Avocado & Raita Sandwich
Out of the blue, I became a yogurt lover.
At first, I disliked the stuff. Then, I reluctantly thought it was okay. Though I wouldn’t snack on a flavored yogurt, every so often, a few bites of plain with honey hit the spot. I added spoonfuls to my smoothies because I figured it was good for me. Boring reason to eat something – right?
What flipped the switch a couple months ago was thinking of yogurt as a savory ingredient rather than a sweet one. Though milk and cream have natural sweet notes, by the time dairy becomes yogurt, the tanginess has taken over. With berries, bananas, and granola, my tastebuds just don’t like how that jibes.
Instead, I mixed yogurt with pesto for a sauce, spooned tzatziki onto some recent Greek meatballs in equal proportion to the meat, and dolloped plain whole-milk yogurt onto whatever I put in my mouth: weird hodgepodge bowl lunches, egg-and-cheese toasts, in place of sour cream on chilaquiles and tacos. I started ordering Sohha from Good Eggs in bigger and bigger containers. This was an odd set of eating events.
Some investigation yielded the truth that yogurt has gotten better as we’ve adopted the methods of different yogurt-eating cultures, like the thick Greek stuff that’s gotten so popular, or Lebanese, which is the tradition that birthed Sohha. Originally, the yogurts here were based on French recipes, which make something thinner and more sour. On my end, smaller portion–aka garnishes–meant I enjoyed a few bites rather than wallowed in what felt like a bottomless cup.
In other words, I ran with this taste trend. Sometimes we change what we like. And then when I remembered how an old co-worker used to spread thick Greek yogurt on his bagel instead of cream cheese, I had the idea for the open-faced sandwich you see before you. Instead of the bagel shop, I take inspiration from the Indian restaurant. Raita, an Indian yogurt condiment, is the basis of this very simple lunch that’s as easy to assemble at home as it is at the park or in the office kitchen. Instead of mixing cucumber into a garlicky yogurt spread, I reserve the vegetable as a topping–easy to eat that way. The avocado is a random addition to make this heartier.
- ¼ cup Greek-style whole milk yogurt
- pinch of ground cumin
- 1 small clove garlic, very finely minced with salt to become a paste
- 1 soft roll or bakery-style white bread
- 1 kirby cucumber, trimmed and cut into ¼-inch planks
- ½ avocado, sliced
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- Combine the yogurt, cumin, and a little bit of the garlic paste, and stir to combine. Taste the yogurt, and add more garlic if you’d like.
- Spread the raita evenly on two slices of bread (or the inside of the roll). Layer on the cucumber slices, sprinkle with salt, followed by the avocado slices. Squeeze on some lemon and sprinkle a bit more salt. Eat!
Photos by Carly Diaz