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Cucumber Raita or What to Do With Too Many Cucumbers

By Jane Sherry on Jul 10, 2012

Ingredients

Cucumber Raita

Cucumbers

Sea Salt for salting out moisture

Sheep Yogurt or any thick style yogurt of your choice (ie: Greek Style)

Cayenne Pepper

Roasted Ground Cumin Seed

Dash of Agave or honey

 

First Peel cukes, then grate on large grater side or use cuisinart depending on how many gazillions of cukes are in your garden. After grating mix cucumber with a plentiful amount of salt. (say one teaspoon per 1.5 pounds of cucumber). Toss shreds of cucumber well & then place into a fine mesh strainer over a deep bowl to collect the water. Wait anywhere from 10 minutes to a half hour. If you're in a hurry, just put the cucumber mess into a clean kitchen towl & wring the moisture out. Depending on how mature your cucumbers are, you will get anywhere from 3/4 cup to several cups of liquid out of a few pounds of cucumbers.

Much of the salt will wash out during this process. Then when as much liquid is removed as possible, mix the cucumber shreds in a bowl with ample ground cumin to taste. Cumin, like many of the fragrant spice seeds have a more complex flavor if they are lightly roasted before using, then crush in a mortar & pestle.*

Add a dash of cayenne pepper and be generous with the yogurt. You want to use enough yogurt to bind the mixture and then some. You can make it as yogurty as you like, don't forget you want full flavor so you can always add in more yogurt after it's marinated for a bit. I've eaten this mixture right away after preparing but it really is most delicious when it has had a chance to marinate all the flavors overnight. After adding the yogurt, add a dash of sweetener if you like.

A dish like this will cool off any spicy hot meal like a curry or Jamaican style jerk meal. It would go well with any non spicy dish, especially on a hot summer day or in a hot climate where you need some cooling cucumber & cooling yogurt. And of course, when you have too many cucumbers climbing all over the garden, it's a fine way to use them up with no complaints from your loved ones! It will stay fresh to eat for at least three days, probably longer, but we try not to eat foods which have been prepared & in the fridge for more than three days.

Many cultures have cooling cucumber yogurt dishes, such as the Greek Tzatziki or Persian Mast O Khiar. It is a traditional condiment to cool off spicy fare.

 

Optional: add chopped fresh herbs such as cilantro or parsley, mint, lemon verbena or even tarragon would taste good in this dish.

* toast seeds over a low-medium heat in an ungreased pan while shaking vigorously most of the time. Toast until you smell the fragrance of the seeds & take off the heat. Set aside until cool, then grind in a spice grinder or mortar & pestle.

Bon Appetit!!