From a five-layer Mexican dip to beetroot hummus and lime-date pickle chutney, home entrepreneurs and local outfits are adding the zing to your dinner parties.
Forget expensive jars of imported gourmet accompaniments as city-based food entrepreneurs bring a delicious line-up of homemade spreads, dips and more to your neighbourhood gourmet stores like Amma Naana and Gourmei Market. With Minal Kripalani launching Jarcode and Aditi Mammen’s Posh Nosh already in the spotlight with its Creamy Mayo spread and Sticky Caramel, there are enough products to help you score big at your next soiree.
Lemon Curd Sauce
Part of the Cupcake Company umbrella, Shitija Nahata’s Kitchen 187 is most popular for its naturally made sauces like their Classic Sweet and thick Lemon Curd. The tart sauce pairs surprisingly well with jam on toast apart from sitting pretty and delicious on a spongy vanilla cake. While their signature Handmade Salted Caramel Sauce receives the loudest cheer, do try their Sundried Tomato Pesto that works well on sandwiches, pizzas or even savoury pancakes. Rs 225 onwards. Details: 31234511
Pineapple & Green Pepper
Salsa @Terra Earth
Meera Maran’s Terra Earth has a repertoire of products that solely use organic and unrefined ingredients. Now you have a range of traditional and fusion spreads like Tomato Jam and Coco-Almond Butter. The Spinach thokku or Mint-Coriander chutney made with tamarind and cold-pressed sesame oil will freshen up any dull meal. If you love your coloured peppers then find your match in their sweet and spicy pineapple-roasted green capsicum and chilli salsa or even their mixed bell pepper salsa. Look out for their upcoming sunflower seed butter along with hummus made with local field beans like nattu mochai, rajmah and more. Rs 90 onwards. Details: 9940638931.
Thai-style Tuna dip
While Minal Kripalani’s Just-Baked has been serving up delectable cakes and addictive banana bread for over 20 years, the seasoned homebaker has now launched Jarcode, for your regular fix of dips, marinades and dressings. If Mediterranean is your flavour of choice, then try her signature Med Feta Cheese Spread. Sour with a generous dose of olives, olive oil and basil, this will make a fantastic start to your cocktail evening served with lavash sticks. Equally appetising is her unique Thai-styled Tuna dip complete with fresh Thai ginger, basil and peanut butter. The chicken dip is mayonnaise-based and pairs well either with cream crackers or between hot toasts, do try her refreshing take on hummus — jalepeño, roasted red pepper or beetroot hummus anyone? Rs 350 onwards. Details: 9840722848
@Jyo’s Farm Pickles
What started off as a manadatory take-away by friends after her dinner parties is now an exciting business venture known for its heirloom pickle recipes and uncompromising taste. Made traditionally at first-time entrepreneur, Jyothsna Garapati’s, village in Andhra Pradesh with local ingredients, each of its variants are spiced moderately, adding to the fascinating versatility of Jyo’s Farm Pickle. Not just a pickle but the Coriander or Sundried Tomato Spread works on bread for a zingy sandwich. Or how about the mango-ginger pickle alongside your cheese board? While the Ginger thokku is traditional, you can easily use it to make interesting versions of daily staples like idlis and dosas.
Rs 75 onwards. Details: 9962523964
It has been only six months since Fouziya Kutty and Abdul Taher started creating tasty and healthier alternatives to preservatives. Yet, many are already addicted to their jars of Lime-Date Pickle Chutney. Originating from the Anglo-Indian community in Perambur, this chutney is truly umami — a harmonic balance of the five basic tastes. Equally scrumptious is their Birds Eye Chilli Sauce known for its use of the notoriously spicy Kerala kandari chilli and their flavourful Schezwan sauce (includes naturally brewed soy sauce) with hints of celery, spring onions and tomatoes. Also try their seasonal range of sweet spreads like Apple-fig and Banana that are completely handmade, with an actual fresh fruit content of almost 80 per cent.
Rs 150 onwards. Details: 9841063408
Smoky BBQ Dipping Sauce @George’s Gourmet Kitchen
Kodaikanal-based Canadian food entrepreneur, George Penner, has been delighting customers since 2012 with his range of breads, bakes and bagels sold under the moniker of George’s Gourmet Kitchen. Now his handmade dipping sauces and mustard are gaining popularity for maximum attention to detail in taste with organic ingredients and improvisation of authentic recipes. Scoring high on the flavour quotient are the pungent variants of mustard that are handground — classic French Dijon and extra hot with Mexican red chillies. Tomato-based and spicy with a strong garlic flavour, the Chilli Garlic sauce is perfect to dunk samosas into or have alongside an omelette. The smoky BBQ dipping sauce can also be splashed with a pasta sauce for an earthy and slightly sweet tingling taste.
Rs 150 onwards. Details: 9442482782
Roasted Green Tomato Dip @Bakers Nook
Moving on from her signature cakes and artisan breads, Sundari Sarita’s Bakers Nook now makes limited batches of fresh dips and sauces sans any preservatives. The home-baker from Anna Nagar has made a five-layer Mexican dip with refried beans, corn salsa and herbed yogurt that checks all the right boxes. Equally unique is her Roasted Green Tomato Dip that is enjoyably tangy and rather spicy with an addictive flavour of burnt garlic. While there, don’t miss out on a jar of smooth guacamole and her Roasted Red Pepper Dip that can double up as an add-on to your pasta sauce, apart from keeping your platter of nachos in good company. Rs 160 onwards.Details: 9884841414
Hot Fudge Sauce@ Kuki-Jar
Popular Thiruvanmiyur-based home baker Kuki Ravindran, known for her quirky bakes and high tea boxes, now has an assured winner with the kids. Her version of hot fudge sauce can effortlessly be drizzled over their fruit salad and even on their evening toasties apart from topping fruit cakes and ice cream treats. Made with luscious Belgium chocolate, it leaves behind a mild chilli buzz. The Salted Caramel Sauce is made using true ingredients instead of empty ones like glucose and corn syrup.
Rs 300 onwards. Details: 9841090592
— By Preeti GT