Monday, July 13, 2009

Of Starters and Dips....

As I have mentioned in a couple of my earlier posts, I dig starters and dips. There is something about those little nibbles, arranged daintily on toothpicks around the plate...picked up gently, twirled around in the dip and popped into the mouth...all the stages quite like a choreographed orchestra resulting in a gastronomical crescendo.

What is also amazing is that innumerable dips can be produced from some fairly basic and common place ingredients. My all time favorite is using hung curd/dahi as the base. I have tried several variations of it, mixed and matched the accompaniments. The result never fails to delight.

I share below some of the dips that I have tried in the recent past are:
  • Strawberry dip: Add pureed strawberry, black salt and a wee bit of sugar to hung curd, garnish with mint. Goes well with Salted Biscuits
  • Palak dip: Had this at a friend's place. Pureed and cooked spinach is added to hung curd. Add chat masala, bhuna jeera and salt to taste. She had served it with wafer( basic salted ones). Add some boiled american sweet corn, a dash of cheese and it would form a good canape topping
  • Mustard dip: Grind mustard, green chillies and a few pods of garlic to a fine paste. Add about a tablespoon of this to hung curd, add sugar( 1/4th of a tsp) and salt. I serve this with mustard potato( marinate boiled potato in a mustard curd marinade for a few hours, saute and serve along with the mustard dip). This dip would also go well as a topping for potato roundels, salted wafers, grilled prawns( lime juice, salt and pepper marinade) etc.
  • Basic hung curd dip: Add finely chopped garlic, finely chopped onions, finely chopped green chillies, sugar, salt, lime juice and pepper. This is typically seved with cucumber with skin/carrots or with sauted vegetables like mushroom, broccoli, carrots and beans.
  • Mango dip: I have made this with mayonnaise but I think it would do equally well with a hung curd base. Puree together two medium sized ripe mangoes, quarter cup of hung curd, quarter cup of chopped mint leaves, two tablespoons of pine nuts( expensive as an ingredient but add body to the dip and loads of taste). Then add salt and pepper to taste. You could serve this either on Krackjack/50-50 kind of bicuits or with cold cuts.
  • Mooli/Raddish Dip: Mooli Raitas are common, in fact a favorite of Lord Jagannath too( the original recipe being replaced by more fancier versions), this dip is actually an extension of the same. To hung curd add grated Mooli, Kashmiri red chilli powder, about a teaspoon full of Shah Jeera, salt to taste and you are done. Mooli has a strong, pungent taste so maybe one could use a combination of Mooli and gajar( carrots), would look more colourful too.
The best part about the dips is that you can serve them separately with the starters, use them as toppings, as fillings for salami/bread rolls, as sandwich spreads, even as a main course accompaniment with grilled chicken. So it is Dip! Dip! Dip! all the way....


  1. great stuff... my favourite dip is, err, at the risk of looking like a phillistine, tomato ketchup! i used to have a ton of my granny's parathas with a bowl of ketchup as a kid. Am still a sucker for good Ketchup. Heinz tomato chilly works for me

  2. hmmm! i am missing ur get togethers, the dips and starters already!!


  3. For me everytime I come across an interesting starter/dip idea I think it is a good enough reason to party!!
    Barbecue sauce also serves as a good dip. I have made a mediterranean chicken and served it as a starter, the sauce served as the dip

  4. SM.....I came here on a purely selfish motive. To befriend you and to get you to gift me a knife set (like the one u gave Knife) but once here I got so engrossed in your recipes that I forgot the knives (almost)!!!

    Awesome dip ideas here. Thanks for sharing, am now itching to try out some of these asap.