Ayurvedic Cooking: Yogurt and Mint-Cucumber Raita
<strong>Yogurt by itself has warm (ushna) virya, and hence a heating effect on the body. It is an ideal food choice in the late fall and early winter but might not be the best choice during the late winter, spring and summer. Adding herbs and fruits like mint and cucumber and whisking take the heat off and make it better suited for the summer months. The binding (grahi) quality of yogurt allows it to be used as a food choice in cases of diarrhea to create a constipating effect. Reduced-fat versions are even better suited at this job. As yogurt increases pitta dosha, it improves and strengthens the digestive fire (agni). This attribute aids one's interest in food in cases of lack of appetite. Yogurt increases kapha dosha so it is good for someone who is looking to build strength or gain weight, as kapha dosha increases the dhatus of the body. It decreases vata dosha and increases kapha and pitta dosha.
Rasa -Sour (Amla)
Virya -Warm (Ushna)
Vipak -Sour (Amla)
Profile Source: Ashtang Sangraha
Yogurt and Mint-Cucumber Raita
1 cup whole milk probiotic yogurt
1/4 cup finely chopped or grated cucumber
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Few finely chopped mint leaves or 1 teaspoon of dried mint
A pinch or two of roasted and coarsely ground cumin seeds
Salt to taste (sea salt or rock salt)
Yield - Makes about two servings
In a small-sized blender or with a whisk, stir the yogurt to break up the lumps. It does not take more than a second or so in a blender. Transfer the contents into a serving bowl and add cucumber, black pepper, mint, cumin, and salt. Mix gently. Let it sit for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend in and it is ready to be enjoyed. It can be paired with rice pilafs, kichadi, or roti! The recipe can be doubled up for larger quantities.
How To Make Yogurt
One cup whole milk
1-2 tablespoons of active yogurt culture or yogurt starter
Boil milk and let it simmer for few minutes. Transfer it to a glass or a ceramic container. When the boiled milk cools down a bit and is still quite warm to touch, add the active culture, and cover it with a secure lid. Wrap a blanket around it and leave it undisturbed in a warm place for 8-10 hours. In summers the yogurt can set in about 6-8 hours.
Author: Madhvika Singh
Madhvika was raised in India and currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has a background in Ayurveda and a Masters in Health Care Administration, with a passion for gardening, cooking, and health policy. The best way to reach her is at MadhvikAyu@gmail.com.
Edited by: Dr. Marc Halpern Ay.D.