Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Grilled Steak Pitas with Garlicky Raita

Cool, creamy, and tangy raita is the perfect condiment for pita sandwiches—and it couldn’t be easier to make: yogurt, minced or shredded cucumber, garlic, and salt, that’s it. Fresh, simple, and, yes, even good for you.

Grilled, lean steaks, a quick, fresh salad to top the pitas, and the raita are all you need to take this casual and inviting dinner to the table. I added a side of lemony homemade hummus and whole-wheat pita chips to round everything out.

Tip: Either purchase a seeded cucumber or easily seed your own. Peel a medium cucumber and cut it crosswise in half. Cut each half lengthwise into wedge-shaped quarters. Most of the seeds will be in the extended part of the wedge, so stand each piece on one end and slice off the seeded wedge:

Seeds removed
Also note: Many raitas are made with shredded cucumber. If you prefer that method, use the fine side of the grater to grate the cucumber onto a cutting board. It will be very watery and mushy. Gather the grated cucumber into the center of the board and press with a few layers of paper towels. Repeat two or three times, until most of the water has been absorbed:
Grated, Dried Cucumber
If you chop the cucumber, as in this recipe, be sure to mince it very finely so that it blends into the yogurt without having larger chunks:

Finely Chopped Cucumber

Serves 4

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup very finely chopped (minced) peeled, seeded cucumber
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • sea salt
  • 1 cup small-diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp dried Italian herb mix (or dried oregano)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • 2 8-oz strip steaks, about 3/4-inch thick
  • 2 6-inch pitas (with pockets), cut into 4 pocket halves
Salad Ingredients
Pita Pockets
  1. Place the yogurt in a small bowl. Add the cucumber and garlic and season with salt. Stir well to combine. Cover and chill until ready to use (may be chilled overnight).
  2. Combine the tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, parsley, lemon juice, and dried herbs in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Salad Mixture
  1. Heat a grill pan (or prepare a grill) for medium-high heat and brush lightly with olive oil.  Season the steaks with salt and pepper and grill 5-6 minutes per side (or until desired degree of doneness).
  2. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 3 minutes. Cut each steak into thin, diagonal slices.
Steaks Ready to Grill 
Steaks Beginning to Grill 
After Turning
Sliced Steaks
Divide the steak among the pita pockets and dollop each with raita. Top with the tomato salsa and pass remaining raita and salsa at the table.

Grilled Steak Pitas with Garlicky Raita


  1. Hi Pamela, this sounds fantastic, I love a good raita! Thanks so much for sharing at What'd You Do This Weekend?! I love and want to make all of your recipes and look forward to what you'll bring this week :)

    1. Thanks so much, Joy. I'll be there Monday!