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 !!




Pomegranate Molasses | How To Series | Kitchen Hacks


A lot of times baking and even cooking various dishes, from around the world can be challenging especially in India, because of the lack of convenience of finding certain ingredients off the shelves. Either it is difficult to find them or if you find them then they are way too expensive or difficult to source consistently.  

The flip side to this is that we learn how to create these at home !! Isn’t that what love for cooking does to so many of us !! Honestly if I know my results are exact to what I can buy in the market, I anyday want to make a dish from scratch; so making such ingredients at home is only icing on cake :-). A few examples of such ingredients are Sour Cream, Half-n-Half, Tahini, a Carton of Buttermilk, Pomegranate Molasses, Sun Dried Tomatoes etc which are either not available or way too expensive.



I ran into one such issue when I was making Muhammara, a Turkish Dip. Pomegranate Molasses is a key ingredient to muhammara and I could not find it anywhere in my city, but I could not get my heart off this simple turkish accompaniment….I just had to make it at home…so with a little research I learnt how to make Pomegranate Molasses at home and voila…..it worked. Worked beautifully !! 🙂

So here goes the recipe for Pomegranate Molasses:



Ingredients

1 litre Pomegranate Juice (I used packaged juice. If you are using fresh juice increase the sugar content to 1 cup)
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tbsp Lemon Juice

Directions

1. Pour the pomegranate juice in a pan and set it on high heat. 

2. Add the sugar and keep stirring till the sugar melts.

3. Now add the lemon juice and continue to stir till the juice thickens into an almost jelly like consistency . The moment the juice coats the back of the spoon, turn off the gas. The molasses is ready.Basically that 1 l of juice should reduce to about 350 ml.

4. Let it cool down completely then transfer in a bottle and refrigerate. Use as required. This stays happy in the fridge for many months.


We learn something new everyday !! Cheers !!

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 | Sour Cream Onion Dip | Dip

Day 24


It’s here….the Sour Cream and Onion Dip !! Yummilicious and Simple !!
This is a super simple dip. Probably the simplest so far….. It’s best friends are salsa and guacamole if you like mexican !! Tastes heavenly with nachos or burritos or enchiladas or cornbread or tacos….oh ! the list is endless.
This is one dip that again goes with anything. I even love it with my seekh kebabs !! Yeah talk about fusion foods.


I often serve with ‘diet chips’. That’s what I call smart cooking or being a domestic goddess !! Put up something together so quickly which tastes yumm and leaves people wondering ‘how did she do this?’ 😛

Sour Cream and Onion Dip



Ingredients

1 cup of Sour Cream

2 Spring Onions finely chopped (including the green stems)

1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

1/2 tsp Salt

Directions

Whisk the sour cream. Add the onions, garlic powder and salt. Mix it well. Transfer in a serving bowl and serve.
Yes it’s that simple !!

Note:
I used homemade sour cream. (will share the recipe soon).
Bottled sour cream is readily available in supermarkets and cheese stores.


Happy Dipping !!




Condiment Series | Honey Mango Dip | Dip

Day 22


I’m on a dip roll these days and I must confess that while I have made a lot of them, many a times over, many dips are new to me. I’m learning them, making them, enjoying them as I go along my series of ’30days30dips’ !! And I’m loving it !! 

Like my father rightly said, this is the only way to get me to blog as often as I am doing now, otherwise I invariably get stuck in the rut of life and my blog takes a back seat. 
Guess what…..writing and religiously making a one dip like this everyday and hearing from so many friends is addictive !! Let’s hope I remain as dedicated and active with my blog as I am now, during this series. I promise I’ll try to with all my heart……



Generally in our minds, a dip means a savoury sauce !
What is a dip ? What is it’s purpose ? Essentially a dip is a dipping sauce in which one dunks their appetizer / finger foods before eating ! We have a dip along with our finger foods to add that extra punch of flavour then why not a sweet dip ! It works as well, sometimes even better !! 
Especially if it is a mayo based fresh fruit dip.

With the Mango season around, what better fruit could I choose for my fruit dip than the mango !! Yes it is a Fresh Mango dip which lends a completely new dimension to your appetizers. My personal favourites with this dip are chicken strips or bread sticks, though of course you can have it with whatever you like. 

Honey Mango Dip








Ingredients

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup fresh mango pieces

2 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves

1 tbsp honey

Pinch (small) curry powder

3-4 drops Tabasco


½ tsp fresh lemon juice










Directions

1. Blitz all ingredients in a blender till well blended.

2. Transfer in a serving dish and serve or bottle it and store in the refrigerator. It stays happy for up to a week.

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 | 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 | 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.



Condiment Series | Homemade Mayonnaise | Dip

Day 12


It is called the mother of all dips. Yes today I share the recipe of homemade Mayonnaise !
Homemade mayo is the best thing that can happen to anyone who loves mayonnaise. Since this is homemade with natural ingredients and preservative-free, keep in mind that the shelf life may not be as long as the store bought mayonnaise which is surely full of stabilizers and preservatives.

This should not worry you though, because it is the simplest thing to make. It takes precisely seven minutes to make this much quantity. 
You need to be careful while adding the oil as the slower you pour it better it emulsifies. To see mayo being made is almost magical !!

Here I’ve made this recipe with my regular cooking oil, you could however use olive oil if you like and also use mustard oil. If using mustard oil, remember to omit the mustard that is added separately in this recipe.

Mayonnaise can be eaten as it is …..use it with burgers, fries, soup sticks or add different herbs and other ingredients to change its flavour. No wonder it is called the mother of all dips as it beautifully adapts to various different flavours and tastes great on its own too.

Also if you want to omit mustard altogether you can do that as well. That will give you a pure white mayo unlike this creamy looking dip.

Homemade Mayonnaise

Ingredients

2 egg yolks (free range and very fresh eggs)
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard (I used Frenchie’s Mustard)
1 tsp salt
3 cloves of garlic crushed (optional. I added)
a pinch or 2 of sugar
black pepper 

500ml / 2 cups of oil (it can be olive oil, or your regular cooking oil)


Directions

1. In the food processor briefly blend the eggs, vinegar, lemon, garlic, sugar and mustard.
2. With the processor still running, slowly add the oil in a slow thin stream until it has all emulsified.
3. Check the taste and add the salt and pepper.

Store in a jar and refrigerate. 

Notes:
– This is a basic mayonnaise recipe. You can add different herbs and spices and change the flavour as you like.
– Store in refrigerator only. 
– You could replace red wine vinegar with regular white vinegar as well.


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.