweet, balanced sauce perfect for hot dishes. Also, it's hugely versatile. By my calculations, there are over 192 versions of this sauce that can be made just by using peach and macadamia nuts instead of almonds and nectarines and simple switches like that. And that doesn't factor in the veggie version at all!

I should have a raita party–traditional Indian cuisine with a bunch of tiny things of raita. Can anyone loan me some bowls?

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