Bhajimania continues at our house. The onion bhajis are favorites with the kids, while Dan and I like the string bean bhajis, especially as they use up the many bags of frozen beans we have in the freezer from last year's garden bumper crop. The beans, if thawed and wrung out well, get really crispy in the bhaji batter.
We've been eating them with basmati rice and mango chutney on the side for a divine trio, but last time I whipped up a cucumber raita for a toothsome quartet and now this will become our bhaji standard. For inspiration, I turned to one of my favorite and reliable cookbooks, Madhur Jaffrey's "An Invitation to Indian Cooking". We also used leftover raita to make a creamy vinaigrette later in the week and then threw it on top of some lentil chili. It keeps well and is a nice condiment to have around.
1 cucumber, peeled and grated (if cucumber is seedy, cut out middle pulp first)
1 pint plain yogurt
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. minced cilantro
2 Tbsp. snipped chives
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. cumin seeds (these are preferable to ground cumin in this recipe for the crunch factor)
Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for a few hours before serving to let flavors mingle.