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What's not to love about a great sauce, the perfect dip or a delicious condiment? They can add an extra flavor, complement an existing flavor, or even temper an intense flavor. And some saucy condiments are lucky — and scrumptious! — enough to do all three. Such is the raita, an Indian concoction that is as versatile as it is delicious.


What Is Raita?

Raita is a mix of yogurt, fresh herbs and spices, and fruits or vegetables. It's common to make it with cumin or mustard seeds, dahi (a salted yogurt) and chopped cucumbers. In this way, raita is a lot like Greek tzatziki sauce. In fact, you can even think of it as an Indian yogurt dip typically served to cool down the heat of spicier recipes.

A traditional raita recipe is rich, creamy and, above all, healthy. Beyond that, raita is plenty versatile, able to be made with a variety of fruits and vegetables. We're talking onions, mango, tomato — even Zespri Kiwifruit.

Like Tzatziki but . . . Different

Raita and tzatziki are very similar, in base ingredients, preparation and texture. Despite this, the two are quite different. Tzatziki starts with plain Greek yogurt. But a raita begins with a base of dahi (a thinner salted yogurt). Tzatziki also has a heavy dose of lemon juice, often making it more tangy than raita.

That is, until you add something to raita to make it tangier.

Like Zespri Kiwifruit.

More on that in a bit.

But first . . .

Making a Simple Cucumber Raita Recipe

A traditional Indian raita is warm with cumin, sharp with cilantro and cool with crisp cucumber and studded with crisp cucumber. It's easy to make, something you can make by heart once you've made it a couple times. And it's a sauce that is a welcomed addition to nearly every dish — from lamb and grilled chicken to naan sandwiches.

What You'll Need: What You'll Do:
1/2 cup plain yogurt It really couldn't be easier. Just mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt. Cover and chill the raita until you're ready to serve.
1/2 cup chopped seeded cucumber
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons chopped green onions
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Done and done.

Recipe Note: The most common spice used with raita is cumin. Cumin adds a nice smokiness to the raita. But it also has excellent cooling properties and is great for digestion — just like Zespri Kiwifruit. That's probably one of the many reasons why kiwi-inspired raita works on so many levels!

But now that you have the basics down, it's time to experiment!


How to Make a Kiwi Raita

With kiwi in this cool, creamy yogurt sauce, you don’t get the crunch you would from using the traditional cucumber. What you get is a subtle sweetness instead, a counterpoint to the warm spices of cumin, coriander and black mustard seeds.

You can easily wrap some grilled chicken, a sprig of fresh cilantro, some slivers of red onion and a big dollop of the raita inside a soft flatbread for a quick and satisfying dinner.

Because green kiwi contains actinidin, an enzyme that can prevent gelatin from setting and cause dairy products to curdle, be sure to stir the kiwi into the yogurt just before serving. And go to town with the raita, as two kiwi have more potassium than a banana, and 240 percent of the recommended daily requirement of Vitamin C.

What You'll Need: What You'll Do:
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds In a dry skillet, combine the mustard, cumin and coriander seeds and toast over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds Coarsely grind the seeds in a spice grinder or mortar.
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds In a bowl, combine all but 1 tablespoon of the kiwi with the yogurt, sour cream and onion. Stir in the spices, cilantro and chile powder and season with salt.
2 Zespri green kiwi, peeled and coarsely chopped Cover and refrigerate until cold.
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt Garnish with the reserved kiwi and serve.
1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 tablespoon coarsely chopped cilantro
1/8 teaspoon pure red chile powder or crushed red pepper
Salt to taste

Recipe Tip: Not a fan of grinding seeds? Use the powdered version. Just make sure you use toasted cumin powder for that extra nutty flavor.


Other Variations to Try: SunGold Kiwi-Mint Raita Recipe

This SunGold Kiwi-Mint Raita is a tropical and tangy blend of flavors that can be served with rice, on top of spicy grilled steak or chicken, or as a side dish. Basically, it pairs well with everything. And the yogurt, cumin and nutrient-dense SunGold kiwifruit makes it great for your digestion, too.

Like the other raita recipes, it's incredibly easy to make.

What You'll Need: What You'll Do:
1.5 cup yogurt Chop the SunGold kiwifruit into small pieces.
1 medium Zespri SunGold Kiwi Whisk the yogurt to make it smooth.
10 sprigs fresh mint Add all the spices and mint in the yogurt and mix it well.
2 Tbsp. SunGold pulp Now add the chopped SunGold and kiwifruit pulp in and mix gently.
1/3 tsp. red chili powder Chill and serve. with rice ,roti or as a side dish with your meal.
1/3 tsp roasted cumin powder
1 tsp sugar
pinch of pepper
Salt to taste

Just remember to garnish with roasted cumin, chili powder and some extra mint before serving.