Take A Dip

Prachi Joshi

At any party, starters and appetizers are often as important as the mains and desserts. But most of the time, these starters are often deep fried nibbles or canapés (the shell is fried), or may be tried and tested options such as bruschetta or kebab platters. Try substituting these with some unusual dips at your next soirée… And no, we are not going to suggest boring old hummus! Here are some ideas for interesting new dips.

Cheesy Does It

Blue cheese dip is not for the faint-hearted! It’s true that blue cheese is an acquired taste (and smell), but this is one dip that will be a sure-fire hit, especially with barbequed chicken wings. For vegetarians, pair it with sweet potato chips and beetroot chips. Another interesting herby, spicy dip would be a combination of cream cheese, chopped chives and cracked pink peppercorns (with salt to taste, of course).

Relish the Taste

All dips don’t need a cream cheese base. You can try making different chutneys and relishes that will work just as well, with accompaniments such as nacho chips, pita bread, lavash and grissini (bread sticks).

The caramelized red onion relish is one such simple dish. Gently cook sliced onions on a low heat for about 20 minutes, add brown sugar and balsamic vinegar, season to taste and simmer for 30 minutes, or till the relish thickens.

This sweet and tangy relish can be served with grilled meats or veggies, or in mini burgers (sliders).

Go Healthy

For the health-conscious, making low fat dips is quite easy. The rule of the thumb is that you can swap out the cream cheese or mayonnaise from the recipe and replace with Greek yoghurt, hung curd, and even pureed cottage cheese. You can make a creamy herb dip by mixing hung curd, fresh dill, lemon juice, mustard paste, honey, garlic, salt & pepper. Serve it with fresh veggies such as sliced red and yellow bell peppers, baby carrots and snow peas.

For an unusual, slightly sweet dip, blitz together cooked pumpkin, low fat cream cheese, sugar and cinnamon. Serve with apple slices or banana slices.

If you love the flavours of the Middle East, read our article on delicious Middle Eastern dips perfect for your mezze platter.

For an international spin to your party menu, you could also try this Spinach Dip that channels the flavours of spanakopita – the Greek spinach pie.