A typical South Indian meal, to be more precious, an Andhra meal, ends with a bowl of yogurt or yogurt rice. But in my house, there are days when yogurt doesn’t even make it to the dinning table, as both of us are not very fond of it. I don’t drink tea, coffee and am not very fond of cheese either. Sometimes when I think about it, I go on a guilt trip that I am not taking in the daily required calcium thru my diet. That is when I start making different raitas with various vegetables.
Raita is a vegetable salad with lots of yogurt dressing. Although I don’t like mixing yogurt in rice, I love raitas with plain and flavored rice. Raitas are a great side dish or a condiment for biryani and pulao. And a good source of calcium!
So, whenever I am on this guilt trip, I make cucumber onion raita or carrot raita and nowadays, spinach raita has become my favorite. I prepare this raita or salad or pachadi by cooking spinach in little bit of oil and adding it to yogurt. Tomato Yogurt Salad or Tomato Perugu (yogurt) Pachadi can also be prepared similarly. Other vegetables that I use to make perugu pachadi are Snake Gourd (Potla Kaya) and Ivy Gourd (Donda Kaya). If using ivy gourd, I use chopped raw vegetable. Most of the perugu pachadi recipes are similar with minor variations. This is how I make Spinach Raita or Spinach Perugu Pachadi or Spinach Salad in Yogurt dressing.
Total Time: 10-12 minutes + cooling time
Preparation Time: 5 minutes + cooling time
Cooking Time: 5-7 minutes
Printable Recipe here
- 1 – 2 tsp Oil
- ½ tsp Jeera/Cumin
- ½ small Onion chopped
- 2-3 Green Chilies chopped (adjust to taste)
- 2-3 tsp crushed Garlic
- Pinch of Turmeric
- Salt to Taste
- 3 oz Baby Spinach Chopped OR 2 cups Chopped Spinach
- ¼ tsp Mustard Powder (opt)
- 1 ½ cups Yogurt
- In a pan heat oil and add cumin seeds.
- Once they start spluttering, add onion, green chilies and stir. Don’t have to cook until onion become translucent. Cook them in oil just to mellow the strong raw onion flavor. If one likes raw onions, can omit onions here and add raw onions to the raita.
- Add garlic, salt and turmeric and stir again.
- Add chopped spinach and mix well until all the spices are incorporated.
- Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes until spinach withers and is cooked.
- Add mustard powder, mix well and turn off the heat. Keep it covered and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Spinach will continue to cook in the steam generated.
- Let the spinach mixture cool down completely and then add it to beaten yogurt. Depending on ones liking, quantity of yogurt can be adjusted. For yogurty flavor, add more yogurt and for more of spinach flavor, cut back on yogurt. It tastes great either way. I normal add more yogurt when I serve it as side dish for biryani & pulao and less yogurt when I serve it with plain white rice.
- Taste it and adjust salt according to taste.
- Refrigerate the raita until ready to serve.
- Tastes great with biryani, pulao and also with white rice. This can be served as dip.
- I used baby spinach but bunch spinach can also be used for this recipe. I prefer baby spinach as it is pre washed and all I need to do is chop it and use it.
- I cooked onion along with spinach to diffuse the strong raw onion flavor. If one prefers, can skip that step and add the raw onions to yogurt. Raw onions also also tastes excellent in spinach raita. The only problem with doing so is the bad breath from onion after eating it.
I am sending this to Sudeshna’s Carnival of Salads.