Tomato and Coconut Raita

An unusual texture and unexpected flavor set this delicious raita apart from more humdrum yogurt condiments. Of course it's ideal with any and all curries but Cafe Drake HRV also serves this raita alongside chickpea flour crepes, savory pancakes and as a topping for baked potatoes.

Begin with about a pound of very ripe tomatoes. Any sort will do  - cherry, grape, large beefsteak - as long as they're ripe. Chop coarsely and add to a large mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl place 1 cup of dried, unsweetened coconut and mix with 2 T. very hot water. Set aside for 15 minutes then drain. Add coconut to the tomatoes along with 2 T. minced hot green chilies of choice, at least 1/2 t. salt and 2 cups plain yogurt (low-fat or whole milk). Mix well. 

In a small skillet heat 1 T. vegetable oil over a high flame. Throw in 1 1/2 t. black mustard seeds and cover the skillet quickly. When the seeds have just stopped popping, carefully remove lid and toss in 1 whole dried red chili, torn into 4 or 5 pieces. Cook for about 10 seconds and then dump contents of skillet into yogurt mixture. Quickly, stir very well. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving chilled or just below room temperature.


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