Recipe: Borage Raita

My mom, who traveled through India and Nepal for two years in the 80s, often cooked curries and mulligatawny as I was growing up. She always served them with raita, a yogurt sauce that cooled and lightened the fiery, rich flavors of the meal.

At the Tuesday morning Ferry Building Farmer's Market this week, I saw something I didn't recognize: a fuzzy green and grey tangle with blue flowers and thick stems. The Heirloom Organics gal told me it was borage - an herb one can use in salads, pestos, teas, and tinctures.

The flavor of borage leaves is very close to cucumber - a fuzzier, less crunchy version. Remembering my mother's raita, which combined grated cucumber with whole plain yogurt, I made this little dip:

In a small food processor or with a stick blender, combine 3/4 cup finely chopped borage leaves and stems (set the flowers aside) with a big glug of olive oil and half a garlic clove. Pulse until leaves resemble a rough pesto, and mix with with one cup of full fat, plain yogurt (Greek works too),  1 Tbs VERY finely chopped red onion or shallot and a pinch of salt -- mix well. 

For an added twist, you could add 1/4 cup finely chopped herbs - dill, parsley, cilantro, or any combination of the three would be nice.

Top the dip with a swirl of good olive oil and a sprinkle of the borage flowers. Enjoy with curry or as a dip for bread.