Monday, 30th October 2017

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Dipping delight

Regular snacking is getting a new edge with anassortment ofexotic homemade dips, says Varuni Khosla

By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 28.07.13
  • Shradha Aggarwal started manufacturing dips on a small scale from her homein Delhi, but today she bottles and sells over 100kg of special dips and sauces in a month; (above) Aggarwal's Peri Peri dip is a hot favourite; Pics by Rupinder Sharma

Are you a dips and chips person? So, have you ever dunked nachos into a decadent five-layered dip made with refried beans, guacamole, sour cream, roasted corn salsa and fresh coriander? If the answer is a 'no', then you need some serious culinary intervention courtesy the newly launched Indian homemade dip brands.

In the last one year alone, six exotic dips-and-sauces brands have entered the fray, dishing out a range of hitherto untried dip flavours like Strawberry Butter, Greek Cucumber Tzatziki, Spicy Peri-Peri sauce and the exotic Pink Mustard. These delectable dips are proving to be perfect accompaniments to finger foods and munchies like fresh salad sticks, lavash and pita bread. Use them on sandwiches or even as marinades for chicken and paneer.

The dip companies are small-scale, rely on personal recommendations and have cutesy names like Yellow Butterfly, i2Cook and Miss Chhotee's. Their dips are well...all-home made...therefore fresh and infused with seasonal goodies like mangoes (salsa), fresh strawberries, cucumbers, and even imported Swiss Alpine pine nuts, Piri Piri chillies from Southern Africa and Parmigiano Reggiano from Italy. But remember that dips have a short shelf life.

  • Megha Deokule's Pink Mustard Dip, which is made with organic yellow and black mustard, adds a subtle zing to sandwiches; Pics by Gajanan Dudhalkar

The brands are churning out anything between 10kg and 100kg of dips and sauces in a month. The women behind the brands have converted their own kitchens into their 'factories' where they are deftly creating magic with a mlange of exotic ingredients.

In Delhi, former TV producer Shradha Aggarwal — Miss Chhotee to her clients — is a specialist. Her sauces, spreads and dips (like the exotic Peri-Peri) are available in bottles of 100g, each priced between Rs 150 and Rs 300.

A year ago, when she first started Miss Chhotee's from her Vasant Vihar home, she had just a few orders in hand. But things picked up pace almost immediately and from catering for about 10 orders a month, Aggarwal now bottles and sells over 100kg of dips a month. Food-tasting sessions are organised routinely at superstores like Foodhall, Modern Bazar and Le Marche Sugar & Spice in Delhi (where she also retails from).

  • Jharna Rohra gave up her career in banking to launch her brand of homemade dips, House of Dips; Pic by Gajanan Dudhalkar

Former PR professional-turned-gourmet cook, Yakuta Sarkari, explains the rise and success of the dip companies: "My clients are working couples who don't have help at home when they entertain. And so, they find it best to 'outsource' exotic food items to caterers like me." Sarkari retails under her brand Cold Food Company, which she launched three years ago.

Mumbai-based Shivani Tolia, a self-taught dip-maker, quit a career to set up her brand, Yellow Butterfly. Her Chilli Chocolate dip, Strawberry Butter and White Bean dip sauces are hotsellers. "The chilli dip goes brilliantly with fresh cut fruits, sponge cakes and biscuits while the strawberry butter goes best with waffles, mildly sweet breads and pancakes," she says.

Tolia's dips don't use preservative and are priced between Rs 150 and Rs 300 (for 250g) and sell only in Mumbai.

Sarkari, also from Mumbai, specialises in delectable flavours like Smoky Aubergine, Cheese Mushroom, Chilled Cucumber and Yoghurt Mousse and Fired-up Tuna and also turns out savoury mousses like Curried Egg Mousse and Creamy Asparagus & Cheese Mousse. Her dips come in 200g jars priced between Rs 220 and Rs 830.

In Mumbai, Jharna Rohra, 27, gave up her career in banking last year and launched House of Dips. She specialises in yoghurt and cheese-based dips of which the cold mushroom dip, a roasted red pepper dip with jalapenos and Tzatziki are huge hits. The dips are pricedbetween Rs 160 and Rs 240 for 250g.

  • Yakuta Sarkari's Cold Food Company offers specialty dips in exotic flavours like Smoky Aubergine, Yoghurt Mousse and Fired-up Tuna; Pic by Sundeep Bhatia

I2Cook's Pink Mustard is a must try too. Megha Deokule, an architect who quit her job at Studio Mumbai Architects, says her pink mustard is a specialty (it sells for Rs 140 per bottle). "Pink mustard has that zing of mustard without overpowering what you pair it with," she says. Made with organic yellow and black mustard seeds, soya oil, vinegar, salt and turmeric it stays for a year, approximately, if refrigerated well. Deokule sells her brand from the Courtyard Caf at Jaaga (Bangalore), and her own website

Exotic foods store, Foodhall, in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, too, are creating their own brands of Mexican and Mediterranean dips. In Delhi, demo chef Nakul says that Foodhall makes a variety of 18 dips every day, of which 100kg are sold every month. "People love our sun-dried tomato and basil hummus," he says. The dips have a shelf life of three days and are priced between Rs 150 and Rs 250 for 200g and are sold at Foodhall stores across India.

So, time to dip into some exotic flavours — straight from little jars of goodness.