This raita is a very simple one – the spices are in the tadka rather than layering them as powders in the yoghurt. But my, it is delicious. The recipe was given to me by a Maharashtrian friend who was making it for a special event at their home. I do love to make recipes that are given to me, as the chain of links formed by people and recipes is something special and important. In days gone, the passing of recipes from person to person was very important – no social media, few books, rare magazines. So word of mouth was the conduit, along with the Saturday paper Ladies Section and locally printed books compiled by Women’s groups.
Enjoy this raita, it is special for several reasons.
1 bunch asparagus
1 cup of Desi (Indian) yoghurt, thinned with a Tblspn or 2 of milk, as needed
3 Tblspn coriander leaves
sea salt, to taste
1 tspn black cumin seeds
0.5 tspn cumin seeds
1 – 2 fresh green or red chillies, sliced thinly
0.25 tspn (or less) of turmeric
1 – 2 tspn ghee
Trim the woody ends from the asparagus, and cook them by steaming, sauteing or grilling. I like to simmer them in salted water for a couple of minutes until they turn bright green, then drain them and place on a grill plate until tender.
Chop the cooked asparagus into pieces of 1.5 cm long. Reserve the tops for garnish.
Beat the yoghurt and milk with some sea salt until smooth, and stir in the asparagus and coriander leaves.
To make the tadka, heat the ghee in a tadka pan or small saute pan, add the mustard seeds and allow to pop. Add the cumin seeds, and after a moment, add the chopped chillies, then the asafoetida, then the turmeric, in that order. Carefully stir with a small spoon, then pour the tadka over the raita.
Garnish with asparagus tops and a few coriander leaves, and serve.
recipe notes and alternatives
Add a little sugar, 0.5 tspn, to balance flavours, if desired.