Easy Eggplant Raita
For those who might not be familiar, a raita is a yogurt-based condiment, frequently seasoned with varying combinations of garam masala, cumin, fresh mint, cilantro, and dill. Raita is generally served as a cooling accompaniment to hot and spicy Indian dishes. This recipe is nice served as a dip with toasted wedges of pita bread or thinly sliced baguette.
- 2 small eggplants - about 1/2 lb each
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 medium clove garlic, very finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Dash of tabasco sauce
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a broiler pan with aluminum foil and coat with non-stick spray.
- Prick the eggplants all over with a fork, place on the foil lined pan and brush the outsides with the vegetable oil. Roast until they are very tender when pierced with a knife, about 45 minutes. Remove the eggplants from the oven and allow them to cool enough to handle.
- Once the eggplants have cooled, slice them in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh out into a medium sized bowl and set aside to cool completely.
- In a separate bowl, mix the yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, green onion, cumin and tabasco sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add in the cooled eggplant and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Mix in the mint and cilantro, transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Greek style yogurt is a bit thicker than regular yogurt and has a little more bite. It's really a better choice for this recipe, but if you're not able to find it you can substitute regular (stay away from reduced fat and fat free) plain yogurt by draining off the excess liquid. Just empty the container into a strainer lined with a couple of thicknesses of cheesecloth, and allow it to drain over a bowl for about an hour.