Thank you so much for the feedback on the new look! I have to admit, having a blog teaches you all sorts of things that you never thought you would but as challenging as it can be, it's also a lot of fun. Speaking of fun things, this mention by Parade Magazine was exciting and I was very honored to be included in such an amazing list of creative and talented people.
Today, I have two recipes for you and I think they are perfect way to deal with all this hot weather that's coming our way here in California. There's a fresh cilantro and mint chutney which has a dash of fresh ginger root blended in. You can use this chutney as a dip, or spread it between slices of buttered bread or use it in this raita recipe that I've included in this post.
Raitas are a dish I make it at home a couple of times during the week and on hot summer days like the ones we are having right now, a refreshing and cooling cucumber and cilantro-mint raita hits the right spot. I've described two ways to prepare the raita but honestly, it's all up to you, present it the way you want to. Just have fun! I do find that the "parfait" style makes for a good travel companion when it comes to packing lunches and a little more exciting because I like the personalized touch.
I used Greek yogurt instead of the traditional method of using plain regular yogurt because I like my raitas a little creamy. A thicker yogurt base also makes it easy to layer and prepare the parfait.
yields: approximately 1 cup
1 cup packed mint leaves, fresh
1 cup packed cilantro, leaves
1 inch piece ginger root, peeled, julienned
2 thai green chili peppers
1/4 cup water, chilled
1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1. Place the mint, cilantro, ginger, chili into a blender (or a jar if you're using an immersion blender), Squeeze the lime juice and add the water and salt. Blend until the ingredients for a smooth paste. You might need to add a little more water to the paste or occasionally stir the ingredients to get them moving in the blender. Once this chutney is prepared you can use it immediately or refrigerate it in an airtight container. You can also freeze this for for a few days. (Note: the vibrant color does tend to become a little darker after a few days of storage but the it is still good to use and eat)
cucumber mint raita
yields: approximately 4 cups
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup water, chilled (* if you want the raita thinner add more water but remember to adjust the salt and pepper according to your taste preferences)
1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
2 cups cucumber, peeled and grated
1 thai chili pepper, cut into thin slices for garnish
1. In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt, water, salt and pepper until the ingredients are completely combined. Keep this yogurt base aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.
2. Squeeze the grated cucumber for any excess liquid. You can save the liquid and use it to for something else (I either drink it or use it in chilled juices).
3. There are two ways to prepare the raita.
a) The first method is for the "parfait style". You can prepare about 4-6 (5-6 ounce) glass jars with this method. Layer the bottom of one jar, half-way with the yogurt base. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of the grated cucumber above and layer with more yogurt base until you're about half an inch from the top of the jar. Layer with 2 generous tablespoons of the cilantro-mint chutney and garnish with a few of the sliced chilies and a little left over grated cucumber. Prepare the rest of the jars using this method. Refrigerate and serve chilled.
b)The second method is to mix 1/2 cup of the cilantro-mint chutney prepared earlier with the yogurt base and the cucumber in a large mixing bowl. Garnish with the thinly sliced chilies. You can serve it immediately or cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve chilled.