Wednesday, May 05, 2010

How to Prepare Indian Version of Chip & Dip Snacks

Chip & Dip is universally regarded as a European eating concept. Just look around any of the supermarkets selling niche snacks in the packaged food category and you are almost sure to come across a variety of snacks that combine some crispy, chip or wafer-like entity that is supposed to be served with a contrasting, saucy preparation. Such Chip & Dip preparations are becoming the most favored form of snacking across Indian households too. However, these packaged items aren't the most reasonably priced. Further, many of the Indian consumers often complain about the lack of freshness in the sauces or other semi-liquid offerings that are presented as the Dip in the combination. Thus, there is a need to have a basic understanding of preparing some simple, ready-to-eat Chip & Dip preparations from our traditional Indian kitchens. The following is not the usual recipe guide but a more manipulative, street-smart way of turning some of the common ingredients found in Indian kitchens into a delicious, flavor-rich and fresh, Chip & Dip preparation.

The Indian Chip: Solving the crispy issue!
First thing that is needed for the Chip & Dip combination is a bread or wafer-like ingredient that is often referred to as the crispie. The idea here should be to use something that isn't deep fried like the traditional chips or is too heavy for causal eating like many of the roasted, Mexican chips. The simple solution lies in using the leftover chappatis or the Indian form of home-cooked bread. For starters, this is an outrightly healthier option. The Indian chappati or roti is neither fried nor heavy on spices. Further, it is a welcome mixture of the daily requirement of whole grains. Secondly, most Indian households tend to struggle with finding a decent way of using their spare rotis. These leftovers don't need much work. You simply need to store them over a couple of days. Some of the other options that are equally good include the poppadums and the Gujarati Bhakris. Both these items are easy-to-cook and store. Further, they don't lose their crispiness quickly and can be readily used as the chip in your preparation.

The Indian Dip: getting saucy!
When it comes to preparing the dip, the idea is to think authentic, Indian sauces. In fact, the word 'chutney' here is more applicable. Indian chutneys carry much more flavors than most European dips. The reason is simple—they contain more herbs and spices and need a negligible amount of preservatives. You can prepare a number of chutneys, ranging from the traditional choices like onion chutney to tomato chutneys. Each of these chutneys can be spiced-up with additions like the cooking gunpowder or a sprinkling of flavoring agents like coriander. The emphasis should be on lending a tolerable level of tanginess without making the sauce too spicy. There is another dip that can be easily prepared in Indian households and is perhaps the healthiest of all the possible dips, i.e. yogurt-based dip.

The core idea of Chip & Dip preparation is to present a contrast of tastes. Hence, if your actual combination is turning out to be a bit too hot for your taste buds, you can augment the entire eating experience by using a dip prepared from fresh herbs like mint mixed in yogurt. While the yogurt dip helps to neutralize the palate after every dose of the spicy ingredients, the mint helps the body acclimatize to the mid-day snacking and ensures that the balance of the gastric juices isn't disturbed.

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