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Indian yogurt and cucumber salad

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July 16, 2008

Serves 4

When slender cucumbers come into the markets, you can make the classic Indian raita, a mixture of cooling yogurt with shredded cucumbers and tomatoes. It's supposed to offset the sauce of a hot curry, but it also goes well with all summer grills and roasted meats and fish.

2 cucumbers
Salt and black pepper, to taste
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and cut into strips
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 green chili pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt, or more to taste
1. Peel the cucumbers, halve them lengthwise, and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. On a coarse grater, grate the cucumbers. Transfer them to a colander and place the colander in a bowl. Sprinkle the cucumbers with salt and set the bowl aside for 20 minutes.

2. Discard the liquid in the bowl and wipe it out. Squeeze the cucumbers in your hands to remove as much liquid as possible from the shreds. Transfer them to the bowl.

3. Add the tomatoes, cilantro or parsley, onion, chili pepper, garlic, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Stir well. Add the yogurt several spoonfuls at a time, stirring until the vegetables are coated all over. Add more yogurt if you like. Sheryl Julian

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