Wanted: Middle Eastern dips that aren't hummus | Food – The Guardian

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I always make my own hummus, but what other Middle Eastern dips should I try?
Jo, Merseyside

“The whole idea of dips and meze is that you can use whatever you have in the fridge,” says Eran Tibi, chef-owner of Bala Baya in south London. And a good template to have in your arsenal is Tibi’s “bonfire veg dip”. Start by charring your preferred veg (tomato, garlic and chilli in Tibi’s case) over a flame until “mushy”. Once cool, “roughly chop [skin on], then put in a bowl with fresh coriander or oregano, a bit of lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, salt and pepper.” Mix and you’ll have “the most luxurious, smoky, delicious dip to go with grilled meat, fish or bread”.

Bread won’t be lonely with fried baba ganoush, either. Reem Kassis, in The Palestine Table, fries small cubes of aubergine (that have been salted, rested and rinsed) in vegetable oil until golden, then, once cool, adds tahini, yoghurt, lemon juice, crushed garlic and salt. Mix with a fork, “breaking up any large pieces or lumps as you go”, and sprinkle with parsley and chopped tomatoes or pomegranate.

Alternatively, try tershi. “It’s a Libyan-Jewish dip consisting of pumpkin, potatoes and a toasted spice mix,” says chef Oded Oren, whose cookbook, Oren: A Personal Collection of Recipes and Stories from Tel Aviv, is out in September. He roasts pumpkin wedges with olive oil, cooks potatoes, then mashes the lot together. “Toast and grind caraway and coriander seeds, then add sweet and spicy paprika and a little olive oil.” Once combined, toss the spice mix into the pumpkin/potatoes, and serve cold.

“Lemon and artichoke is a favourite flavour combination of mine,” writes Salma Hage in The Mezze Cookbook. And to speed things up, she uses the jarred variety (“preserved in oil, rather than brine”), which she blends with parsley, tahini, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, and garlic. You want to add just enough water so it “starts to look fluffier”, then season. Another lucky dip is peynir ezmesi, made with grated tulum (Turkish goat’s milk cheese). In The Turkish Cookbook, Musa Dağdeviren pounds this into a paste with stale, crustless bread (which has been soaked, drained, and squeezed), then adds sliced onion, parsley, garlic and walnuts, and pounds again. He finishes things off with hot paprika, dried dill and oregano, plus a drizzle of olive oil. Easy-cheesy.

Don’t dismiss hummus completely, though, Jo. You could, for example, add beetroot or carrots to your chickpeas, or swap the latter for butter beans or, as Tibi recommends, sweet potato. He bakes a whole one until it’s “really, really soft”, then, when it’s cool enough to handle, he scoops out the middle and whips it with tahini, maple syrup, lemon juice, salt and pepper. “If you put a good heap of dukkah, ras el hanout or chilli flakes on top, it’s mesmerising.”

Alternatively, if yoghurt is on rotation in your kitchen, courgettes are a good companion. “Cut them into quarters, dress with olive oil, salt and pepper, then char on all sides in a cast-iron griddle pan,” says Daniel Alt, head chef at The Barbary Next Door in London – make sure they still have some crunch, mind. “Chop the courgettes with garlic, add mint for freshness, lemon juice, a little chopped fresh chilli or chilli flakes, and turmeric, so the whole thing turns yellow.” Mix into thick yoghurt and eat with “everything on the grill”.

Another big dipper is labneh (strained yoghurt), which Oren suggests loosening with cucumber to make a sort of tzatziki. “I don’t use herbs – just garlic, lemon juice and salt.” The other option is to serve your labneh straight and concentrate on the topping instead. Right now, Alt is all about “burnt” aubergines: “Scoop out the meat and chop with chilli and garlic, then add olive oil, lemon juice, and season with salt.” Pile on to labneh and scatter over some chopped parsley. Pitta or flatbread would make fine accompaniments or, for “a guilty pleasure”, chips: “If you go to the beach in Israel, you can order French fries, labneh, pitta and a cold beer. It’s the perfect lunch.”


This page was created programmatically, to read the article in its original location you can go to the link bellow:
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