Saturday, July 19, 2008

Lebanese "raita"

During the week, we had our regular BC Geek Dinner. We tend to alternate between going out and bringing food to someone's house. This time we were going to Caroline's house and I said I would bring salad, not knowing what Caroline was cooking for main course. When she said she was cooking lamb curry and dhal, I started thinking about cucumber and yoghurt. I was particularly thinking about a delicious recipe with sour cream and yoghurt that my friend Karen cooks but unfortunately didn't get the recipe in time.

I looked at some Indian books, but finally lighted upon a cucumber salad in Abla Amad's The Lebanese kitchen and made that. It wasn't Indian but people treated it as such and were saying "Pass the raita" even though I had stressed the Lebanese nature of the dish. But hey! Brunswick is multicultural and our meal was too. The mint and yoghurt and cucumber was a delicious counterfoil to Caroline's curry and also to the butter chicken I made last night and ate with the leftover "raita".

The recipe is basically Abla's but I didn't add any water (she includes 2 tablespoons) and I used 500 ml yoghurt, whereas she uses 800 ml. All of this meant that my consistency was probably thicker than hers was intended to be but it was right for what I wanted.

Cucumber salad (aka Lebanese raita) after Abla


4 medium-sized Lebanese cucumbers
2 gloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 heaped teaspoon dried mint
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
500 ml natural yoghurt

Peel cucumbers, then cut into quarters lengthwise and slice.
Finely crush garlic in a bowl with salt.
Add cucumber, dried mint, fresh mint and yoghurt and mix.
Add water if you prefer a thinner consistency.
Serve immediately.

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