“Chutneys and raita are such a key part [of a meal] because you could serve just one dish and a side with bread,” says Makan, “and then if you just put a raita or chutney with it, it completely changes the meal, because it adds that extra punch or kick. It livens the whole thing up.”
“It’s something I don’t think I can do without,” she continues, “it is so important. When we eat, my kids are so used to having some kind of yoghurt thing on the side.”
Whipping one up needn’t require serious endeavour, or a huge array of extra pots and pans either, she says. “I might not make a fancy raita all the time, but I might just add some cumin powder and salt to yoghurt, mix it up and serve it with the food,” explains Makan. “[It] makes that meal even more special, without much effort – that’s the key. It’s not like you’re putting in an hour making a chutney or raita, these things are just so quick to make, you really don’t have an excuse, you can just blitz it up and serve.”
“I’ve been told by friends that I should put this raita into jars and sell it in shops – they think it’s the best thing ever! You should deﬁnitely try it,” says Makan.
- 2 bowls
- Baking sheet
- Small pan
For the aubergine
- 1 aubergine cut into 2.5cm cubes
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
For the yogurt
- 300 g natural yogurt
- 50 ml water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
For the tadka
- 1 tsp sunflower oil
- 1 tsp panch poran (Indian 5 spice)
- 10 fresh curry leaves
- 2 green chillies finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6. Put the aubergine cubes into a bowl with the salt, pepper and oil and mix well. Spread the cubes on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, turning them halfway through cooking.
- In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, water, salt and sugar. Once the aubergines are done, stir them into the yogurt.
- To make the tadka, heat the oil in a small pan and add the panch poran. After a few seconds, when it starts to sizzle, add the curry leaves and green chillies and cook just a few seconds more. Pour the tadka over the raita and serve.
Chetna’s Healthy Indian by Chetna Makan, photography by Nassima Rothacker, is published by Mitchell Beazley (octopusbooks.co.uk).
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