Cucumber Sour Cream Raita

Hello, summer. This week was brutal, weather-wise. Somehow, growing up in Texas, I managed to survive the summers pretty well. Now, having lived in New York for 13 years, I cower in front of my A/C the second the thermometer inches above 80. And cook? Bake? As little as possible! So, remembering how much I enjoyed my matar pulao spin-off, and in desperate need of something cool and refreshing, I decided to make another “inspired by” Indian dish: cucumber sour cream raita.

Traditional raita is a yogurt dish that’s used to cool down the palate, particularly when eating spicy food. It comes in a variety of flavors, and cucumber has always been my favorite version. I subbed sour cream here, which gave it a slightly sharper taste. And that’s a good thing–considering how much cucumber this dish has in it, the sour cream isn’t completely overpowered, the way yogurt would be.

With the weather as steamy as it was (thank goodness we’ve cooled off a bit now), this was the perfect thing for me to make. It’s cool and sweet, with added green goodness from the dill. The combination of flavors reminded me of summers as a kid. Running through the sprinkler, getting freshly cut grass stuck to your ankles. Wearing popsicle lipstick. Listening to cicadas at night, secure in the belief that school will never start again.

And there are so many ways to use this raita: I’ve already used it as a salad dressing, as a sandwich condiment, as a dip for crudite, and as an accompaniment to several other dishes. (In a couple of days, I’ll be sharing my spicy corn fritter recipe that goes perfectly with this!) It’s so versatile and so delicious that I’ve already decided that it will be a new summer staple. Well, that and popsicle lipstick. Some things you just never outgrow.

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