Raita is an Indian garnish or accompaniment which acts as a cooling flavor to the the spicy dishes where it mollifies the chili in the curry and refreshes the palates. There are many variations of raita like the cucumber raita, tomato raita, onion raita, mint and coriander raita, boondi raita and so on…. Raita in Indian cuisine is served as a side dish and is made by blending thick yoghurt with various fresh fruits, vegetables and spices. Few people consider raita as salad and while others use it like a condiment. There are assortments of ingredients that can be put in raita to create the dish that range from almost sweet to intensely spicy. Raita is a very common dish in India and around the world and is served particularly with Biryani, Pulao, parathas and especially not to forget the kababs. Raita is very similar to a Greek dish namely tsatsiki which takes advantage of the tangy nature of yoghurt. In both cases the yoghurt used in raita is typically plain, whole fat and very thick. In some parts of India strained yoghurt is used because it is extremely thick and the texture is almost like that of soft cheese curds. Cucumber raita and mixed raita is probably the most common and popular raita’s available around the whole world. Carrot and onion raita are also common in India. Few chefs also season raita with ingredients like cumin, coriander, black mustard seeds, mint, dill and cayenne. Normally raita is prepared as per the individual’s taste and choice of ingredients. Raita is both cooling and spicy, with the yoghurt soothing the mouth while eating spicy food and the chilies which are frequently used to keep the taste buds on their toes. This dish can also be used as a dip for Indian flat breads as well as being served alongside or with curries. Some people also enjoy eating raita straight. If you are an ardent lover of Biryanis and if you tend to have trouble with the spiciness, make sure to have the raita on the side of your dish. This would compensate the spiciness of the dish. If you eat something too spicy, take a sip of the raita; the acidity of the yoghurt will help to cool your mouth down, making you feel more comfortable. As you might imagine, this dish is very easy to make at home. Finely chop fruits or vegetables of choice, toss them with some yoghurt, and add some spices to taste. Traditionally, raita is salted, and if you use a vegetable with high water content like cucumber, salt it first to pull some of the water out, so that the raita will not turn watery. Yoghurt plays a vital role in every household kitchen. Eating yoghurt everyday is very good for the health and supplements their protein, calcium and vitamins. Yoghurt is not just a delicious snack with fruits on the bottom, it has great health benefits. It is an excellent source of protein, calcium, riboflavin and vitamin B 12. When yoghurt is compared to milk, yoghurt contains more calcium and protein because of the added cultures in the yogurt. Some of the health benefits of yoghurt are: It improves natural defense, it contains a good amount of phosphorus and 88% water. People with a risk of osteoporosis should eat at least one serving of yogurt per day. It has also been claimed that yoghurt may protect against some types of cancer. There are three types of yogurt: regular (whole milk), low-fat and skim. Low-fat and skim yogurt are good for people who are on a cholesterol lowering diet or just simply watching their weights. This type of yoghurt does not raise blood cholesterol levels. Yoghurt is fresh dairy product that must be stored in the refrigerator. Yoghurt is known and consumed in almost all parts of the world. Mediterranean Countries use a lot of yoghurt in their cuisine. Cucumber and yoghurt salad is very popular among the Mediterranean countries, it is prepared with yogurt, cucumbers, fresh or dried mint, garlic and salt. To prepare this yummy raita, whisk the yoghurt or curd to fine and smooth consistency (you can also use blender for fast results). Add all the spices including salt. Add any special ingredients (ex- for mixed raita to can add finely chopped cucumber, tomatoes, green chilies, grated carrots etc) to make a specific Raita. Chill. Garnish with fresh Cilantro and chili powder prior to serving. Do try this recipe and click here to watch making of the mixed raita: https://www.vahrehvah.com/Raita:2995 Dishes like biryani’s, pulaos/pilafs, khichidi etc are excellent served with a bowl of chilled raita. Many raitas are suitable for use as small 'dips', but generally served in generous portions with a meal. Raita can be made in many ways. You can also serve a simple raita just using salt and pepper with curd or else even garnish by sprinkling red paprika on the top to make it look more appealing. Be creative. Experiment with different ingredients, spices, herbs, flavours. Serve this cooling dish with practically anything! Ultimately Raita is a liquid salad of yoghurt, cucumber, some spices, but a memorable raita needs precise balance of the right ingredients.