Three dips to open the doors to Mediterranean cuisine

Flavours of Tigris combs together the street food of Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran. Here the chef whips up three dips that go well with the quintessential pita bread or even crackers. They can lift your starters also by a few notches. Muhammara is a rich dip, but low on calories and perfect to serve with breads (khubaz), pita and lavash. Tahina (Tahini) is a typical Mediterranean dip made from hung curd, while Babaganoush brings in the texture of coarse eggplant.

Muhammara

Ingredients

2 red bell pepper

1 clove of garlic

1 onion (small)

2 tbsp hot pepper paste

¾ bread crumbs (toasted)

150 gms walnut (ground)

3 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp pomegranate syrup

1 tbsp yoghurt

1-2 tsp cumin seeds (coarsely ground)

Salt to taste

150 ml olive oil

Turkish flat bread

Method

Roast peppers over the flame until the skin is blackened. Put it in a tightly closed paper bag for 10 minutes. Then remove the skin and seeds and mash the peppers in a food processor. Set aside. Mix it together with garlic, onion, hot pepper paste, bread crumb and walnut. When well mixed add lemon juice and pomegranate syrup. Add yogurt and cumin and salt to taste. Slowly add the olive oil and blend well. For a richer flavour make it a day ahead, it stays well in the refrigerator for about two days. Serve at room temperature on pieces of Turkish flat bread, pide, or plain crackers.

Babaganoush

Ingredients

2 kgs eggplant (round)

225 gms Tahina (Tahini) paste

Salt to paste

Pepper to taste

50 gms garlic (chopped)

15 gms parsley (chopped)

10 gms mint (chopped)

60 ml olive oil (extra virgin)

15 ml lime juice

Method

Oil the eggplants and roast them in clay oven or combination oven at 150 degree Celsius for 25 minutes or till they are well roasted. Cover the roasted eggplant with a kiln wrap for 30 minutes to soften the skin. Peel the eggplants and remove the excessive seed and chop them coarsely and then add garlic, parsley, mint, tahina paste, the seasoning and mix them all well. Add lime juice and cool it. Serve along with traditional pita bread.

Tahina dip

Ingredients

90 gms Tahina (Tahini) paste

250 gms hung curd

10 ml lime juice

30 ml olive oil (extra virgin)

30 ml cream (optional)

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Method

Take the hung curd in a bowl. Mix the tahina paste with salt, pepper, cream and lime juice. Finish it with olive oil.

Cool and serve cold.

Chef Anurudh Khanna, Executive Chef, The Park, is spearheading the Flavours of Tigris festival, on at Mist till November 28.

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