Sauced: Cucumber-Mint Raita


Sauces, dips, dressings, and condiments from around the world.


[Photographs: Joshua Bousel]

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I have one final sauce to close out my little Indian exploration, raita—which is basically yogurt with various combinations of vegetables and seasonings.

Keeping up the trend of simple recipes, this one is exceedingly easy. I'm a sucker for cucumber, so I went with a common cucumber-mint variation, where those two ingredients and yogurt were only accompanied by minimal seasonings in the way of salt, cumin, and cayenne.

After a few hours of chilling this combo to let the flavors meld, I was incredibly pleased with how the fresh and cool sauce melded with my lightly spiced tandoori chicken. Once the chicken was gone, I then realized I liked this raita even more as a salad, where the delicate heat of the cayenne and earthy cumin gave a depth that I didn't pick up when used as a condiment.

Even better yet is the versatility of raita for adaptation. Want avocado and onion, go for it! Jalapeño and potato would be just as excellent. Mix in mint chutney and instantly transform one sauce into another. If you don't want to play by traditional rules, your only raita limit is your imagination.