Palak Raita or Spinach Yogurt Sauce/Dip is one of those quick little Pakistani / Indian Condiments that I never thought I would be making with such regularity.
Growing up, Spinach was one of my nemesis, and no matter how much that Popeye cartoon was forced onto me, I just never really gave Spinach a chance. Until one fine day my mom made this beautiful Spinach Raita that I now love and crave. I love pairing this raita with Qeema bhara parathas, and Pulao rice, and now that I am trying to eat healthier, I like to use it as a dip for almost every snack I am having. But to be fair, it literally pairs with everything. Tortillas, Mac n Cheese balls, and fried fish, these are just a few things I could thing of at the moment!
It’s the easiest, most South Asian thing to add to your menu. Plus not really spicy (unlike our other foods).
The steps are literally almost one liner explanations but I’ll throw in a few pictures for you guys to see the process.
STEPS OF HOW TO MAKE PALAK RAITA
This recipe uses 2 cups of fresh, chopped spinach. But if you are like me, and you blanch your spinach to use ahead, you can use 3 tbsp of blanched spinach.
Start with cooking the chopped spinach at medium flame. The spinach will cook in its own water and reduce to..well…a few tablespoons.
While your spinach cools down, whisk your yogurt with pepper, salt, roasted cumin powder and some red chili flakes. Also add water to thin out the yogurt.
Add in your cooked spinach and mix it up. Adjust the thickness of your Raita at this point by adding more water if needed. And now we move on to my favorite part!
THE TARKA! (TEMPERED SPICES)
This spinach raita is topped with a tarka (tempered spices).
The spices I use for this Tarka are mustard seeds, cumin seeds, whole red chilies and chopped garlic. All these spices are fried in a few tablespoons of olive oil at medium flame. When the garlic turns golden brown, turn off the flame and pour the hot oil and spices all over the spinach yogurt. The sizzling sound that you get when the oil hits the yogurt, is what I live for people!! And you are done! It is THAT easy! Beware, your kitchen is going to smell enticing and there is no turning back now, all there is left to do is to DIG IN!
Go ahead and try it at home. You can refrigerate it, in the fridge it keeps well for up to a week.
Palak raita – Spinach yogurt dip
Spinach Yogurt Dip (Palak Raita)
FOR YOGURT SAUCE
- 1 cup yogurt
- 2 cups of chopped spinach
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp crushed red chili flakes
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp roasted cumin seed powder
FOR TARKA (TEMPERING)
- 6 to 7 tbsp of oil
- 3 cloves of garlic - finely chopped
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds saabit zeera
- 1 tsp mustard seeds rye dana
- 3 to 4 whole red chilies
- In a bowl, whisk yogurt until smooth.
- Add salt, black pepper powder, cumin powder, chili flakes and water. Mix well and set aside.
- In a small frying pan, add chopped spinach and cook in it own water at low to medium flame
- When the water from the spinach dries, turn off the heat and let it cool down. Then add the spinach to the yogurt and mix well.
- In the same frying pan add oil and all the spices for tempering or Tarka. Fry the spices in the oil at medium flame, till the garlic turns golden brown.
- Pour the bubbling hot oil onto the spinach yogurt directly. Stir slightly and serve