We had dinner at the Foodie’s house on Tuesday night… she always surprises us with the most unusual dishes and this week she did not disappoint. She made chicken marinated in ginger, blood orange juice, garlic and cilantro, lightly fried and served atop mashed white sweet potatoes and sautéed spinach. As if this wasn’t enticing enough, she drizzled the creation with a yogurt "raita” and served it with a garnish of blood orange and cilantro. Very rare for us, but we were suddenly very quiet…being careful to appreciate the complex flavors of this dish. Tasty indeed.
Raita is a yogurt-based condiment commonly used as a sauce or dip. Typically used in Indian/Pakistani cooking, a raita is made by sautéing seasonings -- cumin, mint, cayenne pepper, ginger, garlic, and other herbs and spices – and mixing them into yogurt with fruits and vegetables such as cucumber, onion, or carrot, mango or pineapple. Foodie used ginger, blood orange juice, garlic, cilantro and, of course, yogurt, in her raita, recreating a dish she had in a San Diego restaurant during a recent trip to visit her daughter.
Blood Orange Raita
2 cups of plain yogurt
¼ cup cilantro
2 cloves of garlic
Juice of a ½ blood orange
Grated ginger to taste
Salt to taste
Grind together cilantro leaves, garlic and ginger and sauté to release flavors. Add salt, yogurt and blood orange juice and heat just until warm.
If you can contribute a raita variation (I imagine these are endless!), please share.
While eating our homemade cardamom rice pudding (a lovely complement to the savory meal)we somehow got talking about poetry and Foodie read us a delightful poem entitled "Forgetful-ness," by Billy Collins, Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003. There is a line in the poem that says something about information “retiring to the southern hemisphere of the brain” and I found this strangely soothing…knowing that even a Poet Laureate can sometimes be a scatterbrain!
Oh yes….damn, forgot what I was going to say.