Friday, September 16, 2005

Jicama Raita

I have been quite adventurous food wise off late. This week during our weekly grocery trip to Han-Ah Rheum I went in eager to pick up the first strange looking vegetable to come my way. And believe you me when I say there is no better place to befriend strange and unknown vegetables than the produce aisles of your neighbourhood Korean grocery store. After wandering around aimlessly for some time, my eyes lighted on it - the jicama. I had heard of it being described as a mexican root vegetable and vaguely knew it was used in salads. As I picked out my own little ugly monster my mind was swimming with possibilities. Should I stir fry it or should I add it to a salad? Will it hold up its own in a spicy curry? How about a raita...hmmm...that is interesting?

A raita is best described as the spicy Indian equivalent of the Greek tzatziki. But unlike its Greek cousin, raita is more runny in consistency and can be made more nutritious by adding any kind of summer vegetable to it. Some of the more popular vegetables are onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, pineapple and boiled potatoes. The mild sweetness and the overall crunch of the jicama make it specially suited to a raita. So half of my precious jicama was turned into a nice raita which was served with hot spiach paranthas.

Chopped Jicama - 1 cup
Minced Garlic - 1 clove
Plain yogurt - 1/2 cup
Water - 1/4 cup
Salt and Sugar - to taste

Red Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seeds -2 tsps

Coriander seeds - 2 tsps
Chopped Cilantro for garnish


Dilute the yogurt with the water and beat the mixture well with a fork till consistency is that of any creamy salad dressing. Dry roast the cumin and coriander seeds till fragrant. Use a coffee grinder to grind these to a fine powder. Add salt, sugar, chilli powder, garlic and jicama to the yogurt and mix well. Sprinkle roasted spice mix on top liberally and garnish with chopped cilantro.

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