Indian salads are a great accompaniment to any Indian meal. They are healthy, delicious and easy to prepare. In North India, salads are known as raitas (pronounced “rye-ta“), and are usually always yogurt based. Raitas have a wonderful cooling effect on the palate that makes them the perfect compliment for any spicy meal. In other regions of India, salads are known as koshimbir, kachumber or pachadi. These types of salads may or may not contain yogurt. There are many different varieties of raitas and koshimbirs with a myriad of ingredients and a broad range of tastes & flavors.
I made this recipe using mango but feel free to use pineapple or papaya if you prefer. My Tropical fruit Raitas work especially well with grilled foods. They are light, perfect and very refreshing for the hot and humid months.
The mango is indigenous to India and is considered to be India’s national fruit. Although there are many different varieties of mangoes, the most heavenly tasting mango of them all is the Alphonso (also known as Ratnagiri or Hapuus variety). The Alphonso mango is undoubtedly the “King of Mangoes” and grows along India’s western coast. If you can find this delicious mango in your area, then by all means use it. If not, use any variety of mango – just make sure it is ripe but still firm to the touch.
TROPICAL MANGO RAITA (Fresh Mango Salad)
1 large ripe but firm mango, peeled and finely diced
1 cup cucumber, peeled and finely diced
½ cup red onion, finely diced
¼ cup red or green bell pepper, finely diced
1-2 small green Thai chilies, finely minced (to taste)
2 tbsp fresh lime juice (or lemon or orange juice)
pinch of ground cumin powder
salt and pepper, to taste
freshly chopped cilantro leaves (or mint leaves) for garnish
freshly chopped chives for garnish
In a small mixing bowl, combine the diced mango and cucumber with the red onion, bell pepper, green chilies, lime juice, ground cumin powder, salt and pepper. Mix well to combine all of the ingredients, garnish with the cilantro leaves and chives. Serve as a part of any meal.
You could make this dish using pineapple, papaya or a lovely combination of tropical fruits if you wish. You could also some pomegranate seeds for a fresh burst of color and taste.
Feel free to add some small baby cherry or grape tomatoes. You could also add some cooked baby shrimp, small bay scallops or jumbo lump crab meat to the raita.