Recipe : Spinach Raita (Palakchi Koshimbir)

This is the first of my recipes from the recent Traditions with a Twist post.

I grew up knowing Raita as something made with cooked vegetables such as pumpkin, squash or potatoes mixed with spices and yogurt.  Anything with raw vegetables such as cucumber or tomatoes was always called a Koshimbir which is a Marathi word.  Most non-Indians know raita as typically made with cucumber and rather liquidy intended to soothe the palate while eating the spicy meal on the plate.  I question the nutritional value of cucumber and so opted for this much healthier version of the traditional version of this cooling side accompinement to any Indian meal.

Ingredients:

2 – 5oz bags of baby spinach leaves
1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 dry red chile
1 garlic clove slightly mashed but left intact
5 or 6 kaffir lime leaves chopped finely
½ tsp salt or to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Recipe: (serves 8 – 10)

Wash, dry and coarsely chop the spinach leaves and place in a large bowl.  In a small heat proof pot (I use a small kadai), add the oil and cumin seeds and heat until the seeds start to sizzle.  Add the chile and the garlic and continue to heat until the garlic starts to brown and chile turns darker.  Add the kaffir lime leaves and immediately turn off the stove.  Be careful, the lime leaves will splatter a bit.  Immediately pour the hot oil over the chopped spinach and stir.  Add yogurt, salt & pepper, adjust seasoning as needed and serve chilled.  If not serving within two hours, add the yogurt about two hours before serving and chill until needed.

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