Indian-Spiced Roasted Red Pepper Dip

I’ve started to experiment with exotic Indian spice blends (masalas) – a gift from my kids that they knew I would enjoy. I love flavour, but I’m not a fan of heat, so my first attempts at incorporating the spices are usually too mild-tasting.

roasted peppers

This is how my roasted peppers looked when they were done.

The dal makhani masala that I used for this recipe is made up of more than a dozen ingredients including coriander, chili, dried mango, ginger, garlic, nutmeg, cloves and anise. It’s recommended for lentils and stews.

I’ll have to try it next time I make dal (red lentil soup).

It’s easy to roast peppers – 20 minutes per side at 400 degrees. I found instructions here. The skins slipped off easily when the peppers were done.

To mix the dip, I used an immersion blender, but I’d recommend a food processor instead. Maybe I didn’t cut the peppers into small enough pieces, or maybe I should have mixed in the green onion by hand, once everything else was blended. I’m glad my immersion blender didn’t break. I definitely overworked it.

The end result was a mix of what I had in the house, and I made it up as I went along. I thought the dip could have been thicker (maybe less yogourt and mayo?), but everyone said they liked it. And they took seconds.

Indian-Spiced Roasted Red Pepper Dip

2 large red, yellow or orange peppers

1 tbsp. mayonnaise

1 tbsp. yogourt

1/4 to 1/2 tsp. or more dal makhani masala

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 scallion, sliced

1. Roast peppers on baking sheet at 400 F for a total of 40 minutes, turning over half-way through cooking.

2. Let peppers cool, then peel and seed them. Cut in pieces before processing.

3. Place in processor with mayonnaise, yogourt, masala, salt, and pepper.

4. Process until not quite as smooth as you like. Add green onions, and process on/off until just incorporated into the dip.

Enjoy!

 

 

Carrot spread – tame or adventurous version?

A couple of weeks ago, I made a carrot spread for Friday night dinner, and served it with challah as an alternative to black bean-based mock liver.

carrot spread, orig

Carrot spread — the mild version

I started by roasting carrots and garlic cloves with a bit of olive oil, and proceeded from there, adding lemon juice, organic tahini (sesame paste), salt and pepper, then a bit more oil and lemon juice to thin the mixture once I processed it. Nothing else. Simple is good. Other considerations – I had food sensitivities to take into account, and I wanted to use what I had in the house.

For inspiration, I consulted Passionate Vegetarian, by Crescent Dragonwagon. The first two recipes in the book are for carrot spreads, one of which I’ve made and enjoyed.

indian carrot spread

Spicier Indian carrot spread

The end result was vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, legume-free, and mild. It wasn’t bad, but I had an urge to try a spicier version this week, using garam masala – a heady mix of cumin, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, green cardamom, nutmeg, ginger and mace that my kids brought back from India this summer.

I used my original recipe as a base, substituting yogourt for lemon juice, and adding fresh ginger as well.

It’s an easy recipe to play with, and adjust to your own taste. I love spices – they’re good for you, too! – but prefer flavour to heat. So my adventurous version isn’t as adventurous as it could be. Maybe next time I’ll up the quantity of garam masala.

Here are both versions – have fun!

Mild carrot spread

6 carrots, peeled

2 garlic cloves, tops sliced off

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. tahini

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1. Rub carrots and garlic with olive oil, and roast on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet at 425 degrees. Remove garlic after 20 minutes. Roast carrots for an additional ten minutes or until soft.

2. Let cool.

3. Squeeze roasted garlic into processor, discarding skin. Add roasted carrots, in pieces. Add tahini and lemon juice.

4. Process until smooth, adding a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice and/or water to thin the spread if too thick.

Indian Roasted Carrot Spread

6 carrots, peeled

2 garlic cloves, tops sliced off

small piece of fresh ginger

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp. garam masala or to taste

1 tbsp. tahini

1 tbsp. yogourt

1 tbsp. water

1. Rub carrots, garlic and ginger with olive oil, and roast on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet at 425 degrees. Remove ginger after 5 to 10 minutes, and garlic after 20 minutes. Roast carrots for an additional ten minutes or until soft.

2. Let cool.

3. Squeeze roasted garlic into processor, discarding skin. Add ginger and roasted carrots, cut in pieces. Add tahini and yogourt.

4. Process until smooth, adding water if necessary.

Enjoy!