Onion raita- a simple, refreshing side dish from India that gets ready in just 5 minutes. The combination of crunchy, sharp onion with creamy, refreshing yogurt and Indian spices, is something you must try this summer.
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The days have started getting hotter so I am back with another quick and easy raita recipe. I eat raita throughout the year but it becomes more enjoyable during summers.
It can not only be served as a side dish with Indian/ Middle Eastern meals but during summers a bowl of raita can also be enjoyed as an appetizer. It's so refreshing and filling.
Today's recipe-Onion raita is one of my two favorite raitas. The other one is pahadi cucumber raita.
It's very easy to make, needs only a handful of basic ingredients and gets ready in just 5 minutes.
What is raita?
Raita is a yogurt based side dish from the Indian subcontinent. It's made in a lot of ways by adding different vegetables, fruits, and some other ingredients like sprouts, boondi (fried chickpea flour pearls).
It can be served with almost every Indian savory dish to balance its richness.
Are raita and tzatziki the same?
No, they both are different. Though the main ingredient to make raita and tzatziki is yogurt, there are many differences between these two dishes.
- Raita is an Indian dish whereas tzatziki is from Greece.
- You will find many versions of raita made by adding different ingredients like vegetables and fruits to yogurt. Tzatziki is made only with yogurt, cucumber, mint leaves, dill, and garlic. You will not find any other fruit and vegetable in it.
- The consistency of raita is thinner than Tzatizki.
- Raita is flavored with Indian spices and herbs whereas Tzatziki is flavored with garlic and herbs.
What goes in onion raita?
To make this easy onion raita, you need only a handful of ingredients.
- Thick yogurt: If your yogurt is thin, reduce the amount of water or skip it completely.
- Onion: Preferably red onion but, if you don't have red use whichever variety is available. You can use shallots too.
- Green chili pepper: Finely chopped jalapeno or Thai chili can be used too. Small bites of chili with soothing yogurt tastes very good.
- Fresh cilantro
- Roasted cumin powder
- Red chili powder/ cayenne pepper: If your heat tolerance is low use a mild variety like Kashmiri red chili powder or sweet paprika.
- Ground black pepper
- Himalayan pink salt: Regular table salt can be used too.
How to make roasted cumin powder at home?
The combination of yogurt and roasted cumin is very popular in India. The contrasting taste of chilled yogurt and warm roasted cumin goes really well together. That's the reason you will find roasted cumin powder in a lot of Indian dishes made with yogurt like raita, chaat, dahi vada, etc.
Though this spice is easily available in every Indian or Middle eastern store, it's not as flavorful as the homemade roasted cumin powder.
To make it at home follow the following basic steps:
- Heat a pan and add cumin seeds to it. Dry roast on low flame until the seeds become fragrant. It will take only a few minutes. Keep the flame low and don't leave it unattended as the spices get burned very fast.
- Once done, switch off the gas and allow the cumin seeds to reach room temperature.
- Put the seeds in a grinding jar and make a powder.
- Store in an air-tight container. It will be fine for months. You can also store it in the freezer for almost 2 years. However, the flavor will start decreasing with time.
Onion raita can be served with almost every major Indian meal.
Generally it's served with rich rice dishes like biryani and pulao but it tastes equally good with Indian flat bread and curries.
During summers you can also enjoy a bowl of raita as an appetizer.
You can also drizzle it over your appetizers and budhha bowls. A thick onion raita can be served as a dipping and added to wraps too.
Can it be made in advance?
Since onion raita has raw onion in it, it's advisable to consume it on the same day.
If you want to do some preparation in advance mix all the ingredients except onion and salt and store in the fridge. It will be fine for 2-3 days but the yogurt may turn sour with time.
When you want to enjoy raita just add some chopped onion and salt. Mix and enjoy.
Salt should be avoided to be added in advance as it makes the yogurt turn sour faster.
Recipe tips and tricks
- Beat the yogurt smooth before adding the spices, herbs, and onion.
- The amount of water in this recipe may vary depending upon how thick your yogurt is and also on what consistency of raita you prefer.
- Add very finely chopped green chili to raita. We want only a tiny kick of chilies in raita and don't want to disturb the soothing taste of yogurt.
- You can add other ingredients like finely chopped tomato and cucumber in this recipe to make mixed vegetable raita.
- You can also add chopped fresh mint leaves/ dried mint powder for a more refreshing taste.
- Raita can also be used as a dipping sauce. Make it thick by skipping water if you are planning to use it as a dip.
Step by step photo instructions
More easy raita recipes
Looking for similar easy raita recipes from India? Don't miss to check the following links:
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- mixing bowl
- 1 cup thick yogurt
- ½ cup water adjust to get the desired consistency
- ½ small onion finely chopped around ¼ cup
- 1 small green chili pepper finely chopped adjust as per taste
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
- ¼ teaspoon roasted cumin powder
- ¼ teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder adjust as per taste
- Ground black pepper as per taste
- Himalayan pink salt as per taste
- Put yogurt in a large bowl. Add water and whisk until smooth.
- Add all the remaining ingredients and mix.
- Serve chilled with any Indian meal or drizzle over your favorite appetizers.
- Adjust the amount of water depending upon the thickness of your yogurt and the raita consistency you prefer. I have used thick yogurt and I don't like very runny raita so used this ratio.
- Chop the green chili pepper very finely. It should just give a tiny kick in every bite and not burn your tongue.
- You can also add other seasonings like chaat masala, dried mint powder, or fresh mint.
- This raita can be served as a side dish with any Indian or Middle Eastern meal. You can also drizzle it over your appetizers or serve on the side as a dip.
- More recipe tips and tricks are given in the post above, please follow them to make this recipe.