Leafy Green Raita

Spinach Raita with Whole Spices

Raita is a saucy yogurt dish served with spicy Indian food to cool the palate, but is a favorite comfort food on its own as well.  Try drizzling over raw vegetables or fold into a bean salad.  This raita combines steamed, fresh greens with fragrant and crunchy whole seeds tempered in hot oil.

Serves 6


  • 1 1/2 cups low fat or whole milk yogurt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 2 packed cups fresh spinach or chard leaves, stems and large veins removed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 dried red chile pepper. broken in half


  1. Place yogurt into a medium bowl.  Whisk in water and salt.  Add more salt as desired to taste.  The yogurt tang should be balanced by the salt—leaving just a hint of the usual tang.
  2. Steam or boil spinach or chard leaves until wilted.  Spinach leaves cook quickly, so they need nothing more than 30 seconds in boiling water.  Chard leaves are a bit sturdier, and they can take a minute or more to become tender.  Remove leaves from boiling water and place into a bowl of ice water to stop further cooking.  Remove from cool water and squeeze excess water from the leaves.  Chop leaves very finely and add to the yogurt.  Stir to combine.
  3. Heat oil in a small pan over medium heat.  Add seeds and chile pepper and heat until seeds begin to pop and turn darker in color.  Place a lid over the pan and remove from the heat.  Cool.
  4. Swirl the oil and spice mixture into the raita just before serving.


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