Category Archives: Dips

Basil Pesto

Greetings to all my fellow bloggers and my readers. I am very happy to thank all the new followers of my blog and the visitors whose daily visits to the blog bring on the cheer in my day to day life. It has been quite a while that I have posted my recipes.

The Summer has been quite disappointing and sad in terms of my personal dream and goal that left me disinterested in anything for a while, but one has to move on and keep dreaming. These past months have been busy with family as well, and I have just returned from a European Holiday. Mid July was spent travelling through Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, & Budapest. The travel diaries post will follow soon as and when I start writing them, but until then will post a couple food recipes that I wish to share this month.

Sharing below my recipe of the Basil pesto, the method I use to make this recipe.

Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto



Basil: 1 Bunch (small potted plant as sold here)

Pistachio slices: 2 Tbsp

Green Chili: 1 (small or medium as per choice, I used a small hot chili)

Garlic clove: 1

Lemon: 1/2

Olive Oil: 2-3 Tbsp (I prefer more hence add 3 tbsp)

Salt: To taste


Wash and towel dry the basil leaves, and assemble all the ingredients together.

Transfer the roughly chopped Basil leaves, green chili, garlic clove and pistachio slices in a mixer/grinder pot and grind to make a smooth paste. Add the lemon juice and oil to help grind the paste to smooth consistency. It is totally acceptable if a very smooth paste is not achieved, little rough nutty bite of the paste works fine. Adjust the salt and lemony taste to own preference, add more lemon juice if required.

We do not add too much of the green chili and garlic as the distinct delicate basil flavor is desired, the little lemon juice adds the required zing and perfect tang to tickle the taste buds.  It is a favorite pesto of mine and I absolutely love to mix it with Italian Olive oil and drizzle my homemade pizzas and calzones 🙂

ashu’s Basil Pesto

I also use this chutney/pesto for bread Sandwiches, Wraps, Quesadillas, stuffed Parathas, as well as dip for a variety of fritters, momos etc.

Note: Check out the Archives for recipes mentioned above for which I use this dip. 

Eat healthy, homemade and stay happy and smiling always 🙂



Parsley Pesto

Ashu's-Parsley Pesto/Chutney
Ashu’s-Parsley Pesto/Chutney

Today sharing with you all my Parsley pesto recipe, I have started making this only recently, from the last 2-3 years. I have always loved the Basil pesto in all the dishes that it is used, but it is not easily available in the nearby stores around my residence. Parsley is abundantly seen in every vegetable selling supermarkets, hence always on hand, and always in the list of purchased vegetables. While staying in India I always made the coriander chutney or coriander-mint chutney for any savory snacks, but this is one pesto that is equally loved by my kids. It has a strong and distinct flavor and has a different taste and hence quite a change for us from the regular green coriander and mint chutney (dhania & pudina).

Parsley has been added to my food list and cooking only after I started living here in the UAE. Parsley is used in many dishes in the middle east. It is seen in salads, well known being the Tabbouleh in which it is mixed with Bulgar wheat (will keep that as a separate post for future 🙂 ).

The recipe I am sharing is how I make this Parsley pesto in my kitchen, adjusted to our taste preferences and hence the selection of ingredients too. This may not be the traditional way of making the pesto. I used the pistachio nuts the first time I made this, pine nuts were not in my kitchen pantry, and hence have continued using them every time I make this pesto. The taste, different flavors and texture of the ingredients makes the dip a much relished condiment in my house, kids love it with sandwich, flat-breads, and toasted baguette slices. You can add it to your egg omelette too. When my elder sister visited my place this year, she too loved the dip, hence this post is also for all my family and friends who would like to use Parsley in regular meals but might have double thoughts whether to use or not because of its strong flavor. Go ahead and try it out and see if you like the taste. Parsley is a very good antioxidant, also good source of Folic acid, Vitamins C and A etc.



Parsley: 1 bunch

Pistachios: 50 gm (increase the quantity if you want more nutty taste)

Green Chili: 2 small (Adjust it to own taste prefrence)

Garlic: 3 cloves

Olive oil: 3 Tbsp

Lemon: 2 Medium-sized

Salt: To taste


Clean and wash the Parsley leaves. Chop them roughly.

Put the chopped parsley leaves, chilies, garlic and pistachio nut in a mixer pot and grind to make a smooth paste.

Ashu's-Parsley pesto
Ashu’s-Parsley pesto

Add the lemon juice and olive oil after every few whisks, it becomes easier to grind to paste. Finally add the salt and give the final whisk. Remove the contents into a bowl, check the taste and adjust if more lemon or oil is needed.

Ashu's-Parsley Pesto
Ashu’s-Parsley Pesto

We can add the extra oil, if required, when using as a dip.

Ashu's-Parsley Pesto
Ashu’s-Parsley Pesto
Ashu's- Parsley Pesto
Ashu’s- Parsley Pesto

The above picture shows what was made for dinner last Sunday along with the Parsley pesto as a dip, I will make that as the next post, so do visit to find out what the new recipe would be :). Our weekend starts, wishing you all a good day and a happy weekend to those who reside in this part of the world.



Gongura Chutney

This post is of one of my favorite chutneys. I cannot stop myself from buying this leafy vegetable whenever I see it on the leafy section of the supermarket. I love the way my mother cooks this particular greens. She adds a lot of oil and onions and makes it as a Sabzi, I use less oil in my cooking, but I still love her style of cooking this recipe. Here I am posting my adaptation of my mother’s recipe, I make a chutney of the sabzi by blending it all to fine paste in the mixer pot so that I can bottle it up and use whenever I wish. Initially after coming to this place, on couple of occasions I purchased the Gongura pickle of Priya brand, but not anymore. I like my chutney recipe the best, as I always add a healthy twist and try and make the recipe to my specification and liking.

One does not get to see this leafy bunch very regularly on the stands, but it is available, and hence I never let go of the opportunity when I see it in the market. I have seen bigger bundles of these greens sold in Indian markets, but here have to do with small bunches of leaf stems that make up the bundle. But something is always better than nothing, and hence the chutney version of cooking this greens.

As not all days of the week see us with pleasant moods, sometimes our moods do become sour on some pretext or other, in same context not all leafy greens are sweetish or pleasant to taste. This particular green is very sour in taste, and it is for this reason I like to make a chutney of this and eat along with rice and dal combinations whenever I wish to eat plain and simple food. It adds the necessary tang to the taste buds. Also, it goes well with some parathas too.

Kenaf or Gongura leaf
Kenaf or Gongura leaf

When my mother was visiting me, she gave me this tip of how to reduce the sourness from the leaves.

How to reduce the sourness from the Gongura leaves: Heat water in a bowl and put the Gongura leaves in this boiling water and cook just for a minute or so, and then drain away the water. The longer the leaves are boiled, the less the sour taste. Mother usually boils it for more than a minute, but as the leaves are few in the bundles sold here, I just give it a minute to boil and then drain. This reduces the extremely sour taste of the leaves.


Gongura leaves: 1 small bunch

Onion: 1 small

Green Chili: 2 no.

Garlic cloves: 2-3

Cumin: 1 Tsp

Flax seeds: 1 Tsp

Oil: 2 Tbsp

Salt: To taste


  1. Blanch the leaves to reduce the sourness. Chop the onion, garlic cloves and green chilli.
  2. Gongura Chutney ingredients
    Gongura Chutney ingredients


  3. Heat a pan on the gas stove and add 1 Tbsp oil in it. Add the cumin and flax seeds, then add the green chili, garlic and onion. Cook till the onion is pinkish, then add the blanched Gongura leaves and season with required amount of salt.
  4. Gongura sabzi
    Gongura sabzi

    Cook for few minutes so that the salt is mixed properly with the leaves and all the water, if any present,  is dried off, and then put off the flame. Remove the contents into a bowl. Once cooled, transfer to a mixer pot and  blend to get a fine paste.

  5. Empty the contents into a storing jar and add all the remain oil to it.
Gongura Chutney
Gongura Chutney

This is my version of making this simple and delectably tangy chutney.

I have yet to use these Gongura leaves to make any other vegetarian or non-vegetarian recipes in my kitchen. I have seen  and drooled over the Gongura prawn recipe pictures and hence I do have thoughts of trying to incorporate these leaves into one of my prawn recipes to find out how it would taste. May be I should also try and make a dal using these leaves. I will try some more recipes of Gongura in the coming New year and make posts, my New year plans, hence sharing my thoughts with you all here.

Lastly, just as we find tips and tricks of reducing the sourness in the vegetables, in the same way let us try and reduce or eliminate the sour moods that engulf us on some days and make each day a pleasant one. A herculean task to change ones bad mood, but one can always try, right? On this thought I end my last post for this November month. Wishing you all a great start to the new month of December from tomorrow.



Olive Oil & Mint Dip

Olive Oil & Mint Dip

This recipe was the invention of the day I made Vegetarian Dough Balls, recipe 2. I prefer to call it my Desi twist to the Videshi oil.

Olive oil is one of the favorite oils that I use in my cooking. It is added to most of the chutneys and freshly ground Pestos that I make. I loved the slight minty taste giving to the olive oil by adding freshly made Pudina chutney, brushing this oil or serving it as a dip with the Dough balls was loved by all.

Sharing with you all here a very simple, but a distinctively flavorful dip. We can prepare ahead and keep the Pudina Chutney ready in the refrigerator and mix it with Olive oil to make this quick dip and apply it over bread, parathas, or serve with any savory baked dishes or also apply to toast and grab a quick snack at any time. Mixing this with freshly cut salad vegetables and tossing it makes a quick yum vegetable salad. The choice is yours on how you can use it, give it a try.


Olive Oil: 100 gm

For Pudina Chutney:

Fresh Mint: 1/2 Bunch (100 gm)

Green Coriander: few springs (25 gm)

Green Chili: 1 or 2

Garlic: 1 Clove

Salt: To taste


  • Clean the mint and coriander bunches and wash the leaves.
  • Grind the garlic, green chili, mint and coriander leaves together in a mixer pot and get a smooth paste. Add salt as per taste.
  • Take the olive oil in a bowl.
  • Take 1 tbsp. of the mint and coriander chutney and mix it with the oil.
  • Our Olive oil with Pudina chutney dip is ready.
Mix the Pudina Chutney with the Olive oil

I used this dip with the Dough Balls.

Vegetarian Dough Balls with Olive oil & Mint Dip


Vegetarian Dough Ball with the dip.

Have fun trying out the dip in your kitchen.


Flaming Hot Tomato Dip For Momos

IMG_4963Here is the recipe of the dip that I mentioned in my previous post of Kheema Momos. (Click momos for recipe)

As the filling inside the momos is kept simple or mild in taste, the dip that accompanies should be spicy enough. This is how we like in our home and is also served in most of the restaurants. Here is my recipe of the fiery tomato dip that I first tasted in Nagarkot in Nepal that was served with momos, the taste that still lingers.


INGREDIENTS: (Makes 1 bowl of Dip)

Tomato: 1 (Big sized)

Ginger: 1″ (or Medium) piece (the sharp ginger taste should come)

Red Chilli Flakes: 1Tbls

Mustard seeds: 1Tsp

Green Coriander: Few Springs (cleaned and washed)

Red Chilli Powder: 1 Tbsp (or more if preferred a more fiery taste)

Turmeric: 1/2 Tsp

Salt: To Taste.

Oil: 1Tsp


Wash all the vegetables and cut into small cubes or pieces. (This will go in blender so do not worry about the shape to cut).

Heat a pan and add the oil. We need less amount of oil for this dip. Add the mustard seeds, as they splutter then add the ginger, chilli flakes and tomatoes. Cook till the tomato is soft, then add the red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt. Then add the cut green coriander. Remove the pan from fire and empty contents into a bowl and cool. Put the cooled chutney into the blender and blend on medium speed so that we get a smooth dip. If you want a thin dip then add little water, but it is not required as the tomato has juice. Empty the tomato dip into the serving bowl and serve it with piping hot steamed momos.

IMG_4961IMG_4962The red chilli powder can be adjusted according to personal preference or eating habit. If you do not want very a hot dip then reduce the quantity of the chilli added to the dip. The tanginess of the tomato, sharpness of the ginger and the fiery hot chilli makes a fantastic combination and definitely makes one go for the dip with each bite of the momos.

Enjoy! Happy eating in 2015.

Spicy Tomato Chutney/Dip


Tomato chutney is one of the easiest and tastiest side dishes that goes well with any form of parathas, be it plain paratha or the numerous stuffed parathas that one can think of or few rice preparations like masala khichadi. It is my son’s favourite chutney and hence a frequently made recipe. It goes well my Baked Thalipeeth recipe too, the post where I have shared this same dip.


Red Tomatoes: 2 Large

Onion: 1 Small

Green Chillies: 2 0r 3(spicy variety)

Garlic-2 cloves

Salt/Red chilli Powder/Turmeric-As per taste

Oil-2 Tsp.

Mustard Seeds: 1/2 tsp for seasoning.

Sugar-1 tsp (optional, I do not add.)


  1. Heat oil in pan and add the mustard seeds, chopped green chillies, garlic and onion. Sauté till they are soft.
  2. Then add the red chilli powder, turmeric, and salt.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook till done.
  4. Remove from heat into a bowl and cool.
  5. Blend this in blender to get the smooth dip.


Tip: If one does not wish to use a blender or mixer, then you can add a little water to the tomatoes and cook them to a very soft and saucy consistency.

Sunday Tips & Tricks-Mint and Yogurt Dip

Mint dips go well with any grilled dish. This is one dip that I make on a regular basis. The fresh green mint gives the yogurt a lovely green colour. One can make the dip using dried mint leaves too, without changing the white colour of the yogurt.

DRIED MINT LEAVES: The fresh mint leaves can be washed and pat dried with a kitchen towel and then left to dry completely. I usually leave it to dry in my kitchen itself, not in direct sunlight. It takes couple days for the leaves to dry, then the dried leaves can be kept in air tight bottles for later use.


To make the yogurt dip, whisk the yogurt, add salt and a few dried leaves that are powdered coarsely.

Baked Thalipeeth with Spicy Tomato Chutney, my alternative for a Pizza Dinner.


Most of us are fond of eating pizza, I am no exception. Pizza is something the kids would never say no and possible would eat almost regularly, every day, only if I allowed it. When the mood is for eating pizza, but to avoid the frequent intake of refined wheat flour and yeast to make the pizza base, for those evenings this is my quick menu to satiate the pizza hungry kids. My mother used to make something similar to this recipe but used the regular gas stove for cooking, but I baked it and the family was happy with the final product. It does not take very long time for making this recipe, except for the baking time.

Thalipeeth: Thalipeeth is a type of flat bread, a dish from Maharashtra state in India. Though typically it is made of multigrain flour mix, but for today’s dish I am using only wheat flour as the main ingredient.  It is mixed with onions, spring onions, green chillies, seasoned to personal taste and baked to get the desired crunch and crispy taste. An extremely spicy tomato dip/chutney is served along with it.

Ingredients For Thalipeeth:

Whole Wheat flour-3 cups (300-350g)

Oil: 3 Tbsp

Onion: 1 large (finely chopped)

Spring onions: 1 cup (finely chopped)

Green chillies: 3-4 Medium sized (finely chopped)

Green Coriander: 1-2 Tbsp (finely chopped)

Carom seeds: 1 Tsp. (Ajwain)

Flaxseed: 1 Tbsp (I use it, its a good source of fibre and omega-3 essential fatty acid)

Sesame seeds: 1 Tbsp

Salt: To taste

Turmeric powder: 1/2 Tsp.

Curd: 2 Tbsp

Baking powder: 1/2 Tsp

Water: As required to make a medium soft dough.


  1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan assisted. Grease a square baking tin, I used a brownie baking tin.
  2. Sift the wheat flour and baking powder together.
  3. Take a clean, dry bowl and add the sifted wheat flour. To it add the finely chopped onions, spring onions, chillies, coriander,  the three types of seeds mentioned above, salt, turmeric and curd.
  4. Mix all the ingredients of the bowl thoroughly. Add 2 tbsp oil to it and mix well.
  5. Using the required quantity of water make a medium soft dough and knead well.
  6. Taking the greased baking tin firmly press the dough inside the tin. Press with fingers to get even thickness on all sides.
  7. Brush the top of the dough with oil and drop few drops along the walls of the tin.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes or till we get golden brown crust.















One can enjoy this dish with chilli sauce or a curd dip, but I prefer the tomato dip. Recipe of the tomato dip follows.

Spicy Tomato Chutney/Dip:


Ripe red tomatoes- 2 Large

Onion-1 small

Green chillies- 2-3 (spicy variety)

Garlic-2 cloves

Salt/ red chilli powder/ turmeric- As per taste.

Oil- 1-2 tsp.

Mustard seeds- for seasoning


  1. Heat oil in pan and add the mustard seeds, chopped green chillies, garlic and onion. Sauté till they are soft.
  2. Then add the red chilli powder, turmeric, and salt.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook till done.
  4. Remove from heat into a bowl and cool.
  5. Blend this in blender to get the smooth dip.

Tip: If one does not wish to use a blender, then you can add a little water to the tomatoes and cook them to a very soft and saucy consistency.