Cucumber Mint Raita

A cool and refreshing Indian condiment for hot and spicy dishes, made with yogurt, cumin, cucumber, and mint.

If you are using English cucumbers, which are more mild and thin-skinned than the regular cucumbers we get in America, you do not need to peel them.

  • Yield: Makes 2 1/2 cups.

Ingredients

  • One large (or two medium) cucumbers, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and seeded, then grated
  • 2 cups plain whole milk yogurt
  • 10 large mint leaves, thinly sliced* (can sub cilantro)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin**
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Pinch of paprika
  • Salt and pepper

* To slice the mint leaves, "chiffonade" them by stacking them on top of each other, rolling them up like a cigar, and taking thin slices off the end.

** If whole cumin seeds are available, take one teaspoon and toast the seeds first in a small skillet until just fragrant. Then grind with a mortar and pestle.

Method

1 Place grated cucumber in a sieve and press with the back of a spoon to squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Alternatively, you can place the grated cucumber in the middle of a clean tea towel, wrap the towel around the cucumber and wring out the excess moisture.

2 Stir spices and mint into yogurt in a medium bowl. Stir in the grated cucumber. Chill until ready to serve.

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Comments

  1. David

    This sounds like a nice Indian version of Tzatziki – one of my favorites. Unfortunately (and much to my whole family’s dismay) I don’t love the flavors and pungent aromas of Indian food (it tends to make me a little queasy), but the sauce sounds so good that I was wondering if it might be used on grilled chicken, scooped up with pita chips, or used in some other way. I’d love suggestions!

  2. Meem

    This is a wonderful recipe, thanks for posting! Do you have any ideas as to what it would be good with? I’m not too familiar with Indian food, but if I have this with it I’m sure I’d love it! Or maybe it would be good just for bread dipping!

    Anything that’s hot and spicy, like buffalo wings for example. ~Elise

  3. Dorothy

    I adore raita. I learned to cook Indian food from The Vegetarian Epicure 1 and 2. Your recipe (with cilantro instead of mint) is pretty much their cucumber raita recipe. And on the same page, the one I like even better has bananas, mustard seeds and coconut. (Vegetarian Epicure 2, page 314)

  4. Minou

    Is this similar in taste to Tzatziki? I will try this when my cucumbers are ready to harvest!

    Very similar. ~Elise

  5. vidya

    Try whisking the yogurt with the salt and a pinch of sugar before mixing the rest of the ingredients.It makes it all the more better.

  6. Nicole

    When I make Indian Food for company I always make at least 5 Raitas and/or Chutneys. It is always the most fun part of the meal. One of my favorites is the banana one from the Ajanta cookbook. I believe they have a restaurant in/near San Francisco.
    I made one almost identical to this one a couple of weeks ago, but the difference was that it had radish in it.

  7. Nikki

    I love raita. Sometimes I make it using yoghurt, sliced banana, salt and pepper and then either ground corriander or coconut.

  8. Rebecca

    How long will this keep in the fridge?

    Great question. I would say several days. ~Elise

  9. bahamabreeze

    I think your blog is wonderful! Your recipes, photos and explanations are always so fantastic. And, I love to make Raita, especially when I have fresh jelly coconuts. Yum!

  10. TygerKitty

    I’ve never had this, it looks interesting – I love cucumber but I can’t imagine cucumber with yogurt. Anyways, the dishes are GORGEOUS, love that lotus look! I will have to try this at a restaurant before I go through the work of making it but bookmarking this page to remind myself!

  11. indie.tea

    My family always makes raita using carrots and cucumbers. I’ve had it with cilantro (which I don’t like), but never mint. However, we use sour cream and not yogurt, or homemade Greek-style yogurt. The stuff in restaurants is a lot thinner than traditional raita, I personally think.

  12. krq

    I love raita, but I loathe cucumbers. I make mine with apples, believe it or not. It’s not exactly dessert-ish, since I also salt, pepper, and a pinch of cumin as a garnish.

  13. Ashwini

    As an Indian, I eat raita almost every other day and I like changing it so I don’t get bored. Some days I’ll simply chop tomatoes, onions, carrots, a little cilantro, a small chili, add yogurt to it and season it with salt and pepper. Other days I make the cucumber raita you have listed and season it with chat masala that you would find at any Indian store. It’s delicious!!

  14. Michelle in NZ

    Your Dad’s trick with the potato ricer to remove moisture from grated raw potatoes would work well with the cucumber – I used it tonight on some grated zucchini.

    A lovely recipe, I must buy a cucumber tomorrow so I can make it for the weekend. Thanks for sharing.

  15. James

    You can sneak in just a tiny amount of minced garlic and it’s excellent!

  16. Dara

    A big bowl of raita is a must whenever I’m eating a spicy curry. My version usually includes yogurt, cucumber, and garam masala. I love your addition of mint.

  17. Kavitha

    My favorite raita is onion raita. Slice red onions very thin; mix it with salt and squeeze out extra moisture. Then mix it with slit green chillies, chopped fresh ginger and curry leaves (It’s a fresh herb you will find in most Indian stores).

  18. Catherine

    I know this isn’t even about the food but I tend to lust after your tableware almost as much as what you’ve put on it. Is this all stuff you have sets of?
    Anyway my first thought today before I even looked at the recipe was, “I love that plate”. Is it the same as from the Tuna Salad picture?

    Hi Catherine. Cool plate isn’t it? It’s a dish in the dogwood pattern from Frankoma, an Oklahoma pottery maker. I don’t have full sets of anything, usually just one from a pattern that I found at a second-hand store, or a close-out sale from a china store. I’ve been collecting random pieces of tableware since long before the blog started. Now I have even a better excuse for my indulgence. :-) ~Elise

  19. Venkat

    Try another variety – replace Cucumber with Bell Pepper cubes (mix of Green, Red and Yellow), you wont believe how good the raita will be. Bell Peppers can be raw, slightly roasted in oil, or grilled, each brings a different unique raita.

    Thanks again for all your recipes!!!

  20. CJ McD

    I love summer cucumbers and raita made with them. My old neighbors introduced me to Indian cooking years ago. Raita not only cools down the hot chiles, but it’s sort of addicting as a summer side if more cucumber is added. I planted a big pot of mint this year and it’s ready for raita and mint chutney. Tandoori chicken, here we come!

    Thanks for posting the recipe Elise.

  21. Ethan

    If I recall, the casein actually binds to the receptors on your tongue blocking the heat rather than canceling it out. Regardless of if that recollection is correct, this looks neat.

    Hi Ethan, in the link section I included a link to an explanation of the chemistry involved. According to this article, “Milk contains casein, a lipophilic (fat-loving) substance that surrounds and washes away the fatty capsaicin molecules in much the same way that soap washes away grease.” ~Elise

  22. sensiblecooking

    We make raita all the time, specially if we are making biryani (Meat and rice dish) raita is must. Our family recipe is quite similar to yours. But we use chat masala instead and like you suggested cilantro instead of mint along with some red onion.

  23. Isin

    This is almost the same as tzatziki or cacik as we call it in Turkish. Cacik is a very basic Turkish dish. Goes best with aubergines and boreks but it is a perfect accompaniment to almost all summer meals. The purpose is definitely to eat lightly in hot summer days, take away your thirst but still have something nutritous. It is perfect for a diet, too.

    To prepare cucumbers are either grated or cut into small cubes. Salt and garlic to taste are definitely added. We also add a lot of mint, usually in dried form. Paprika or cumin is not very common. A few drops of olive oil is also a nice addition. Usually the Turkish version has more water than the tzatziki.

  24. ann omalley

    I would like to know how to do the onions in spicy sauce that accompany the cucumber raita. when you have pompadoms. Thanks.

  25. Km

    for variations and esp if you are using this as a dip try these variations:
    -finely chopped fresh tomatoes and red onion,
    – finely chopped green chilis ( yes, chilis!)
    it tastes wonderful with toasted bread/chips
    – some KIX cereal.. adds a nice crunchy flavor

  26. JungMann

    I like to add a slight squeeze of lime juice with my raita, particularly if I’m using a mild domestic yogurt. That little extra tang is especially good at cutting through richness when you mix the raita with biryani.

  27. christine

    Try this. It’s my all-time-favorite raita. It’s especially good made with whole fat yogurt. Enjoy:

    Stir one grated carrot into 1 1/2 c yogurt. Heat 1 TBS vegetable oil in a small skillet. To the hot oil, add a generous 1/4 tsp Cumin Seeds, 1/4 tsp whole mustard seeds, a small handful of golden raisins and a large pinch of salt. When the seeds begin to pop, take the pan off of the heat. Stir the entire contents of the pan into the yogurt. Stir. Eat!

    Sounds great! ~Elise

  28. Muslimah Revert

    I like making my raita with toasted cumin seeds, shredded cucumber, and chopped onion. If I use low-fat yogurt I squeeze the juice out of the shredded cucumber, otherwise it’s too runny for my taste.

  29. Connie

    I love raita, I especially love raita as a dip for chapati, but… honestly, the bowl and plate in the photo caught my attention first. And last. They’re beauuuutiful. Drool.

  30. Col. A.R. Ratnam

    Hi,
    Nice variation from what I keep on trying.
    For a change, add 1. a bit of curry leaves cut into small pieces,2.a pinch of asafoetida, 3.a pinch of black mustard seeds 4.a small green chilly cut into tiny pieces after removing the seeds and saute all these in 1tsp butter/ghee/olive oil and add to what you have given – presto – you have a dish to eat with tamarind rice/lemon rice/cumin pulao!!

  31. Bette

    I make a somewhat Norwegian version of raita…half yogurt, half light sour cream, a couple of peeled cucumbers, seeded and thinly sliced, salt, pepper, and the essential ingredient…dill weed! This is fabulous with baked or grilled salmon, and also delicious with Indian food…

  32. Sherihan

    I have one that my aunt always made whenever she prepared Bryani (an indian dish that consists of rice, meat or chicken, spices and roasted nuts) yummm

    In a food processor compine yogurt, cilantro, garlic clove, mint and hot green pepper and process them all to make a sauce. Delicious !!!

  33. tugga

    In the state of Maharashtra, India, we have something similar called ‘Koshambir’. To grated cucumber, add crushed peanut topping. Now, in a pan, heat very small amount of oil. Throw in the Black Mustard Seeds, Cumin seeds, curry leaves, asafoetida, green chillies. Saute this and add it to grated cucumber with peanuts. Now add yogurt and salt.

  34. Janine

    Like you, I always get a large bowl of raita. Its almost a dish by itself for me. Now, in the Texas heat, I buy Bulgarian yogurt and plain Kefir, mix it, add some salt and pepper and lemon juice and chopped dill and mint. I eat this for dinner with some crackers and I am happy. Its so refreshing. In Germany, we use QUARK, a thicker cream, and turn it into KraeuterQuark, Quark with herbs. Thats a popular spread added to plain bread and also sold ready-made in supermarkets. I always used the 3 basic herbs: parsley, dill and chives that grew in my grandma’s garden. Delicious.

  35. fatdave

    I learned to cook Indian food in Durban, South Africa. I used to love going to the open air spice market! I make my raita with Greek style yogurt and prefer using English cucumbers. I don’t grate them, but finely chop them (I like the texture of chopped better than grated) and always use cilantro (green coriander) instead of mint.

  36. Mugdha

    There are a lot of variations of raita which I like to make, some slightly unusual but very tasty and easy to make are boiled potato raita, where you basically boil or roast potatoes or just microwave them on baked potatoes setting, mash them coarsely, add cumin powder, chili powder and some mint pretty much the way you did for the cucumber raita above.

    Another favorite is spinach raita, boil spinach lightly with one cut onion, drain off the liquid and slighly puree them (I mostly don’t, since the leaves become soft after boiling, just chop up the spinach and onions together) and add to yogurt with some salt, pepper, cumin powder and very little sugar…perfect raita for summer.

  37. Rani

    Teeny suggestion…using just the yogurt raita (without adding any vegetables) but with all the spices and herbs makes a great, albeit thin, spread for tea sandwiches…for sliced tomato or cucumber sandwiches on good, thin bread with the crusts cut off…too bad it’s not tea time for me! If you turn up the heat by throwing all this (sans cucumbers) in a mini-food processor with a couple of green chili peppers, it becomes a great chutney/dip for kebabs, much like the Greek tzatziki. Love your site!

  38. The food doctor

    Hello,
    This is my first time commenting on your wonderful site though I have been a regular visitor for a while

    My favorite Raita recipe is
    shredded carrots
    finely chopped cucumbers
    dried corriander
    and ofcourse yogurt..
    The longer this sets after preparation the better it tastes because the corriander infuses the yogurt better

  39. Madhu Babu

    Have seen your site before … lovely work!! Ran into this page while toodling around to see if raita will work on spicy chicken as a sandwich topping…
    Recently made raita with finely shredded raw mango,chopped english cucumber, green chilli….. it was yummy yummy with pulao & biriyani! make sure the yogurt is not too sour.