Pahadi Kheere Ka Raita is a delicious Kumaoni style cucumber raita. It’s spicy, tangy and full of flavors. Kumaoni Raita is a real outburst of flavors and super simple to prepare. Cucumber raita is an excellent gluten-free and 100% vegetarian Indian side-dish.
Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas in the state of Uttarakhand, Kumaon is bestowed with a maze of mountains, lush greenery, and breath-taking landscapes. The culture, cuisine and the rich heritage of the region are still an untold saga to the rest of the world.
Many renowned food historians and novelists have captured the essence of the cuisine in their writings, though. From ancient times, Kumaonis have been famous for their bravery, warrior skills, and enduring honor. As the persona of the natives, the Kumaoni cuisine is simple, subtle and comprises mainly of locally grown greens, vegetables, herbs, and grains.
Pahadi Kheere Ka Raita…
If you have ever visited the lush green hill stations of Kumaon such as Nainital or Ranikhet (also read: Best Summer Holiday in Ranikhet) to spend a quiet summer vacation, you might have tasted Pahadi Kheere Ka Raita aka cucumber raita. It is a quintessential part of Kumaoni cuisine, and probably the only variety of raita one can spot in the entire cuisine.
For making the pahadi raita one needs the giant yellowish skin tone local variety of cucumber. The other predominant flavor in the Pahadi Kheere ka Raita is that of tiny pale yellow local mustard seeds. These mustard seeds are combined with plenty of mustard oil and green chili to escalate the flavors of raita to a new high.
Traditionally, this mustard paste for cucumber raita is grind in stone mortars and pestles. Often served with Aloo ke Gutke (see recipe here), Pahadi Kheera Raita is the most sought-after dish in this region.
The first taste impression of Kumaoni Raita is like a hit of the strong taste, and not subtle at all. And might possible due to the robust flavor of mustard it might not be love at first bite kind of dish. Eventually, your palate starts developing a kind of affection with this rare sapor.
While traveling across the region, you can buy this local variety of cucumber and mustard from the flea markets. Or, make use of your everyday cucumber if you are not visiting Kumaon any soon.
Tips To Make Perfect Kumaoni Cucumber Raita:
It is always best to use the local variety of summer cucumber to make this Pahadi style raita. If that is not available, then use the regular Indian cucumber.
It is best to grind the mustard seeds and green chili in a mortar and pestle or in a stone grinder for the rustiq appeal.
A coarse paste of mustard seeds and green chili is required. No need to make a fine chutney like paste.
Adding mustard oil in the Kumaoni raita is optional. It is added for that extra kick in the flavor.
No need to dry roast or fry the mustard seeds for making the raita. Make a coarse paste and directly combine with the curd.
Before adding the cucumber, make sure all the liquid from the grated cucumber is squeezed out. This step will ensure a thick and luscious Pahadi Kheere Ka Raita.
Last but not least, the flavors of this cucumber raita mature after a few hours. Hence, it is always best to make it in advance and store in the fridge.
Love this Kumaoni Raita? Try These Kumaoni Recipes:
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Pahadi Kheere Ka Raita
- 2 Cup yoghurt (curd)
- 1 medium size pahadi kheera (cucumber)
- 1 tablespoon small size yellow mustard
- 2 green chili
- 1/4 cup mustard oil (optional)
- Half a bunch of coriander leaves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- To prepare the raita, peel and cut cucumber lengthwise into half.
- Remove the seeds from each piece using a spoon. Grate the cucumber, squeeze out all the liquid from the grated cucumber. Set aside in a bowl.
- Whisk yogurt to get a smooth consistency. Use approximately 1/4 cup of water to get the desired consistency. Pahadi Kheere ka raita is usually on a thicker side.
- Now in a stone mortar and pestle, add mustard seeds, green chili, and salt. Grind to a coarse paste. Or you can use blender as well for the purpose.
- Add this paste in the yogurt along with grated cucumber, mustard oil, coriander leaves, chili powder, and turmeric. Stir to combine.
- For the flavors to mature let the raita sit at room temperature or in the fridge for 30 minutes or more.
- Serve Pahadi Kheere Ka Raita chilled with aloo ke gutke.
Postcard From Kumaon Hills, Uttarakhand