Friday, January 18, 2008

A Dip In Thyme

One of the easiest ideas for a starter is to do a Chip-n-Dip thingy. The first time I tried this dip was when my father-in-law had invited a whole gang of his friends for dinner. It turned out a tad too spicy and after the first taste, nobody touched it :( Disappointing, but nevertheless it made me try different variations that would make it taste as good but without the “smoke-coming-out-of-the-ears” pungency. The next time around when we had guests, I used just one teeny weeny red chilli (instead of the three I had used earlier) and added a sprinkle of roasted ajwain seeds. I also rummaged in the kitchen cupboard to see what else could be used to enhance the flavour and chanced upon a jar of thyme. A dash of this delightful herb made all the difference. So here it is … tried and tested

Roasted Capsicum Dip with Ajwain and Thyme
(makes one bowl)


Capsicum (aka green pepper – 1 no
Onion – 1 no
Tomato – 1 no
Garlic – 4-5 cloves
Red Chilli – 1 (small)
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Ajwain – 1 tsp
Crushed Thyme – 2 pinches
Salt – to taste
Coriander – for garnishing


1. Stick a fork in the crown of the capsicum and roast evenly over an open flame.
2. Hold the fork under running cold water and using a sharp knife, scrape off the outer black skin. Chop into bits
3. Chop onion and garlic and sauté in 1 tbsp of oil along with the curry leaves
4. Simultaneously, blanch the tomato in 1 cup of water
5. Peel off the outer skin and chop roughly. Retain the tomato stock
6. Add tomato and capsicum to the onion mixture
7. Dry roast the ajwain and red chilli till you get a fragrant aroma. Add to the cooking mixture
8. Turn off the heat and blend all the ingredients to a paste like consistency.
9. Use the tomato stock to dilute if necessary
10. Sprinkle crushed thyme
11. Adjust salt according to taste and garnish with a sprig of coriander (cilantro)
12. Serve in a pretty bowl surrounded by chips / salted crackers