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 | Moong Hummus with Burnt Chillies | Dip

Day 10



While I love my daals (lentils), Green Gram was never a favourite. Rather I always seem to shy away from it and my mother would always be after my case for running away from the green moong, listing down all its health benefits in one breath…every single time !!




So finally here I am, with a win win situation…. she can’t complaint, and now neither can I. Green Gram Hummus doesn’t taste anything like the way green gram daal does. It is creamy and full of flavour and super healthy !!



Now that I’ve been making various types of hummus, I realise that a hummus-n-pita with some relish type of breakfast is one of the most satiating breakfasts and I seem to be gorging on these atleast 3 times a week. I love it !!

Oh by the way May 13 was International Hummus Day !! 🙂
Though for my most days can be hummus days.



Moong Hummus with Burnt Chillies



Ingredients


2 cups cooked Green Gram

1 tsp Tahini

3 Cloves Garlic

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt to taste 

2 tbsp Olive Oil


For Tempering

1 Tsp Chilli flakes

1 tbsp Olive Oil

1/2 tsp Oregano



Directions

1. Blitz in a food processor, all the ingredients besides the ones for tempering.

2. Once a smooth creamy texture is achieved, transfer in a serving dish.

3. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan, add chilli flakes and just when they are about to burn, add the oregano and remove from flame. Pour over the hummus. 

4. Give it a light stir and serve.


Happy Hummus Days !!

Condiment Series | Baba Ghanoush | Dip

Day 8

From the chimichurri of South America I’m back to the middle east. Today it is Baba Ghanoush made from the humble eggplant.



This smoky dip is a favourite of the Arabs and is often eaten with khubz or pita bread. Traditionally baba ghanoush would have other added vegetables like onions and tomatoes, though over a period of time and influences from other regions, it has come to be known in the avatar as we know it today – A smooth silky creamy dip full of flavour.

The Arabs called the today’s version of Baba Ghanoush as Mutabbal. Though in regions like Egypt and Turkey it is known as Baba Ghanoush only.


Traditionally, the eggplant is roasted on open fire, though you can roast it in your oven as well.
In the recipe that I’m sharing here, the eggplant is roasted on open fire on the stove top. Make it a day or two in advance and you’ll see that it tastes better. The flavours need to mature, hence some resting time is a good idea.


Baba Ghanoush – The peculiar smoky tangy dip !!

Ingredients

2 medium sized eggplants
1 tbsp of Tahini
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
2 cloves Garlic minced.
1 tsp Chilli flakes
Salt to taste
4-5 tbsp Olive Oil

Directions

1. Fire roast the eggplants. I like the smoky flavour so let it roast a tad bit longer. (each should take about 15 minutes). Let it cool to room temperature and peel of the skin.

2. Mash the roasted eggplant with the spoon and transfer into the blender. Add the tahini, minced garlic, lemon juice, chilli flakes, olive oil and salt. Blitz.

3. Once well blended, transfer to the serving dish. Garnish with your choice of fresh herb like cilantro or parsley or mint . Pour a spoon or two of olive oil.

4. Serve with bread.

Condiments | Tzatziki | Dip

This is Day 6.


Today it is Tzatziki. An authentic Greek Dip. This tangy refreshing summer dip compliments grilled meats beautifully. Serve it with the main course or just as a dip with appetizers for a party, it is a winner. Binge on it guilt free as it is not rude to your waistline.  
This complex sounding dip is actually made with really simple ingredients, all readily available in our kitchen cabinets.



Tzatziki

Ingredients

1 cup Hung Curd
1 small cucumber or 1/2 a large cucumber (preferably seedless)
2 cloves Garlic finely minced.
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Lemon Juice
1 tbsp minced fresh Dill
1/2 tsp Salt


Directions

1. Whisk the hung curd nicely till no lumps are visible and the curd has a smooth flowy consistency.

2. Grate the cucumber, and drain through a muslin cloth. There should be no water in the grated cucumber.

3. Combine, hung curd, cucumber, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and salt in a big bowl. Whisk well and refrigerate for 2 hours. This needs resting time. The flavours mature and it tastes a lot better. Try not to have it instantly. (If this get a tad too tangy for you, add 1’2 teaspoon of honey or powdered sugar). 

4. Transfer in serving bowl and garnish with dill leaves. Serve chilled.


Condiment Series | Caramelized Onion & Hung Curd Dip | Dips

The perfect sweet and sour balance – The sweetness of the caramelized onions and the tangy hung curd !!
I’m a big fan of onion dip and more so the caramelized onions. It usually is very difficult for me to resist the temptations to just polish off the onions before I add them to the dip. You can make an entire batch and store in the refrigerator. This way the onion dip takes only a few minutes to put together. It’s well matched with chips, diet chips, nachos or chicken nuggets. (These are my favourites, you can of course serve the way you like)

Caramelised onions also are amazing when added to meat sauces.
Coming back to the dip, it is a party favourite with friends literally digging their fingers in 🙂

Hung Curd Caramelized Onion Dip

Ingredients

200g Hung Curd
3 Red Onions
1 tbsp Cider Vinegar
2 tsp Cooking Oil
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
Freshly ground Black Pepper
Salt to Taste



Directions

1. Finely chop the onions.

2. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the onions and cook till they start browning. This should take about 8-10 minutes. Keep the flame medium, you don’t want those onions to become very dark at this stage.

3. After about 10 minutes,  add in salt, sugar and vinegar. Make sure at any point in time the onions do not catch at the bottom of the pa. If you see that to start to happen you can give it a light splash of water and lower the flame, then increase it again. You need to cook the onions till the onions reduce in volume and are completely cooked through and have a glaze.

4. Once onions are done. Remove from heat and let it cool down to room temperature. You can always make a stock of caramelized onions and store in the refrigerator for upto a month.

5. Once the onions have completely cooled down, whisk the hung curd, add the salt, black pepper and the caramelized onions. Mix it well.

6. Serve.

Condiment Series | Parsley-n-Garlic Dip | Dip

With hung curd in my hand, I feel like a magician !! Really you can turn it around in so many different ways. Over time it has become my favourite ingredient. I use it for dips, for desserts, for kebabs, for marination and many more…
Hung curd makes the most amazing dips. 





The Parsley-Garlic Dip is a delicately flavoured one. Parsley like the way it looks also has a bright sharp flavour and works as an enhancer to any dish. 
The best way to use parsley is to dip it in warm water for just 10 seconds, rid the leaves of excess moisture and chop. The flavours of Parsley are enhanced once dipped in warm water. However never cut and dip in warm water. It should always be dipped in warm water and then chopped finely.



Parsley Garlic Dip

Ingredients

1 cup Hung Curd
2 cloves of Garlic
a small bunch of Parsley ( when chopped 2-3 tbsp)
Salt to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper

Directions

1. Whisk the hung curd.

2. Finely chop parsley.

3. Mince the garlic.

4. Add parsley, minced garlic salt and pepper to the hung curd. Mix well to blend all ingredients.

5. Transfer in the serving dish, garnish with a sprig of parsley and serve.



Condiment Series | Piri Piri Hummus | Dip

It almost sounds strange to call Hummus a dip, though technically speaking it is one.
I’ve earlier done a post on hummus which was a basic recipe. Here I’m writing about another variant of the basic, The Piri Piri Hummus. You can let your imagination run wild and experiment with various ingredients and flavours that can be added to hummus.




Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip, now with more and enough added flavours. The perfect accompaniment to Pita. The mild flavour of rosemary and the punch of piri piri is a treat to your taste buds.
This too makes an excellent base for a sandwich or a crostini. It is my favourite dressing for a wrap or an open sandwich. It’s guilt free and superbly delicious ! I have actually completely done away with using butter or mayonnaise in my wraps and sandwiches. Though I will share my home made mayonnaise recipe for those occasional indulgences in my coming posts. 🙂


Piri Piri Hummus

Ingredients

2 cups Boiled Chickpeas
1 tbsp Tahini
Juice of 1 Lemon
3-4 cloves Garlic
6-7 Peri-Peri Red Chillies
1 tsp Dried Rosemary
1/2 Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt to Taste

For Tempering
Olive Oil
Chilli Flakes


Directions

1. In a food processor, add the boiled channas or chickpeas, tahini paste, garlic cloves, lemon juice, piri-piri chillies, rosemary and salt. Blitz.

2. While the processor is running add the olive oil in a thin stream. Blitz till all ingredients are well blended. 

3. Remove from the processor, transfer in a serving bowl.

4. Prepare the tempering by heating the olive oil in a pan. Add the chilli flakes and let then just burn. As soon as they become dark and the aroma rises, temper the hummus. 

5. Garnish with parsley leaves and serve.

Ridiculously Simple but Awesomely Delicious Pasta


So I came across this ridiculously simple pasta recipe on the Donna Hay show the other day, and because of its simplicity I had to try it… and for the same reason share it with you all.
It’s so simple that it doesn’t even have a name 🙂 Though the recipe ROCKS !!

Its perfect for those days when your fridge is empty of all veggies (which happens to me more often than not) or one of those nights when you are back from work and just don’t wanna make an elaborate dinner cutting chopping vegetables, nor order out (that too happens with me very often :P)
While it’s fun to painstakingly cook from scratch but I think we all need such quick-cheat’s- go-to recipes in our repertoire. 
KJ liked it so much, he was willing I cooked it for some of our guests. 
A delicious recipe surely doesn’t have to be complicated. Routine cupboard ingredients beautifully fix a meal.

The perfect accompaniment: A glass of white wine.   


Ingredients:

Penne Pasta 250g (or any other pasta of your choice)

Brown Bread Slices 4

Sun Dried Tomatos 5-6 pieces

Olive Oil

Parsley  or any other fresh herb

Directions:

1. Boil Pasta.

2. While the pasta is boiling put the bread slices in the food processor and pulse coarsely.

3. Cut the sun dried tomato into small pieces.

4. Take a pan, add 2 tsps of olive oil ( here I used the olive oil in which the sun dried tomatoes are soaked) saute` and toast the crumbled bread and sun dried tomatoes, till the crumbs become a little crisp. 

5. The pasta should’ve boiled in the mean time. Drain in a colander.

6.Once drained properly, transfer in a bowl, add a little extra virgin olive oil, now add the bread crumb- sun dried tomato mixture. Season with black pepper. Give it a toss. 

7. Finish with a few sprigs of parsley. Serve.


Note:- There is a lot more that you can do or add to this. You could add bacon, ham, olives, parmesan cheese etc.


Happy Cooking !!

Hummus with Pita Bread

When it comes to Hummus and Pita Bread it is hard to decide who is the star !!!
They both deliciously compliment each other and are a perfect company for any party.

Recently at a family get together the host had served Hummus with Pita bread amongst some other unstoppably mouth watering snacks; and since then, I’ve not been able to get this Middle Eastern dip and flat bread out of my mind. I knew my restlessness will only rest once I’ve made my own.

Another first for me….. The pangs of imperfection were at their best till the Pita Bread was safely out of my oven. Breads always do this to me….. we have a love-hate relationship. I’m always so so anxious till my breads come out of the oven.
The recipe is a complete winner, I must say !! We now say good buy to store bought Pita….

This duo was an instant hit with the family with bottles of homemade Hummus and batches of Pita Bread being rotated around. It also makes a lovely gift from your kitchen…

Hummus

Ingredients

300 g Chickpeas

2 tbsp Tahini

4 cloves of Garlic

Salt to taste

4 tbsp Olive Oil

Juice of 1 lemon (you could increase it or decrease it as per preference)

More Olive for garnishing

Paprika

Directions

1. Soak Chickpeas over night. Boil and drain, saving a little water to add for blending.

2. In a food processor, add the boiled chickpeas, tahini, garlic, salt and olive oil. Blend till all ingredients are well incorporated with each other and the result is a smooth paste.

3. Transfer in the serving dish, dribble with olive oil and garnish with paprika. Serve.

Humus though is commonly considered a Lebanese dish today, its origin is considered to be from Egypt. You can play around with the flavour….make it more lemony or garlicy or may be a more over powering flavour of tahini ….as your palette likes.

Pita Bread

Recipe adapted from Chef in Disguise

Ingredients

1 package (about  2  ½ teaspoons)  Dry Yeast
½ cup Warm Water
1 teaspoon Granulated Sugar
1 tablespoon Honey
4 to 4 ½  cups All-purpose Flour
2 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Salt
3 tablespoon Dry Milk 
1 ½ cup Lukewarm Water

Directions

Preparing Pita bread dough
1. Proof the yeast by mixing it with the ½ cup of lukewarm water and sugar. Wait for the yeast to foam and bubble.
2. In a bowl add the flour, salt and powdered milk then drizzle the olive oil and honey.
Using your fingertips rub the oil and honey into the flour, mixing all the other ingredients in the process. Keep rubbing the flour until the oil and honey is completely taken up by the flour.
3. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the yeast water mix and gradually 1 cup of warm water.
4. Using a wooden spoon (if you are doing this by hand) or the  hook attachment if doing this in a stand mixer, stir to form a dough.
5. Take the dough out of the bowl or mixer and place on a floured surface.
6. Add the rest of the water slowly and knead with your hands to get a better feeling of the dough.
7. Continue kneading until the dough becomes soft, smooth and elastic ( this takes about 5-7 min.)
A tip that will get you smoother dough is to left the dough and slam it on the table 7-10 times as you knead it.
8. Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough in it, lightly coat it with oil and cover the bowl with a damp clean towel.
9. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place until it doubles in size – usually an hour and a half (the time required depends on how hot it is where you are). 

10. When the dough doubles in size, punch it down and then pinch out 10-12 small pieces, depending on the size you like your pita.
11. Place balls on floured surface. Let sit covered with a damp clean towel for 10- 15 minutes.
12. Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles, 3-4 mm in thickness
13. Place circles of dough on a flat board or a table, covered  with dry cloth and then place a clean damp cloth over the dough discs and allow them to rest for 10 minutes.
Baking Pita bread
1. In the meantime, Preheat oven to 270 C or to the highest temperature your oven will go.
2. Place the rack at the very bottom of oven or better yet take it out all together and place your baking sheet directly on the oven floor.
Preheating your baking sheet is an essential step to get your bread to puff up perfectly. If you have a pizza stone you can use that to make pita bread but again you need to get it good and hot before you start baking bread.
3. Gently place your dough discs on the preheated baking sheet, make sure that you place the dough flat on the baking sheet, any wrinkles will prevent the bread from puffing up and once you place the dough you will not be able to move it, it will stick to the baking sheet until the bottom is baked.
4. Bake each batch for 2-5 minutes till the bread puffs up, when they do flip the dough on the other side and bake for 1-2 more minutes.
Using a spatula remove the puffed pita bread from the baking sheet and out of the oven, serve hot or  cover with a clean dry towel till the bread cools down.
If you leave the pita bread uncovered as it cools it will become dry and crusty
5. When the bread cools place it in your storage bags.
Storing Pita bread
Fresh pita bread will keep in a bag at room temperature for 2-5 days. In the freezer it will keep in good condition for up to a month. Just take the amount you need out of the freezer and warm on your stove top or in the oven for a minute or two.
Serve it with Hummus or any other choice of dip.
Make sandwiches of the pita pockets. (The open up beautifully)
Happy Baking !!