Rude Food by Vir Sanghvi: Raita time, raita place - Hindustan Times
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Rude Food by Vir Sanghvi: Raita time, raita place

Jul 24, 2023 07:21 PM IST

This delicious, cooling side dish is unique to North India but different versions of it exist across the world. So, where did it come from?

Raita is the silent guest at nearly every meal in North India. Silent, because it is never gets the credit it deserves. We enjoy it, but we don’t talk too much about it. In fact, as I discovered while researching this piece, nobody is even sure who invented it or where it came from.

Raita is a North Indian thing. You don’t find it in the East. You don’t even find it in the West. It does not exist in the South. (Shutterstock)
Raita is a North Indian thing. You don’t find it in the East. You don’t even find it in the West. It does not exist in the South. (Shutterstock)
Food historian KT Achaya couldn’t find any reference to raita in Sangam literature, nor do we see it in The Mughal Feast, which is based on recipes from Shah Jahan’s Kitchen. Meanwhile, Heston Blumenthal offers up a recipe for what he calls Raitziki, which combines raita and tzatziki.
Food historian KT Achaya couldn’t find any reference to raita in Sangam literature, nor do we see it in The Mughal Feast, which is based on recipes from Shah Jahan’s Kitchen. Meanwhile, Heston Blumenthal offers up a recipe for what he calls Raitziki, which combines raita and tzatziki.
Raita is the silent guest at nearly every meal in North India. There are variations that include boondi, onion, tomato and chillies, and cucumber. No meal seems complete without it. (Shutterstock)
Raita is the silent guest at nearly every meal in North India. There are variations that include boondi, onion, tomato and chillies, and cucumber. No meal seems complete without it. (Shutterstock)
Tzatziki and raita are very similar, since both use cucumber, yoghurt and herbs. The only distinction may be that tzatziki is made with hung curd. (Shutterstock)
Tzatziki and raita are very similar, since both use cucumber, yoghurt and herbs. The only distinction may be that tzatziki is made with hung curd. (Shutterstock)
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