This is my son’s favourite salad. And it is, perhaps, the oldest recipe in my repertoire. I read the recipe in National Geographic Kid’s, NatGeo’s magazine for children, when I was about 13 years old, and have been making it since.
Yes, it is very much like the Indian cucumber raita. But with a twist. This raita includes lime juice, which I had thought odd, since dahi is already a little tart. But am I glad my young mind didn’t decide to omit it! I have a rule of sorts – the first time around I try to stick to a recipe as much as possible, substituting only if an ingredient is unavailable.
This is the usual salad that I make with a quick dinner of matar-pulao (peas pulao), or even with the Quabooli whenever I’m not quite up to making boorani.
Garlic and yoghurt get along famously, and the lime adds an additional note of summer fresh to the cool salad. Nothing is superfluous here. If you use grated cucumber, and thickened yoghurt (by draining away the whey), you would get a version of Tzatziki – a Greek cucumber-yoghurt dip. The dip is great served with corn or even potato chips.
Greek Cucumber Salad
1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved, and sliced thin (Indian desi cucumbers are a variety of gherkin, and do not need to be seeded)
2 C natural (3%) yoghurt (dahi/Greek style)
2 cloves garlic, smashed to a pulp
juice of half a lime
few twists of freshly cracked pepper
½ t salt
Peel, slice, and salt the cucumber. Put in a colander to drain for 10 min. Beat the yoghurt with a wire whisk a few times to make it smooth. Add the pulped garlic, and the lime juice. Lightly salt the yoghurt (remember the cucumber has been salted). Rinse the salted cucumber in cold water. Drain, squeezing lightly. Add to the garlic flavoured yoghurt. Add a few turns of freshly cracked pepper. Serve chilled.