We can’t get enough of dips. It’s the perfect way to transform a humble vegetable from dull crudité to purveyor of taste sensation in every bite. Our top dip tips? Cut your dipping implements fairly short so there’s less double dipping temptation. And have napkins on standby for the inevitable dip drippage. Try saying that after a long night!
Yes, it’s fiddly, but baba ganoush is so moreish that it has to be worth the effort.
- 2 large aubergines
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp chopped mint leaves
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley leaves
- Extra virgin olive oil
Completely char the aubergines on a barbecue, turning regularly, until they are so soft they’re collapsing. When they’re cool enough to handle, separate the flesh from the skin. Discard the skin. Put the flesh in a clean tea towel, twist the top and squeeze out the excess liquid.
Mix the aubergine flesh with the garlic, mint and the juice of the lemon, mashing the flesh to as smooth a consistency as you like. Season generously, then add enough olive oil to make a scoopable dip. Serve with torn flat breads.
Muhammara is a hot pepper dip originally from Aleppo, Syria, found in Levantine and Turkish cuisines. It’s perfect with meze!
- 4 red peppers
- 75g bread crumbs
- 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 2 tsp cumin seeds, ground
- 2 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 70g walnuts
- Olive oil
Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Line a baking tray with silicon or greaseproof paper. Put the peppers on the tray whole and bake for ½ hour or so until they are completely soft. Transfer the peppers into a freezer bag, tie the top and set aside until they’re cool enough to handle. Peel the skin and discard. Discard the seeds.
Put the pepper flesh into a food processor with any juice from the peppers that has come out in the baking tray or freezer bag, the breadcrumbs, pomegranate molasses, ground cumin, chilli, garlic and walnuts with a generous seasoning of salt. Pulse until almost but not completely smooth. Alternatively, chop the walnuts by hand and pound the ingredients in a pestle and mortar. Stir in enough olive oil to give a scoopable texture, and check for seasoning. You may want to add a little lemon juice or more pomegranate molasses, depending on how sweet the peppers were. Serve with flat breads, bread sticks or baked sweet potato wedges.
This dip translates as ‘hot bath’ from it’s native Italian, and is usually served warm and consumed like a fondue – yum!
- 4 cloves garlic, grated
- 8 anchovy fillets, chopped
- 150ml milk
- 50ml double cream
- 50g butter
- 150ml olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
Put the garlic, anchovies and milk in a small pan and heat gently until the anchovies are melting and the garlic is soft. Mash the garlic and anchovies into the milk then stir in the butter and oil. Allow the butter to melt then stir in the cream.
This needs to be kept warm so it doesn’t solidify, so if you can set it in a bowl over a candle without setting fire to anything, all well and good. Serve with lots of fresh crunchy raw vegetables to dip. Chicory, peppers and fennel work particularly well.
Probably the most well-known of all the South-East Asian condiments, this sauce can be made to taste. Like a kick? Add a bit more chilli. Want to make it child-friendly? Leave a few out.
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 4 chillies, chopped
- 100ml rice wine vinegar
- 100g caster sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
Mix the cornflour with around 3 tablespoonsful of cold water, then mix all the other ingredients together. Finally, add another 3 tablespoonsful of water. Transfer the mixture to a small pan and heat gently for ten minutes or so until the chilli is tender and the sauce is thickened. Great with spring rolls, samosas or pakoras.