Zucchini and Mint Raita

This Zucchini and Mint Raita is a cooling, healthy and delicious yogurt salad that acts as a perfect accompaniment to Veg Biryani or Pulao rice. The zucchini brings in some much needed crunch to the dish. In my case, it served as a easy replacement for cucumber since I didn’t have any stocked in the fridge. The addition of spices gives a zing to this delicious yogurt based dip. On that green note, wishing all the readers a Merry Christmas!

Recipe Details :
Serves: 2-3 pax
Time: 20 mins
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients :

  • 1 zucchini, grated
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt or homemade curd
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp freshly grated pepper
  • Salt to taste

Zucchini and mint raita

Zucchini and mint raita


Method:

  • Grate the zucchini on the largest grooves of the grater.
  • Finely chop the mint leaves (without the stem).
  • Whisk the yogurt until smooth.
  • Add a little salt and pepper to season the yogurt.
  • Now add the zucchini and mint to the whisked yogurt and mix well.
  • Refrigerate it for at least 30 mins.
  • Before serving, taste, and add salt and pepper according to your preference.
  • This raita is amazing to serve with rice preparations or rotis.

Tips:

  • You can add some spice to the raita by adding red chilli flakes.
  • Letting the raita sit in the fridge is important – preferably do not skip this step. It helps the flavours meld.
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Kiwi and Mint Chutney

    While grocery shopping, I noticed a box of kiwi fruit. You may be surprised to know that I had never tasted it before till that day. Intrigued by the fruit, I went ahead and bought it. I was quite blown away by the taste of the fruit – it was a great blend of sweet and tart flavors. I discovered later that it is also a very good source of Vitamin C and can be used in smoothies, cake toppings and chutneys/dips. This combination goes well with breads, chips and rotis or parathas.

    Recipe for Kiwi and Mint Chutney

    Serves : 4-5
    Ingredients :

    • 3 kiwi fruit
    • 1 cup mint, finely chopped
    • 1 cup coriander, finely chopped
    • 2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
    • 3-4 green chillies, finely chopped
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • Salt to taste

    Kiwi and mint chutney

    Kiwi and mint chutney


    Method:

    • Wash and chop the mint and coriander leaves.
    • Peel the kiwi fruit and chop it.
    • Take all the ingredients in a mixer and blend it to form a purée.‎
    • Store the dip in a bowl and keep it refrigerated. Kept refrigerated, it will last for about a week.
    • In the picture, I’ve shown a veg sandwich made using this chutney as the spread. The texture of the chutney can also be seen as a part of the close-up picture of the bowl.

    Tips :

    • If your kiwi fruit is sweet, you can add lemon juice. As always, taste before adding.
    • You can also make this using either coriander or mint. You need not use both.

Black Eyed Beans with Potato in Mint Gravy

Known as Lobia in North India and Karamani in South India, black-eyed beans are an interesting ingredient to cook with. They are rich in protein and good to include in a diet to form a healthy mix of pulses and vegetables. The advantage with pulses is that you can add a small amount of them to vegetables to increase the volume of the dish without losing the taste. This dish is gravy based and pairs well with rotis.

Recipe for Black Eyed Beans with Potato in Mint Gravy


Serves : 2-3
Ingredients :

  • 1 cup black-eyed beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 medium potatoes diced (peeling not required)
  • 1/2 cup fresh tomato purée
  • 1 cup mix of mint and cilantro paste. While grinding this paste, add 2-3 green chillies too. If you don’t have cilantro, just make it using mint. You can also add 2-3 tbsp of grated coconut while grinding this paste if you like your gravy to have a coconut base.
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste [optional]
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp oil
  • Curry leaves [optional]
  • Salt to taste
Black eyed beans with Potato in Mint Gravy

Black eyed beans with Potato in Mint Gravy

Method:

  • Heat oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds
  • When they splutter, add the onions and cook till they are soft and transparent
  • Add the ginger-garlic paste along with turmeric and garam masala and mix well
  • Add the potatoes to this mixture and sauté them for 4-5 mins. Add some salt at this stage because the potatoes should not taste under-salted.
  • Drain the water from the black-eyes beans and add it to the potato mixture and stir it well.
  • After 2-3 mins, add the tomato purée and let it cook for another 2-3 mins till it comes to a boil on medium flame.
  • Lower the flame, add 1.5-2 cups of water, cover the mixture with a lid and let it cook for 15-20 mins. Also adjust salt at this stage.
  • Once the black-eyed beans have been cooked, add the flavourful, ground paste of mint and chillies to the mixture and let it cook for another 5-7 mins.
  • Garnish with curry leaves and serve hot

Tips :

  • The black-eyed beans need to be just soaked in water for a minimum of 8-10 hours. This would get the texture of the beans perfect for a gravy based dish. If you don’t have that much time and have soaked it for only 3-4 hrs, then cook the beans in a pressure cooker on a low flame for 3-4 whistles.
  • Monitor the water levels in the gravy while cooking. Add water and manage the heat to get the consistency of your choice.

Cucumber and Corn Rice with Feta and Mint

The thought of how to make plain rice interesting and a standalone dish on its own merit has often found space in my culinary thoughts. If a lot of veggies are involved, the dish works brilliantly, but it involves quite a bit of prep time depending upon the cut of each vegetable. This recipe was relatively easier to make and also had an interesting flavor combination tossed in .

Recipe for Cucumber and Corn Rice


Serves : 2-3
Ingredients :

  • 1 large cucumber peeled, deseeded and cut into medium sized pieces
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 tomato cut into medium sized pieces
  • 90 gms of Feta cheese
  • Mint leaves
  • 1.2 cups of rice
  • 2 tsp oil
  • Black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable stock [optional]
Image

Cucumber and corn rice

Method:

  • Add oil to a non-stick pan. Once the oil is warm (not hot) add the onions, garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook on a low flame until soft and transparent
  • Add the rice to the pan. Stir and cook till the rice becomes semi-transparent
  • Add either vegetable stock or water. For 1 cup of rice, add 2 cups of the liquid. Cover the pan and cook on a low flame
  • When the rice is par-cooked, add the cucumber and corn pieces. Taste and adjust the salt. Cover and cook till the rice is cooked through and the liquid is absorbed
  • Turn off the flame, wait a few minutes and gently fluff the rice with a fork
  • Add in the chopped tomato, feta cheese and freshly crushed black pepper and gently fold in
  • Serve hot with a mint leaf garnish (and more feta cheese!)

Tips :

  • Rice is hard to salt correctly once cooked. The cooking liquid should be salted well or the rice and cucumber will be bland
  • Also, bear in mind that Feta cheese is quite salty. If you prefer a low-salt dish, reduce the salt in the rice
  • Do not overcook the vegetables. The cucumber and tomatoes just need to be just cooked
  • If you want a stronger mint taste, add finely chopped mint leaves when you add stock / water to the rice
  • For those staying in Singapore, I use the 180 gms of box of Feta cheese from NTUC