Sunday, March 13, 2011

three ways with zucchini raita | usinf raw zucchini for riata and dips

Nobody seems to like Zucchini. Zucchini  just look beautiful for their bright colour they say. Lauki-Tinda (bottle guards and round guards) is for the old and convalescing , many people believe ...and so is zucchini ...

I am not among those many and I was so happy to hear about a 4 year old girl refusing to eat chicken saying she doesn't eat birds :) How nice is that , this girl picks up broccoli from a pasta dish and says it is so yummy . Her mother is a proud mommy for sure. I like all those vegetables no matter how they look, some of the recent imports (Zucchini not being an Indian origin vegetable, but now being grown locally) can be easily included in Indian meals as well.

Raita is a yogurt based dish which can be dressed up as a western style dip if using hung curd , or a more runny side dish to go with spicy Indian meals . Raita is supposed to be a cooling side dish to counter the hot n spicy main course dishes. Pachadi is a southern counterpart of the raita and this recipe can be tweaked to make even a pachadi.

I get a few organic vegetable very close by, Zucchini being one of them. Using this fresh and tender vegetable for a raita is the healthiest way it can be savored. I made three versions. The first one is a hung curd recipe resulting into a thicker creamier version which turns greenish with the fresh juices oozing out of the grated zucchini.

Fine grated zucchini is mixed with hung curd and a spice mix made for North Indian raita, some red chilly powder and salt to taste. Some finely chopped onions and coriander leaves are added for the sharp n tangy taste and a bit of crunch. The ratio of grated zucchini, onions and coriander leaves is 2:1:1. Mix well with required amount of hung curd and it is a nice side dish with anything you can think of. We enjoyed this one with a mildly spiced vegetable pulao. It makes a nice spread for pita breads and whole grain sandwiches, some corn chips would be very nice with this dip if you are entertaining kids ....or for a weekend drink session.

The spice mix is a staple in many North Indian homes for the daily fix of raita or spiced buttermilk. 50 gm of cumin and a generous pinch of asafoetida (hing) is dry roasted in a pan, 50 gm of black peppercorns are added to it, tossed a bit till they all pop ... only some of the pepper corns will pop but the cumin will be popping vigorously. Take them off heat, cool and make a powder and keep in an airtight container. Use as required.

The second recipe involves coarsely grating the zucchini and red onions ..

 Adding some of the raita mix and red chilly powder, some fresh curds 

This is a thinner raita, a healthy light side dish for weight watchers.

The third version of zucchini raita has another aromatic herb added to it making it more delectable....some tomatoes make it even more healthy and beautiful to look at...

Finely grated zucchini , chopped red onions and red tomatoes are mixed with a few chopped coriander leaves and a lot of  basil leaves. The raita spice mix is added and as are some red chilly flakes....salt and pepper to taste and the raita is truly aromatic ...

 Just mix everything together along with some thick and creamy yogurt and serve immediately...

Basil tomatoes and a creamy yogurt, a very aromatic and hearty raita ...........
again this creamy raita could be used a s a dip or spread as required , just keep the seasonings right and everybody will ask for some kind of raita everyday.......

Cucumbers can be used instead of zucchini wherever it cannot be procured, although it is being grown and distributed very well in this part of the world. Cucumbers will be a bit different in taste, just as much as the ridge guard and sponge guard differ in taste and aroma . Minor differences but quite significant....
These recipes are meant for those who want to include this vegetable in their daily diet and are finding it difficult to suit it for Indian kitchens...



  1. Beautiful raitas... love them all... i like zucchini.. its beautiful to look at.. and these raitas are so tempting :)

  2. very nice and healthy raita.. looks awesome !!

    Indian Cuisine

  3. I like it...I really like it.Had no problem including zuchini but have yet to try raita with it,and thanks for spice mix.
    Actually,Sangeeta,I wish we were living in the same city.I drool so much over your blog, that I could have dropped by your home to sample them as well!
    How has been your experiments with red rice?

  4. Thanks rajani... i wish the food we read on the screen had more tangibility ( it has some level of tangibility already :) )...

    Rajani my experiments with the red rice have been limited to the multigrain khichdi and some lentil soups , will post about them ... but we dint like it as plain boiled rice as i wanted to ....i am looking for more ideas with it n would like to see how it is used traditionally in the southern states...

    In UP , my folks say it is used for a rice pudding made with jaggery , i have to try that too...

  5. Love raita very much .Looks delicious!

  6. oooooh yummy i love that raitaaa.. me need me need me neeed :)


  7. I still have some rye crackers left in the pantry...would taste great with this zucchini raita.

  8. We love zuchini chutney! American bake a lot with this veggie, Raita sounds good and interesting!

  9. I love raita!!! Thanks for this recipe (and the 3 different options) and for stopping by my blog! So nice to meet you: you have an inspiring blog! I will definitely be back Sangeeta! :-)

  10. Am so going to try this. Have done bhindi and potato raita but never thought of adding Zucchini and making a raita. Cool idea, thanks.