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Guest post: Chef Has (my Dad) shares his recipe for raita

As some of you may know, I owe most of my cookery skills, understanding of and passion for food to my Dad. I have asked him to share some of his infinite culinary knowledge with you by doing some guest posts every now and then.

This first post comes about largely by chance. Having seen my post on Kolhapuri lamb, which included a haphazard attempt at a recipe for raita, he sent me an email yesterday with the recipe he uses; I now know why his raita always tastes so much better than mine! I asked him to turn it into a post and also to explain one of the canapés from Christmas Eve, pictured above. The beauty of this canapé is that it look really impressive and tastes great, but is really easy. I hope this will be the first of many posts from Dad, or as he will henceforth be known, Hash Brown.

Raita, the real thing

This raita recipe was given to me by a Bangladeshi chef I worked with.

Raita is a wonderful accompaniment for curries, tandoori meats, samosas, pakoras or as a dip with pappadams. I also make a 'canape' with tandoori chicken or lamb served on a mini pappadam and topped with raita. I dice some chicken or lamb into small cubes then marinate in Patak's tandoori paste as per the instructions on the jar (yes, a bit of a cheat but if there are lots of mouths to feed I reckon it is alright to cut a few corners). Mini pappadams are about 1 - 1.5 inches in diameter and hopefully available at your local Indian deli. To cook the pappadams deep or shallow fry. It is also possible to cook them in the microwave but be prepared to toss a few out until you get the timing right. If microwaving a light brushing or spray of oil improves the flavour. Grill the meat and serve in pappadams with a blob of raita.

The amounts in this recipe are only approximate so be brave and trust your judgement; the only really essential ingredients are the first and last three. You can do it in a pestle and mortar or blender but it helps to roughly chop the stuff first. However, don't put the cucumber in the blender or mortar unless you want a very runny raita!


4 inches cucumber
1 inch green chilli, finely diced
¼ cup mint, roughly chopped
2 stalks coriander, roughly chopped
1 small spring onion (or ¼ onion), finely sliced
½ inch ginger, grated   
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ tsp ground cumin or garam masala
½ tsp honey
Drizzle groundnut oil
300ml good, thick natural yoghurt
Squeeze lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste



Grate the cucumber into a tea towel and squeeze out hard to remove any excess moisture. Put to one side. 

Put the green chilli, mint, coriander, spring onion, garlic, and spice of your choice in the mortar or blender. Grind or pulse until you have a rough paste.

If using a mortar and pestle, add the rest of the ingredients and stir with a spoon to combine.

If using a blender, scrape the mixture into a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and stir.

Yours, Hash Brown.


[FYI – Dad seems to still be living in 1960s England, for the record one inch is approx 2.5cm]

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Reader Comments (6)

Fabulous recipe pops.
Your name takes the cake though...who thought of it new? or am i just terribly slow?

February 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Brown

Well it is food related isn't it? Dad's idea, I suggested we stick with Hazard :)

February 7, 2011 | Registered CommenterVix

He is definitely a hazard!

I'm looking forward to giving this one a go when I get home...

February 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterchris gilbey

Thanks for the comment Chris. I agree, definitely hazardous material :)

February 16, 2011 | Registered CommenterVix

We, the daughter and family, decided to do pork for Xmas, my childhood family tradition, going back to Xmas. sorry Christmas, with grandmother, traditional roasts, plural, with the roast veges - potatoes, pumpkin, kumara, the condiments - apple sauce, mint sauce (fresh mint of course), horseradish, mustards, yorkshire pudding, onion gravy etc AND then there were new potatoes, beans and peas picked from the garden that morning. The desserts were a whole chapter in themselves!!! All this was in a NZ summer.
Then many years ago I had a white Xmas in Yorkshire with a friend at her parents, roast pork featured but this time with bread sauce and what she called 'stuffings', which was onions cooked around the pork, which had been cooked to fall off the bone stage. Delicious. (Despite my misgivings that it might be so overcooked) The onion thing was divine not tasted like since, sort of soft oniony flavour but not strong and was a perfect foil for pork. When asked for the recipe of the 'stuffings', in true grandmother type tradition it was just put onions around the roast and put in oven.
Could never fully get the same product and looked for years in all sorts of old recipe books, no luck.
So this year we decide to do pork, we all love crispy, so Xmas morning decided to try your recipe, unfortunately, we didn't have most of the ingredients, except the belly pork!!! Lack of co-ordination between the shopping teams! And no-one could be bothered to find a shop open on Xmas Day
So we adapted!
Basically cooked similarly, the hot oven thing, but decided to try putting onions under it and as we did have some garlic used that as well.
When cooked removed the meat which was beautifully moist and wonderfully crisp crackling, then caramelised the onions and garlic which were very soft and but only a few bits were brown and used the traditional water from the beans (sadly store brought and not garden fresh) and made a sort of gravy sauce. Did manage to have the roast kumara as well.
So although it really wasn't any of the above, the means of cooking thanks to you gave us at least the crispy bit!
And we all loved it, very popular, and voted as do again. But ext time we are going to do the real recipe, as love how the flavours sound!

February 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusie

Wow, thanks for you lovely long post Susie. I assume you are referring to the Chinese pork belly recipe, glad it helped you to get the crackling just right. Sounds like you feasted like Kings at Christmas. Let me know how it goes when you do the Chinese version.

February 27, 2011 | Registered CommenterVix

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