Shefaly's Nectarine Raita
Yogurt side dishes, like this fruity raita, are served with Indian food for a very practical reason: They counteract the capsaicin from hot chilies in both the mouth and digestive tract. And though you may be most familiar with raitas made with cucumbers or other vegetables (here's my rainbow carrot raita), you can also prepare raita with fruit, including bananas, pineapple, or -- as I've done here -- nectarines.
A tarka is a spiced oil that adds a secondary layer of flavor. Let it cool, then stir it right into the raita.
Serves 2 to 3
For the tarka:
1 teaspoon canola oil
1/8 teaspoon mustard seeds
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 branch curry leaves (optional; do not substitute curry powder)
For the raita:
3 cups whole milk yogurt, preferably not Greek
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon roasted cumin powder
½ cup diced nectarine
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Heat the oil in a very small skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. (You can test the oil by putting in a cumin seed. If it sizzles and rapidly moves in the oil, the oil is ready.)
Add the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, lower heat and add the remaining cumin seeds. (If they begin to brown, remove from the heat for a moment before proceeding.)
Add the curry leaves, plucking them from the branch. They will splatter initially, so use caution and stand back.
Stir well, frying for a few seconds, then turn off heat. Transfer to a small bowl to cool.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir the yogurt vigorously with a spoon. Stir in the salt and roasted cumin powder. Add the tarka and mix well. Fold in the nectarine pieces. Sprinkle with cilantro, and serve cold or at room temperature.
Words, Recipe + Photograph © Shefaly Ravula