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Spiced Raita

A creamy, spicy take on the traditional Indian cucumber salad to accompany Eggplant and Red Lentil Daal—or you could eat it plain with naan bread or pita chips, too.

I added just a pinch of some really, really spicy dried and ground Jamaican chocolate pepper chilies. Dave has had these probably a few years now and I sincerely doubt they have lost any of their potency. Just a little bit packs serious heat. Fortunately, dairy helps to cool off spicy things, and I find as it sits over time the flavor develops nicely. Certainly, you can omit it for a more traditional taste; use cayenne pepper, which is more readily available; or use a fresh, seeded and diced Serrano pepper.

Spiced Raita

Makes 1 cup


1 large cucumber
1 cup 0% Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon spice blend (get recipe)
A pinch of ground Jamaican chocolate pepper, cayenne pepper, or fresh Serrano pepper (optional)
Salt, to taste


Peel, half, and thinly slice the cucumber into half-moons. Line a small colander with paper towels and set over a bowl. Add the cucumber along with 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix thoroughly and let sit, about a half-hour, to pull out some of the water in the cucumber.

Drain water from bowl, then squeeze extra water out of the cucumber; you don’t want it to be bone-dry, but a little extra juice may come out by doing this. Add the cucumber to bowl along with yogurt, lemon juice, chili pepper, and spice blend. Salt, to taste.

Cover and chill until ready to serve, or up to 3 days.