The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Kids Make Cucumber Raita

March 5th, 2010 · No Comments · Posted in Ethnic, kids, Recipes

A serious approach to cucumbers

A serious approach to cucumbers

The kids in my food appreciation classes continue to explore the cuisine of South Africa, which has been heavily influenced by Indian immigrants. This week we made a favorite condiment, cucumber raita, that has a wonderful cooling effect served with spicy curries. It couldn’t be simpler, and even the kids noticed how healthy it is, consisting mostly of fresh cucumber and yogurt.

This dish also gives the kids an opportunity to tackle the problem of turning a raw cucumber into food. What we want to eliminate is the skin and the seeds. Our approach is as follows: first, peel two large cucumbers and trim the ends. Then cut the cucumber in half cross-wise. Next, stand each half on the cutting board and slice it in half lengthwise to expose the seeds. The seeds are easily scooped out with a teaspoon.

We then sliced the cucumbers pieces into thin crescent shapes and the kids cut these into small dice. Place all of the cucumber pieces (you should have about 3 cups) in a bowl and stir in 2 cups plain yogurt. In a small skillet, toast 1 teaspoon cumin seeds over moderate heat, then grind the seeds to a powder with a mortar and pestle. (Or use your spice mill.) Add the cumin to the cucumber mix, plus 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder. Finally, stir in a small fistful of mint leaves, finely chopped.

Set the raita aside for an hour or two so the flavors can meld. Or refrigerate overnight. Serve it next to your favorite curry.  Or enjoy it as a healthy snack.

For more great stories about how we are taking back our food system, read Fight Back Friday.

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