Cucumber Mint Raita


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

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Whenever I go out to eat at an Indian restaurant, I make sure the meal includes plenty of raita on the side. Raita is a yogurt-based condiment that can help douse the fire if a dish is just a little to hot and spicy.

In much the same way that sour cream or crema fresca is served with chili-infused Mexican food, the casein in the yogurt absorbs capsaicin, the compound that gives chili its heat. Raita can be used as a sauce or a dip.

This raita is made with cucumber and mint because I have plenty of mint growing around the yard and cucumbers are plentiful at the farmers market. You could easily use cilantro instead of the mint, or carrots or papaya in place of the cucumbers.

Do you have a favorite raita recipe? Please let us know about it in the comments.

Cucumber Mint Raita Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 2 1/2 cups

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.


  • One large (or two medium) cucumbers, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and seeded, then grated
  • 2 cups (475 ml) 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.


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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Cucumber, radish, cilantro raita from Herbivoracious

Cucumber raita (Perugu Pachadi) - from Sailu's Kitchen

General Chemistry Online: Fire and Spice - an explanation of how milk relieves the heat from chili.

Showing 4 of 33 Comments / Reviews

  • Hannah

    I’m planning a big Indian meal for a bunch of friends, so I’ve been browsing the internet for inspiration. I’ve never tried a recipe from your blog even though they often look and sound so amazing because I hate converting to the decimal system, but I guess with this Raita, it’s not such a big effort, so I’ll finally try one of your recipes :)

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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)

  • Minou

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

    Very similar. ~Elise

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Cucumber Mint Raita