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Cucumber-Mint Raita

Makes about 2 cups / This yogurt sauce balances and ties together an Indian meal's flavorful elements. It also makes a cooling dressing for green salads or a dip for fresh vegetables.

2 cups plain low-fat yogurt
½ teaspoon unrefined cane sugar
½ teaspoon salt
Dash of cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes
½ cucumber, diced
2 tablespoons chopped scallions
8 mint leaves, minced

  1. Combine yogurt, sugar, salt, and cayenne or red pepper flakes; mix well. Add remaining ingredients and mix. Let stand at least 10 minutes before serving.

PER SERVING (½ cup): 83 cal, 11% fat cal, 1g fat, 1g sat fat, 8mg chol, 6g protein, 13g carb, 0g fiber, 367mg

3 tips for authentic Indian cuisine

  1. Buy whole spices and grind small amounts with a spice grinder as needed. Whole spices retain their fragrant oils longer. Once ground, they immediately start to lose intensity.
  2. Dry-toast whole or ground spices for 30 seconds before using. This step can significantly increase a dish's flavors.
  3. Add a touch of sugar to balance the spices. Without it, too much of the strong, pungent flavors may take over.
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