5 South Indian Raita Recipes with Beetroot, Gooseberry, Coconut and More

5 South Indian Raita Recipes with Beetroot, Gooseberry, Coconut and More

Highlights
  • Almost all raitas across the South are cooked with a 'tempering'
  • In summer, most home menus include ingredients like cucumber and gourd
  • Here are a few recipes that are not just simple but with health benefits
Ponram Biryani is possibly the best place in Dindigul for a traditional biryani cooked with small grain seeraga samba rice and lamb. But that’s not the only reason why people flock to Ponram enroute to Kodaikanal from Chennai and Bengaluru. This local eatery also makes an Onion Pachadi (served as an accompaniment with the biryani) and it’s the closest I’ve eaten to a Greek tzatziki in India. Finely chopped onions in curd so thick that it almost borders on hung curd. All over South India the raita as we know it in North India is an integral part of menus, more so in summer where a combination of curd with vegetables and ingredients are specially crafted to beat the heat.

It’s different from the pachadi (that usually refers to a dish that’s pounded) although it uses the same suffix. The most famous of these is the Ugadi Pachadi (in Andhra, Telengana and Karnataka) that is an integral part of Ugadi celebrations with its six different flavours (from bitter to sweet) that signify the rollercoaster ride of emotions most people go through in any given year. Raw mango and neem flowers are the key ingredients for this dish.
Thayir Pachadi in Tamil Nadu and Kerala or Mosarubajji in Karnataka, the South Indian version of the raita is also part of wedding and celebration meals. Along with a mildly spicy stir-fried vegetable (poriyal or thoran), the Thayir Pachadi provides a fine balance in a large banana leaf spread meal. It’s not unusual for most home meals to include it as an accompaniment to rice with sambar or rasam

 
YoughurtAlmost all raitas across the South are cooked with a ‘tempering’ process.


In summer, most home menus incorporate ingredients like cucumber and ridge gourd to keep things cool. 
We’ve collated a few recipes that are not just simple and perfect for the summer but also feature ingredients with health benefits. 

1. Nellika Thayir Pachadi (Gooseberry Raita)

Packed with the goodness of gooseberries – a high source of Vitamin C and A. The combination of gooseberry and fenugreek makes it ideal for the summer. It’s also a clever way to add gooseberry to your meal.

Ingredients:

3 gooseberries (large) 
3 green chillies 
1 ginger (1/2 inch size)
½ cup coriander leaves, finely chopped
½ tsp urad dal
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
1 cup curd 
Salt to taste 

Method:

1. Boil the gooseberries and de-seed them. 
2. Roast (dry-fry) the urad dal and fenugreek seeds separately till they turn golden brown. Combine the two and add the ginger and the chillies to the mixer. Grind all the ingredients (including the gooseberries) in a blender and serve cold. 
 
Gooseberry raitaGoosebeery raita

 2. Dangar Pachadi

A traditional recipe from the Thanjavur region in Tamil Nadu, this raita is actually cooked with urad dal powder. My grandmother used to make her own appalams (papads) with urad dal (typically in the summer) and some of the leftover urad dal powder would get used in this nutritious raita

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp urad dal powder
2 green chillies
½ cup coriander leaves, finely chopped 
1 Tbsp coconut, finely grated
1 cup curd
Salt to taste 
¼ tsp mustard seeds
¼ tsp Bengal gram
¼ tsp urad dal
¼ tsp asafoetida
1 red chilli, dried 
1 tsp ghee

Method:

1. Grind the coriander, green chilli and coconut.
2. Add the above ingredients to the curd and whisk it well.
3. Add the urad dal powder to the mix and make sure there are no lumps
4. Fry the chilli (crush the chilli), mustard, urad dal, Bengal gram and asafoetida in the ghee and add it to the mix.
 
Dangar pachadiDangar Pachadi
 
3. Beetroot Pachadi
Recipe courtesy: Aji Joseph – Corporate Chef, Ente Keralam restaurant

A curd-based pachadi is a quintessential part of any Sadya (Plantain leaf celebration meal) in Kerala. The beetroot lends more colour than flavour to this raita.

Ingredients:

1 beetroot, grated 
¼ tsp turmeric powder
2 cups curd, beaten
7 green chillies
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 cup coriander leaves, finely chopped
2 cups coconut, finely grated
1 ginger (1/2 inch piece)
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
4 Tbsp water
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 shallot, large, sliced
Curry leaves: 2 sprigs 

Method:

1.Clean the beetroot, grate it and keep it aside.
2. In a pan cook the grated beetroot, salt, turmeric powder, 1 tablespoon water with the lid closed. Stir in between.
3. Meanwhile in a mixer, grind ½ tsp mustard seeds, cumin seeds, grated coconut, ginger and green chillies into a paste by adding 3 tablespoons water.
4. Once the beetroot is cooked (softened) well, transfer the ground paste to the pan and stir well.
5. Cook the ingredients for another 5 minutes in medium flame till the water dries off.
6. Beat the curd in a bowl  and keep it aside.
7. Transfer the beaten curd to the pan and warm it (do not allow it to boil). Turn off the flame.
8. In a pan, heat the oil and crackle mustard seeds, shallots and curry leaves and add on to the cooked curd and beetroot mixture.
9. Check for salt and serve.
 
Beetroot raitaBeetroot Raita 

4. Majige Chaaru

This is my favourite Andhra-style raita and literally translates to spiced buttermilk. It doesn’t just make a perfect accompaniment with a rice-heavy meal but also tastes delicious with rotis and looks similar to a North Indian style kadhi.

Ingredients:

Onion (Large): 1 
Tomato (Small): 1
Mustard seeds: ¼ teaspoon
Urad Dal: 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds: ¼ teaspoon
Turmeric powder: 1/4 teaspoon
Green chillies: 2
Curry leaves:  2 sprigs
Curd: 1 cup
Cooking oil: 1 tablespoon  
Salt: to taste 

Method:

1. Fry (temper) mustard seeds, cumin, urad dal, curry leaves and green chillies (add one ingredient at a time).
2. Add onions and sauté till the onions are half cooked.
3. Add the tomato and sauté for a few minutes.
4. Add the turmeric, salt and keep aside (in a closed dish). 
5. Add the curd and whisk just before you serve. 
 
Majige Charu raitaMajige Charu Raita


5. Roasted Tomato and Capsicum Raita

I was pleasantly surprised to discover this raita at a new vegetarian restaurant in Chennai set up by a wedding caterer. This raita is usually served at Tamil Brahmin weddings and makes a great accompaniment with bisi bele bath (sambar satham) or coconut rice.  

Ingredients:

Ripe red tomatoes – 2 (large)
Capsicum – ½ 
Grated Coconut – ¼ cup
Red chilly powder – 1 teaspoon 
Jeera – 1 teaspoon 
Salt – to taste
For tempering:
Coconut oil – 1 teaspoon 
Mustard seeds
Channa dal
Urad dal 
Curry leaves

Method:

1. Grind the coconut, jeera, salt and red chilli powder to a fine paste. Keep it aside 
2. Roast the tomato and capsicum with very little oil ill they turn soft
3. Temper the other ingredients in coconut oil
4. Mix all the ingredients with the curd.
 
Roasted tomato and capsicum raitaRoasted Tomato and Capsicum Raita


About the Author:Ashwin Rajagopalan is a cross cultural training expert and lifestyle writer. When he's not writing about food, he thinks about gadgets, trends and travel experiences. He enjoys communicating across cultures and borders in his weekday work avatar as a content and editorial consultant for a global major and one of India's only cross cultural trainers.

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