I thought this colourful raita might be like a ray of sunshine after a week of horribly cold rainy weather. The funny thing is that as soon as I prepared it, the sun really went out and suddenly the day felt like an extension of summer… so my roast chicken dinner felt particularly joyful. In spite of its summery appearance, this it is definitely an autumnal dish: here pomegranates are abundant (in full season from what I read, though of course imported) and, when it comes to fresh herbs, they still thrive on my balcony, so I am still able to pick fresh mint every day.
This delicious version of raita is one more jewel from Made in India: Cooked in Britain by Meera Sodha. As soon as I made it, I ranted once more about the boring almost identical choices in every Indian restaurant I went to in my area… but luckily I have wonderful cookery books and time to cook! Anyway, it’s the first time I added pomegranate to yogurt and I loved it! It can be served just like any raita (i.e. with Indian dishes), but it’s also fantastic with simple roast chicken, any kind of wrap and any heavy and/or fiery dish (such as my previous recipe, Spare Ribs in Guchujang), since it’s particularly mild and refreshing. I didn’t really look at Meera Sodha’s exact ingredients’ amounts, so I invite everyone to check the recipe in its original source.
TIPS: The recipe calls for dried mango powder (it’s available in Indian shops and on internet; I bought it from Amazon in UK), but I think you can easily replace it with tamarind juice.
Do not skip the tiny amount of sugar! It does add an additional flavour to the tangy raita.
If you are afraid of splashing pomegranate juice all around the kitchen, fill a big bowl with cold water, cut the pomegranate into 4 or two pieces and then tear it up under the water, taking out the seeds. The yellowish “skins” will float at the surface and thus will be easy to remove. All you need to do afterwards is straining the seeds.
Preparation: about 10 minutes
Ingredients (serves two):
seeds from 1 small pomegranate (or 1/2 big one)
1 natural unsweetened full fat yogurt (125 ml/about 4 oz)
a pinch of salt
a pinch of sugar
1/2 flat teaspoon dry mango powder
a pinch of powdered cumin (the best taste is obtained with freshly toasted whole seeds, which are then ground just before being used)
1 heaped tablespoon chopped mint leaves
Combine all the ingredients, taste and adjust the flavours, if needed. Chill for one hour (or not, if in a hurry) and serve.
Do not prepare it a day before: mint becomes soggy and spoils the whole raita.