Condiment Series | Capsicum-n- Celery Dip | Dip


I recently did a series of 30 days 30 dips and it was a huge success. I loved it and people, my readers loved it too. This is a dip which was supposed to be a part of that series but it left me in two minds so I skipped it at that time, however after all these dips, this particular dips still remains close to my heart.


Capsicum-n-Celery Dip, this is where it all started. After this there was no stopping me. When I started making my own dips at home for parties a few years back, this was one of the first dips I made. To my surprise then, it was an absolute winner. 
Capsicum in my mind is the only vegetable equivalent to a herb…. as fresh and as fragrant !! It has the ability to add that extra zing to a dish.


This is a simple dip where, I not just use the celery stem, but also the leaves. The celery leaves have a much stronger spicy fragrance. You would need to chop the leaves really fine though. 

Serve this with whatever. It’s a crowd pleaser, the bowls are wiped clean 🙂

Capsicum-n-Celery Dip




Ingredients

1/2 cup Quark or Hung Curd

1/4 cup cold milk

1 small Capsicum, finely chopped

1 clove of Garlic, minced

1 stem and leaves of Celery finely chopped

1/2 tsp Black Pepper

Salt to taste

Direction

1. Whisk the quark till absolutely smooth and creamy. Add the milk and whisk some more.

2. Now add the capsicum, garlic and celery. Mix well. Add the salt and pepper. Give it another stir till everything is well blended. If you find the dip a little thick, add a little more cold milk.

3. Transfer in a serving dish and serve with your choice of appetizer.

Happy Dipping !!




Condiment Series | Harissa | Dip

Day 28

Harissa for the brave heart or err…. for the brave tongue !!!


This is a Tunisian Hot Chili Peppers Sauce, but now making inroads into the Moroccan Cuisine. It is a combination of various types of chillies. Both fresh and dried. Traditionally Harissa uses roasted red peppers, serrano peppers and other hot chilli peppers. however the recipe goes on evolving according to the region you are in, and the availability of the the types of peppers. Actually not just the region, it varies from household to household too. Some like it smooth as a paste, some like is coarse, and some like a specific variety of chilli flavour more than the others.

Harissa works as a hot sauce, a dip or a marinade. If you are someone who can handle a tad bit of spiciness then go ahead try it in all its pureness as a dip or else, mix it with cream cheese, or honey or mayo as you like it. We at home can handle that kind spice though I like to use another dip or spread as a base and use the harissa as a garnish.

 

Harissa

Ingredients

1 Red Bell Peppers

2 Fresh whole red chillies (the fat varieties – the ones used for pickles)

2 Dried Kashmiri Deghi Mirchi ( the thin crinckled chile, deep red in colour)

2 Dried  Tarvati (the thin smooth dried red chilli with a bright red colour)

1 Dried Reshampatti chillies ( the dried fat chilli with a thick fleshy skin)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup Boiling Water

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tbsp Olive Oil



Directions

1. Put all the dried chillies in hot water and let it soak for 20 minutes, till they soften. Reserve the cilli water.

2. Once the chiles are softened, put them in a blender along with the fresh chillies, red bell peppers, salt, garlic and lemon juice. Blitz till you get a smooth puree`. If it looks a little too thick for your liking, add the reserved chilli water to thin it down a bit.

3. Now slowly dribble the olive oil and blitz a little more.

4. Transfer in a jar and refrigerate or use immediately.


Serving suggestions

– Mix with mayonnaise
– Mix with hung curd
– Serve as it is

Spice it up !!

Condiment Series | Soya Granules Dip | Dip

Day 27


This actually, originally was made by my mum as a sandwich spread ! That too of the leftover soya granules. She transformed the cooked ‘nutri sabji’ into an amazing sandwich dip and surprised all of us one fine morning for breakfast. This dip is an inspiration from that spread !!

Though of course this recipe is tweaked as per my taste and sensibility and is not made from leftovers.

The granules lend a very interesting texture to the dip. It is again healthy and not so bad for your waistline.
It of course can be used as a spread in sandwiches but otherwise goes well with crackers, pita, salted toasties etc.



Soya Granules Dip





Ingredients

1/2 cup Soya Granules (washed and soaked in water for 20 minutes)

1 small Capiscum finely chopped

1 small Onion finely chopped

2 cloves of Garlic, minced

For the White Sauce

1 tbsp Butter

1 tbsp Flour

1 cup Milk

1/2 tsp Pepper 

Salt to taste



Directions

1. Take a pan pour, 1 tbsp oil and saute` the garlic and onions till they sweat. Add the capsicum, saute` for another minute.

2. Now add the soya granules and season with salt. Mix well and saute for another 3-4 minutes.  Remove from the flame and let it cool down.

3. Take another pan, melt the butter, add the flour and saute` till an aroma rises. Keep stirring and make sure that the roux doesn’t change colour. 

4. Turn the flame down and add the milk in two batches, whisking well continuously. Make sure there are no lumps. 

5. Once you get a smooth sauce consistency and the sauce coats the back of the spoon, add the salt and pepper and mix well.  

6. Now add the cooked soya granules and mix well so that it blends well with the sauce. 

7. Transfer in a serving dish and serve warm with toasties or crackers.

Happy Dipping !!


Condiment Series | Homemade Herbed Mustard | Dip

Day 25


Mustard !! We all have our own tastes and preferences. I buy three different types of mustard at home. While KJ likes mustard to be creamy more like a Dijon Mustard, I like the Classic English Mustard with my sandwiches or burgers, and then I use Kasundi for my salads, marinades, dressings etc. 


And now I have the fourth type that I made at home.
So apparently making mustard at home is simple and you can play around with it, as you like. I learnt it recently only !! I never knew making mustard was that simple. It’s fun actually !! 



So here, the mustard I’ve made is a milder version of the various types readily available with the addition of herbs. I’d suggest let it sit for 2-3 days and the flavours intensify. I’ve used yellow mustard seeds, you can follow the same procedure with a different variety of the seeds.

Homemade Herbed Mustard

Ingredients

2/3  cup (120gr) yellow mustard seeds
½ cup apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup water
2 Tbsp Fresh Thyme
1.5 Tbsp Rosemary
½ tsp chili flakes
½ tsp Salt
1 tsp honey 
¼ cup water at room temperature




Directions

1. Mix apple cider vinegar with water and add mustard seeds. Leave to soak for 2 to 3 days. The mustard seeds will absorb a lot of the liquid.

2. Put mustard mix in a blender, together with the rest of the ingredients, and blitz until you get a smooth consistency. If you think it’s too thick, add 2 tbsp of water at a time and continue to blend until you get it smooth.
3. Transfer into jars, leaving no air bubbles if you can, and keep covered in the fridge.

Notes

Mustard should keep well in the fridge, for up to few months.
This too makes as a good food gift ! Make bottles and gift to family and friends.

Happy Dipping !!




Condiment Series | Green Peas Hummus | Dip

Day 21


I’m back with yet another Hummus dish, this time Green Peas Hummus !! This is purely a vegetable hummus unlike my earlier ones.
I’ll be honest, I’m not someone who’s particularly fond of green peas, rather as a child I would run away from them. Now I have this delish way of eating these lovely beads. The Green Peas Hummus has a lovely texture and a vibrant fresh colour and very quick to make.


Like other hummus, this too is brilliant and healthy in wraps, on crostinis or to just have with crackers.

Green Peas Hummus



Ingredients

1 cup fresh or frozen Green Peas

A handful of green cilantro

2 cloves of Garlic

1 tbsp Tahini

1 tbsp Lemon Juice

1/4 tsp Cumin Powder

Salt to taste

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions

1. Boil the peas in some salted water. (This should take about 8-10 minutes). Do not cover the pan or the peas will become dull in colour.  Drain and cool the peas under cold water. Strain and keep aside.

2. In a food processor, blitz the boiled peas, tahini, garlic, cilantro, lemon juice, cumin powder and salt. Blitz till you get a coarse paste.

3. Add a little olive oil and blitz some more. You should now get a creamy texture.

4. Transfer in the serving dish, dribble some olive oil if you like and serve.

This stays happy in a refrigerator for up to a week.


Happy Cooking !!

Condiment Series | Salsa | Dip

Day 20


During the F1 season, every other sunday is Race Day at Home !! Beer in the chillers, a bowl of some dip and lots of chips and we vroooooooom…..

Yesterday was no different, only that Nachos replaced the chips and the dip was Salsa !!!! Homemade Salsa.



Salsa is Spanish for Sauce, and in english speaking countries is referred to sauces typical of Mexican Cuisine, known as Salsa Picante, particularly those used as dips. They are often tomato based, though many are not. They are typically piquant ranging from mild to hot. This recipe is a tomato salsa, not the mildest but surely you don’t have to be a brave heart for this !! I’d say it is pleasantly spicey !! 🙂

There are various methods of doing the salsa. Some people make it with raw tomatoes and some boil it. I like mine to be roasted. I feel it intensifies the flavours.




Roasted Tomato Salsa

Ingredients

750g fire-roasted tomatoes, drained if you like a thicker salsa

3 cloves Garlic, peeled
4-5 diced Green Chiles
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 Onion diced
1 jalapeno, stem removed (and seeded, if you want less heat)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. black pepper



Directions:

1. Preheat oven to the maximum heat for 10 minutes.

2. Cut the tomatoes and place them on a baking try cut side facing down. Roast for about 10-15 minutes till the tomato skin starts getting black spots. Remove from the oven and let it cool down to room temperature.

3. Once the tomatoes cool, remove the skin and discard. It comes off very easily.

4. In a food processor, pulse the tomatoes and all other ingredients until a coarsely ground. You can decide the consistency. I personally don’t like it completely smooth. 

5. Serve  with Nachos immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for upto 7 days.

Note:
You can of course adjust the chillies according to your preference.


Ole` Ole` !!

Condiment Series | Mast-O-Khiar | Dip

Day 19



You already know my love for hung curd !! These days my hot favourite cuisine is Middle Eastern so here is another hung curd dip…..completely aromatic and exotic !! Look at that name… Mast-O-Khiar, a Persian dip perfect to beat the summer heat !

What Tzatziki is to the Greeks, Mast-O-Khiar is to the Persians, only more aromatic and a tad sweet.
Traditionally this dish was always a side in Iranian meals, however it now has evolved into a crowd pleaser at parties in the form of a dip served with finger foods or leavened breads.



Mast-O-Khiar



Ingredients

1 cup Thick fresh yogurt chilled (I used hung curd, though hung only for 40 minutes)

1 small Cucumber peeled, deseeded and cubed

2 tbsp Walnuts toasted and crushed

1 tbsp Dried Cranberries chopped

1 tbsp Dried Rose Petals

5-6 Fresh Mint Leaves chopped finely

1 tbsp Fresh Dill Leaves chopped finely

1 clove Garlic minced

Salt to taste


Extra Virgin Olive oil to drizzle




Directions


In a mixing bowl, whisk the curd to a smooth consistency. 

Add the crushed garlic, salt, dill and mint. Mix well again.

Just before serving, add the cucumber along with the walnuts.

Mix well.

Garnish with rose petals, dried cranberries and a few pieces of walnut.

Drizzle that olive oil.

Serve with leavened breads or crackers.




Happy Cooking !!


Condiment Series | Caribbean Coconut Dip | Dip

Day 17


The Caribbean Coconut Dip is an inspiration from the famous Pina Colada, which happens to be one of my favourite cocktails ! A lovely sweet summer flavour, I had actually never imagined it as a dip !!



This is again a simple dip with the native produce of the caribbean – Pineapple and Coconut.
 Incidentally Pina Colada is the national drink of Puerto Rico and legend has many a tale to tell. It is said that in the early 19th century a pirate named Roberto Cofresi, to boost the morale of his crew offered them a drink which contained coconut, pineapple and white rum !! With his death, the pina colada was lost, until later in 1954, Ricardo Gracia, a Caribe Hilton employee claimed to have invented it.



Anyway coming back to this dip, it has a tangy sweetness and can be put together very quickly. Serve with a savoury dish and the sweetness to the dip comes as a refreshing surprise. (One generally doesn’t expect a sweet dip).

My father and KJ could lap it up in case we ran out of desserts at home 😀


Caribbean Coconut Dip



Ingredients


1 cup of Hung curd

1/3 cup of Dessicated Coconut

2 Slices of Canned Pineapple

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsps of the canned pineapple syrup


For garnish

1 tbsp Walnuts coarsely chopped

1 slice of canned pineapple finely chopped



Directions

In a blender, blend together the hung curd, dessicated coconut and the pineapple. 

Add the syrup and the salt.


Transfer in the serving dish. 

Garnish with walnuts and chopped pineapple.

Serving suggestions: With Chicken Nuggets, Cutlets, Kebabs.

Happy Dipping !!

Condiment Series | Sundried Tomato Pesto | Dip

Day 16


Mostly when we hear of Pesto we only think of the traditional basil pesto, but remember Pesto is anything that is pounded !! 
If you like sundried tomatoes you’ll love this pesto. The flavours are so rich and so intense.

Basil and Tomato is another marriage made in heaven ! The earthy sweetness of basil and the tangy tomatoes is pure bliss and as Italian as it can get 🙂 

I love sun dried tomatoes and when in a hurry or when the sun is not strong enough, I oven dry them. You do get readymade sun dried tomatoes, but here in India they are super expensive compared to making your own. And then of course, nothing beats the pleasure of making from scratch your own batch of these flavourful chewy sun dried tomatoes.

I will share the recipe of sundried tomatoes in my next series (very soon…)

For now it is the sun dried tomato pesto. 
Again use this as a dip / relish for your chips or use it in pasta or spread it on a toast…you have many options.



Sundried Tomato Pesto

Ingredients

10 whole sundried tomatoes or a cup full
4 cloves of Garlic
1/2 cup blanched Almonds
a handful of fresh Basil
2 tsps Sugar
1 small dry red chilli 
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste


Directions

Combine everything in the food processor and blitz ! I like to keep this pesto a little coarse. You can make it more pasty if you like.  If it’s a little too tangy for you, you can increase the sugar.

Transfer in a bottle and store in the refrigerator.

Serve as you like !!


Note:

If you have sundried tomatoes soaked in oil, the same oil can be used to make the pesto. 

Condiment Series | Egyptian Beetroot Dip | Dip

Day 14


Egyptian Beetroot Dip  – why is this called so, even I don’t know !! 

The recipe shows influences from the middle east and we know for a fact, that the flavours in the cuisines from Egypt and the Middle East are overlapping. This is probably egyptian and not lebanese, because of the use of spices. Egyptians are known to use spices heavily in their food. Usually one finds variants of the similar lebanese dishes in Egypt but with additions of more fragrances and aromas in the form of spices.



This dip is my ‘show-off’ dip’ :D. It is a perfect party enhancer. Make this, serve with crackers or soup -sticks along with the drinks and your party begins….What I like about such dips is that they are delicious, light, guilt free and look absolutely exotic !! Look at that colour…. 



Egyptian Beetroot Dip

Ingredients

2 large Beetroots
4 cloves of Garlic
1/3 cup of plain yoghurt
1 heaped tsp of Cumin seeds
1 tsp of Coriander seeds
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil
Toasted Pistachios, roughly chopped for garnish



Direction

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree C. Wrap the beetroots in foil and roast in the oven for 40-50 minutes.
2. When the last 10 minutes are left throw in the garlic and let it roast as well. Let the beetroot cool down, then peel the skin off.

3. While the beetroot is roasting, take a small frying pan and dry roast the cumin and coriander seeds, till aroma rises. Remove from the flame and grind to a fine powder.

4. Roughly chop the beetroots, put in the food processor and add all the other ingredients besides the olive oil and pistachios. 

5. Blitz in the processor till well blended and a smooth paste is formed. Transfer in the serving dish, dribble some olive oil and pistachios for garnish.

6. Serve with crackers or any other finger food of your choice.