Granny Smith & Cucumber Raita
- Side dishes
- 1 Granny Smith apple, rinsed, cored, small dice
- 1/2 English cucumber, fresh, firm (or substituted with Kirby)
- 2 cups low-fat Greek yogurt or nonfat plain yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cumin powder (roast 1 teaspoon whole cumin in a skillet, grind in a mortar and pestle); save a pinch for garnishing
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper powder
- Salt to taste
- Small sprig of fresh mint leaves, chopped, to garnish
- Wash and pat dry the cucumber, grate without peeling. Squeeze out the excess liquid from the grated cucumber and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, cumin powder, pepper powder, chopped mint and salt, and mix well with a whisk.
- Set aside. (For a slightly thinner consistency, thin mixture with the cucumber juice extracted after grating.)
- Toss in the diced apples and grated cucumbers and mix lightly.
- Refrigerate until served.
- Garnished with a pinch of toasted cumin powder, a pinch of smoked paprika and some fresh cilantro.
At Chutney Masala, Chef Navjot Arora brings international flavor to Irvington with his reinterpretation of a classic Indian dish. Raita, a savory yogurt dish, does not traditionally use apples, but the fruit adds a complimentary blend of savory and sweet to the combination of cucumbers, cumin and mint. For this application, Arora prefers Granny Smith apples for their crisp texture and tartness—the acidity cuts through the creamy tang of thick yogurt for a bright and refreshing combination. “It’s nice as a salad, but also great to work into dishes as a condiment,” notes Arora, who trained as a chef and hotel manager in India, and later worked at the luxury Taj Hotel and Resort. Arora notes that growing apples is big business in northern India, though the fruit is eaten fresh and not typically used in cooking. Yet, the apple lends itself to many Indian dishes, balancing spicy curries and adding mild sweetness to chutneys and rich sauces.