Gill Mellers best ever cucumber raita recipe

PUBLISHED: 15:17 15 July 2020 | UPDATED: 15:30 15 July 2020

Cucumber raita with cumin, coriander, mustard seed and mint....my best ever raita  Photography ©Andrew Montgomery

Cucumber raita with cumin, coriander, mustard seed and mint....my best ever raita Photography ©Andrew Montgomery

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Win a copy of Gill Meller’s latest cookery book Root, Stem, Leaf Flower and try his best ever recipe for raita

Gill Meller's latest bookGill Meller's latest book

CUCUMBER RAITA WITH CUMIN, CORIANDER, MUSTARD SEEDS AND MINT

This is undeniably the best raita I’ve ever made, or ever tried, for that matter. You’ll find using full-fat natural, live organic yoghurt makes a massive difference to the flavour, and it doesn’t have to be cow’s milk yoghurt either. Goat’s or sheep’s will work just as well. I like to squeeze out the grated cucumber pulp before I add it to the yoghurt; it keeps the raita thicker and richer this way. Lots of whole, toasted spices give the raita texture and fresh chilli gives it the heat I like. Serve with a lamb or mutton curry or spicy vegetable tagine.

Serves 6

1 large or 2 smaller cucumbers, grated

2 tsp cider vinegar

½ small red onion, finely diced

A scant grating of garlic (about ¼of a clove)

Gill Meller harvesting artichokes in his garden  Photography ©Andrew MontgomeryGill Meller harvesting artichokes in his garden Photography ©Andrew Montgomery

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

2 tsp black mustard seeds

400ml natural yoghurt

1 small handful of coriander, chopped, but a few leaves left whole

1 small handful of mint, leaves picked and ribbonned, but a few leaves left whole

1 medium-hot red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced

1 tsp sweet paprika

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

1 Pick up handfuls of the grated cucumber and squeeze out the juice. Place the squeezed-out cucumber in a clean bowl and add the vinegar, onion, garlic and half the olive oil and season with some salt and pepper. Mix everything together and allow to stand while you toast the seeds.

2 To do this place a small pan over a medium heat. Add the cumin and coriander seeds and toast them gently until they begin to pop and smoke a little. Tip them into a mortar and, using the pestle, crush them to a relatively fine texture. Tip all but a pinch of spice into the bowl with the cucumber mixture. (Reserve the pinch for sprinkling over the top of the raita at the end.)

3 Toast the mustard seeds just as you toasted the cumin and coriander seeds, but don’t crush these, just add them straight to the cucumber mixture – again, holding a pinch back for later.

4 Add the yoghurt to the bowl along with the prepared herbs and stir it all through the cucumber so everything is thoroughly combined. Spoon the raita into a suitable serving bowl. Scatter the top of the dip with the chilli slices and the additional mint and coriander leaves, then sprinkle over the reserved crushed and whole seeds and the sweet paprika. Trickle with the remaining olive oil before serving.

Taken from Root, Stem, Leaf, Flower: How to cook with vegetables and other plants published by Quadrille.

Find out more at gillmeller.com and follow Gill on Twitter and on Instagram

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