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Dig Into Dips!

These accompaniments by Umm-e-Ismael are a surefire way to add that little extra something to your meals.

Just as a crown is the final touch in a king’s ensemble, dips and chutneys enhance and complete food, be they main meals or snacks. French fries, samosas, roast chicken, curries – all require that special condiment to enrich the taste and make the meal whole. Here I present a variety of dips to suit every palate, ranging from the very spicy to those on the mild side, from the sweet to the tangy and sour.

 

Note: All chutneys must be stored in a glass jar in the fridge and served cold.

 

 

 

Green Chutney
Try this chutney in Ramadhan with samosas and turnovers. For a sweet version, pour some in a bowl and mix some tomato sauce into it.

 

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Ingredients
• 10 green chillies, stems removed
• Juice of 1-2 lemons, depending on how tangy you like your chutney
• Salt to taste
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• Bunch of coriander, washed and chopped roughly
• ¼-½ bunch mint, washed and leaves separated from stems

 

Method
Add all ingredients to blender and blitz on high. Add a tablespoon of water little by little if ingredients are not blending easily. Store in jar.

Variation 1: Add ¼ cup yoghurt to above ingredients before blending.
Variation 2: Add one small tomato to above ingredients.

 

 

Carrot Chutney
This sweet chutney complements any dish it is served with.

 

Ingredients
• 1 kg carrots, washed and grated
• 3 ½ cups sugar
• 1 cup vinegar
• 1 ½ tsp pureed ginger
• 1 ½ tsp pureed garlic
• 4 tsp red chilli powder
• Salt to taste
• 2 tsp cumin powder
• 4 tsp garam masala
• 1 1/3 cups raisins, optional

 

Method
Place grated carrots in the sun for 30 – 60 minutes to draw out moisture. Put ginger and garlic in muslin cloth and squeeze out juice. Discard the residue and keep the juice. Mix sugar with vinegar in a large pot over medium heat and boil until sugar dissolves. Add carrots, ginger and garlic juice, and the remaining ingredients except raisins. Simmer until liquid has evaporated. Add raisins and simmer until the carrots are completely dry. Remove from heat and cool. Transfer the contents of the pot into a sterilised jar, cover with lid and leave it to mature for 2 days.

 

 

 

Plum Chutney
Sweet and tart, this chutney is delectable with all dishes from the Indian subcontinent. However, it would complement any cuisine.

 

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Ingredients
• 1-1½ cups dried plums
• 1 cup tamarind pulp
• 1 cup sugar
• 10 almonds, blanched and roughly chopped
• 2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
• 10 whole red chillies
• 1 tsp nigella or black cumin seeds
• ½ cup vinegar
• Salt to taste

 

Method
Soak plums in hot water in a pot until soft. Mash with potato masher or fork. Add the rest of the ingredients except salt and simmer on a low heat. When chutney has thickened, take off heat. Taste and add salt as needed. Let cool till room temperature. Refrigerate.

 

 

Date Chutney
This sweet and sour chutney is one even children enjoy if it’s not too spicy – adapt number of chillies to suit. Delicious served with pakoras in Ramadhan!

 

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Ingredients
• 250 g packet dates (or 25 dates)
• ½ cup vinegar
• 1 tsp garlic (optional)
• 2 tsp cumin seeds
• ¼ cup lemon juice
• Large bunch of coriander, washed and chopped roughly
• 5-8 green chillies, stems removed
• Salt to taste

 

Method
Remove pits from the dates. Add to a medium saucepan and pour in vinegar. Bring to boil, lower heat and cook until the dates are soft and vinegar has dried up. Watch this part carefully, they can easily burn. Cool. Add all ingredients to blender and blitz.

 

Mayonnaise Chutney
This chutney is delicious with every food imaginable, including omelettes! It’s also scrumptious as a sandwich spread.
Ingredients
• ½ cup mayonnaise
• 4 tbsp creamed cottage cheese (optional)
• 6 green chillies, stems removed
• 2-4 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
• Salt and black pepper to taste
• 2 cloves garlic (optional)
• ¼ – ½ bunch mint, chopped
• 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

 

Method
Blitz all ingredients in blender.

 

 

Umm-e-Ismaeel resides in Karachi, Pakistan. She is a certified ESL teacher and freelance writer; her work has been published in various magazines and e-zines. In her free time she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, socialising and spending time with her son.