I am a real spoil-sport when it comes to my determination to not eat high-calorie and fat-laden food when I don't want to eat it. Well I would eat it 24/7 if I could afford to, but when I am trying to lose weight, which is every now and then, people around me have a hair- tearing time. My mother for instance when I visit her during holidays and she can't get me to 'eat-well'. Hubby and kids when they want to eat out and I insist on eating only at that Punjabi dhaba as the food is less oily and I still get to eat a good meal. I carry my apple or orange or salad in my voluminous bag as I don't to be tempted to grab that burger when the kids eat out. Exasperated hubby tries to sell the idea of eating a 'healthy' option on the menu and gets an earful about its nutrition quotient or lack of it. I shudder in mock-shock and he throws up his hands in real despair. I will bake, but not eat. I won't miss my early morning walks in icy December or during summer holidays when I can easily sleep in - I can be really obsessive here too! Am forced to as even as my dietitian gets ready to write me a note of commendation for my will power, I will be hiding under the table and writing her a sheepish note of my tragic story of the kilos regained...Sigh! I try to lose weight every year and I manage to do so, but also manage to spite the scales quite quickly. A sad story familiar to my family and friends. I have a tendency to gain weight and a metabolism which is not exactly my pride and stands absolutely no chance of being anybody's envy.
As if irking immediate family is not enough, I sometimes very firmly refuse to eat the wrong snacks when I visit friends and relatives.(One Aunt every time makes it a point to ask me 'Are you still on a diet?') On such visits I am fine with not eating anything at all or gladly sip on some coffee (anything to not be forced into eating that food!), but folks sometimes feel compelled to offer something I will eat? I was just wondering, what I could offer to such people (my kind, yikes!!!) if I have to entertain. Hmmm...thank God, I do have some. And now can add one more to the list. A spicy, tangy, smoky dip with roasted red bell peppers and garlic. Served with our desi roasted or microwaved papad or crackers as a snack or as an appetizer...
From Deeba's PAB which she has adapted from Meeta's What's For Lunch Honey . Meeta's dip has red bell peppers, aubergines and garlic, roasted and mashed with other spices. Deeba's version which I have tried has tomatoes and no aubergines. You could roast the veggies in the oven or over an open flame or on a griddle and puree them or leave them chunky. The dip is quite easy to make, roasting and peeling the veggies the only time-consuming part. You could of course play with the spices and the veggies to suit your taste and preference. But I would surely suggest a generous addition of spices, fresh ground pepper and lemon juice and of course a good 2 table spoons of olive oil to get a flavorful dip.
The below recipe makes enough to serve 4-6 people, remember its spicy! Here is what I did.
Red bell peppers - 2, medium sized.
Fresh, ripe and firm tomatoes - 2, medium sized, quartered
Garlic cloves, large, peeled - 7-8
Roasted cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
Lemon juice - 1 - 2 teaspoons
Salt to taste (go easy if serving with salty papad)
Fresh coriander leaves, chopped - 2 tablespoons
Green chilli, chopped fine - 1
Salt and freshly ground pepper - to taste
Olive oil - 2 tablespoons
Red chilli flakes - 1 teaspoon or to taste
Procedure: De-seed and roast the peppers and tomatoes on a greased griddle or on an open flame or grill in the oven. Roast till the skin is completely charred and blistered. Roast the garlic till lightly browned. Keep the peppers and tomato in a dish with a lid or in a zip-lock bag and seal. The steam will help loosen the skin for peeling. Cool and peel the skin.
You could mash the peppers and tomato with a fork or puree in a blender. Chop the veggies and garlic roughly. Keep aside 2-3 tablespoons of this. Run the rest of the veggies and garlic in the mixer for a few seconds, just enough to very roughly puree. Add the rest of the ingredients, the reserved chopped veggies and mix. Check and adjust seasoning.
You could store this in the refrigerator for up to a week. But I think, this tasted best the day I made it. Come to think of it, we do make chutney like this, we do eat creamy dips with crackers, but eating a chunky veggie dip with papad or lavash crackers is a great idea. Thanks Deeba and Meeta!
And do tell me, how does your family take to it when you go on a diet? Would love to hear, just to know if I am completely insane :))