This lively dip gets big flavor from just a handful of ingredients. Serve it as a dip with crackers or flatbread or as a sauce over tacos or roasted vegetables.
The next post up is on a subject that’s near and dear to my heart; but first I’m sharing the accompaniment that goes with said mystery post because it holds its own as a dip to serve at a party, or a sauce to keep around for times when you need to turn a bowl of grains, vegetables or beans into a meal.
I’ve been making a sauce of this ilk for ages since finding a recipe in Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors, a book that has shaped the way I cook more than just about any of the zillion titles now gracing my bookshelf. Her version uses goat’s milk yogurt, toasted coriander, and jalapeño, and it turns out a liquidy sauce more suited to drizzling than to dipping. Rather than get the book out each time, I usually throw it together from memory, adjusting the ingredients to taste and paring the ingredient list down the most dominant flavors and using Greek yogurt or skyr to turn out a thicker sauce. These ingredients happen to be some of my favorites at the moment. There’s thick skyr, an Icelandic style of strained yogurt similar to the Greek variety. There’s toasted, ground cumin, which I’ve been throwing into just about everything lately. There’s lemon zest and juice for zip, plenty of crushed garlic for kick, and a few handfuls of mint leaves to brighten things up. Pomegranate arils and a drizzle of olive oil add a little pizazz if you’re making up a bowl to dip things into (spoiler: they make an appearance in the next post, too).
This is a sauce for all seasons, though I find it particularly welcome in the winter to break up the rich, mild foods associated with the cooler months. Think of it as an off-season tzatziki. It keeps well in the fridge for at least a week and is a welcome addition to many foods. We dollop it over tacos filled with chickpeas and roasted sweet potatoes. We scoop it up with crackers for a quick snack. We slather it on veggie burgers, sweet potato oven fries and toast. It would be lovely in a lentil soup, with falafel, or over a bowl of grains, legumes and vegetables.
Sometimes I’ll add a handful of cilantro leaves or parsley in addition to the mint, or a hefty pinch of cayenne. However you gussy it up, I know you’ll love this little number as much as we do. And stay tuned for an equally lovable recipe, up next!
- 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
- 1 ½ cups (350 ml) whole milk Greek yogurt or skyr
- 3 large garlic cloves
- zest of 1 medium lemon
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup mint leaves, chopped
- For garnish (optional): pomegranate arils, flavorful olive oil, mint leaves
- Place the cumin seeds in a small skillet and toast over a medium flame, shuffling the pan frequently, until fragrant and slightly darkened in color, 2-3 minutes. Cool, then grind in a spice grinder, clean coffee grinder, or with a mortar and pestle.
- Place the yogurt in a medium-sized bowl. Squeeze the garlic cloves through a garlic press and directly into the yogurt. Stir in the lemon zest and juice, salt, and mint until combined. Serve immediately, or cover and chill. The dip will keep, refrigerated airtight, for up to 1 week.