You guys, today’s headline in the sports section couldn’t be more right… it really has been raining 4s and 6s at the IPL! And the Virat Kohli and AB show? It’s all everyone’s been talking about! If you’re just catching up on the action around here, I’m sharing some easy and hearty appetizer recipes that you can whip up quickly at home, especially if you’re feeding a crowd this IPL season. And it’s not just about food, I’ve teamed up with the folks at Johnnie Walker to share some awesome cocktails that pair up really well with these appetizers. This week’s theme is the humble ‘dill’ or what we call ‘soa’ in Punjabi and ‘shepu’ in Marathi and is integral to ‘Sai Bhaji’ made by Sindhis. Wondering how we made it work?
I picked a sauce to work as a dip here (yep, it’s so thick that it can double as a sauce or dip)… the classic Greek Tzatziki is perhaps the simplest DIY recipe that’s perfect for the summer. And the humble dill is its hero. I understand that Greek Yogurt isn’t something that you can find easily in India, but a few years ago, I wrote up this handy guide to making your own Greek Yogurt at home, because Greek Yogurt isn’t a special kind of yogurt, nor is it uniquely Greek. It’s essentially a hung yogurt, and just keep in mind that you’re going to end up with half of the original amount that you started out with.
Now for our cocktail… if this was me who had to incorporate dill into a cocktail, honestly, I would have been freaking out! But that’s exactly the sort of challenge Nicholas Ord, USL Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador stepped up to. He worked a Dill Soda and Pepper Syrup into this cocktail made with Johnnie Walker Red Label, very aptly called The Red Fizz! The pepper syrup works so well in complementing the cucumber in the Tzatziki! If you’ve ever eaten cucumber with just a bit of salt and pepper sprinkled on it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Kudos to Nick for bringing everything together so effortlessly here. Picking an ingredient to work around is both fun, and a great way to flex culinary and mixology skills, I’d highly recommend it!
- To make your Greek Yogurt from scratch, follow this post, so to get 1 cup of Greek Yogurt, you’ll need 2 cups of yogurt to start out with.
- Grate the garlic and add it to the Greek Yogurt. Add lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, pinch of pepper and salt to yogurt and stir to combine. Finely chop the dill and mint and stir hem into the yogurt too. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
- 20 minutes before you are ready to serve, grate the cucumber into a separate bowl and add a couple of pinches of salt to it & stir to combine. Let this sit for 15 minutes as the salt will draw out the water from the cucumber. After 15 minutes, place grated cucumber in muslin cloth and squeeze out the water. Now stir it into the prepared yogurt. Taste to adjust salt in the dip. Serve with sliced carrots, crackers or with pita bread.
- Boil the water with peppercorns, once flavours are infused, add the sugar and bring to a simmer and cook until a syrup is formed. Set it aside to cool.
- Simmer dill with water for 10 minutes. Let it cool. Use either a soda maker to make a soda of this or use a soda syphon and charge twice with CO2. Refrigerate to chill it.
- Add Johnnie Walker Red Label, Pepper Syrup and Lime juice to a cocktail shaker and a few ice cubes and shake to combine.
- Put a handful of ice cubes in a highball glass and pour the cocktail in glass. Add the dill soda and stir. Garnish with dill leaves.
P.S. – The Pepper Syrup and Dill Soda will make plenty of drinks, but the measurements give for cocktail will serve 1.