At the Indian table, yogurt-based raitas mollify the tongue-searing effect of chiles. This spicy-sweet pineapple raita from Kerala has a backbone of earthy spice thanks to a mix of black mustard seeds, dried red chiles, and curry leaves. Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's A Taste of India (Wiley, 1988), it first appeared in our August/September 2014 special India issue with Mari Uyehara's story Supporting Cast.
- 1 1⁄2 tbsp. desiccated coconut
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 1⁄2 small pineapple (about 11 oz.), peeled and cut into 1" pieces
- 1 tbsp. canola oil
- 1⁄2 tsp. brown mustard seeds
- 10 fresh or frozen curry leaves
- 3 dried chiles de árbol
- 1 cup plain full-fat yogurt
- 3 small green Indian chiles or 1 serrano, minced
- Kosher salt, to taste
Place coconut and cumin in a spice grinder; grind into a fine powder. Transfer to a bowl and stir in 1 tbsp. water; set paste aside.
Bring sugar, pineapple, and ½ cup water to a simmer in a 12” nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all the water is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Add reserved coconut paste and cook until fragrant, 2–3 minutes; let cool.
Heat oil in a 10" skillet over medium-high heat. Add mustard; cook until seeds begin to pop, about 30 seconds. Add curry leaves and dried chiles; cook until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Stir whole spices, yogurt, chopped chiles, and salt into pineapple mixture.