The food of India, 296pp. (also titled India: A journey for food lovers)
by Priya Wickramasinghe and Carol Selva Rajah
Murdoch Books, 2002 (paperback in 2005)
Cooking on page 32

Two friends own this cookbook. It was interesting to see that the book has been published twice recently—with slightly different titles and completely different pictures on the cover.

I’ve noticed this happening a lot lately, especially from Murdoch Books. Depending on how you look at it, the approach is both clever and sneaky.

A new look updates a book, but a new look and new title may lure shoppers into buying a second copy of a book they already own. I’d be irked if I got home and found I had two copies of the same book because I’d been fooled.

That said, this book has loads of great recipes. Today I’m cooking on page 232. I needed to use up some yogurt before we start our next travels.


450 g (1 lb) cucumbers, grated
1 large ripe tomato, finely chopped
310 ml (1 1/4 cup) thick plain yoghurt
1/2 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 tablespoon coriander (cilantro) leaves

Put the cucumber and tomato in a sieve for 20 minutes to drain off any excess liquid. Mix them in a bowl with the yoghurt and season with salt to taste.

For the final seasoning (tarka), heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat, add the mustard seeds, then cover and shake the pan until the seeds starts to pop. Pour the seeds and oil over the yoghurt. Serve sprinkled with the coriander leaves if you wish.

How it played out
I cook a lot of Indian dishes, so raita makes a regular appearance. This recipe is a bit more elaborate than what I usually do. This is the first time I have ever added black mustard seeds and coriander. And I never grate the cucumber (even if it is drained) because I think it makes the raita too wet. Small dice is fine.

I have a lot of good reasons to make this again, starting with a glut of black mustard seeds and a passion for coriander.


About leggypeggy

Intrepid overland traveller, keen photographer, avid cook—known to jump out of airplanes and do other silly things. Do not act my age.
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8 Responses to Raita

  1. G’day and YUM Peggy, true!
    I think I could match those black mustard seeds and add some yellow too! lol
    I love grated radish and grated cucumber raita too! Cheers! Joanne

  2. Cucina Amore says:

    i recently ran across that very book at our lil local library. luv it 😉

  3. skippersy says:

    Hello Indian Cook from Oz,
    I am very big on using yogurts and have made my own often. However, I like the rich creamy kind and not the diet non-fat ones or ones which are sweet or fruits in them. Sooo, Raita is a must for me when I cook Indian food, but confess I sometimes just use a spoonful of plain yogurt. Never-the-less grated cucumbers (skinless) is good and then some lemon juice, garlic sometimes. I have never tried chopped tomatoes or mustard seeds, or coriander leaves… something to consider in the future.

    Aside- In the USA we have Whole Foods supermarkets, which sell healthy type foods and a little pricy. They also have an area with hot foods (to pick your own and to eat at tables), or create your own salad, etc. So I saw that they had a Cold Cucumber Yogurt Soup Wow… so I got a big container $7.00 (a small bowl/regular size portion). When I went to eat it, I was shocked to taste it being sweet and a strange taste… I expected it to taste more on the yogurt flavor taste side and not sweet… To bad, they can’t win over every customer… like me? And had to toss most of it.

    Sighing Sy
    (I want my money back)

    • leggypeggy says:

      I’m with you Sy. I use a full-bodied thick Greek yoghurt for all my yoghurt needs (notice the difference in spelling between the US and OZ).
      Sorry that soup you bought was a shock. Poor John and I ate a wonderful yoghurt soup in Zanzibar. I could never wheedle the recipe out of the restauranteur, but I got a nice variation recipe from an Indian woman in Nairobi. So there’s another travel recipe to share on http://leggypeggy.com.
      P.S. I’ll be home soon and get to work. 🙂

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