I’m always looking for something that my guests can nibble on with drinks that will stimulate their appetite but which won’t overwhelm my main meal. I came across this dip which is adapted from Feasts: Middle Eastern Food to Savor and Share by Sabrina Ghayour. While I haven’t explored the actual book or any other recipes, based on this I am anxious to see what else Ms. Ghayour has in store.
I made this dip for Passover but it would be excellent anytime. And since it is vegan, it can be used at any meal if you observe food restrictions for whatever reason. If you are unfamiliar with nigella seeds, they are definitely worth trying. They can be found at any decent spice store or online and will be used in Indian as well as Middle Eastern recipes. Nigella is also known as black caraway, black cumin or fennel or kalonji seeds. Any left-over dip will easily last a week in the refrigerator.
Carrot, Orange, Ginger and Walnut Dip
Yield: 8-10 servings
1 pound carrots, peeled and very roughly chopped
5.3 ounces of walnut pieces, very lightly toasted in a dry pan on the stove (As soon as you begin to smell the nut, remove it immediately from the heat!)
1 small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 well-rounded teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
4-inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and finely grated
3 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2 Tablespoons of Agave syrup or honey
Zest and juice of 2 large unwaxed oranges
About 4 Tablespoons (1/4 cup) EVOO
3 Tablespoons nigella seeds
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Coarsely chopped cilantro
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add the carrots. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the carrots are just tender (about 10 minutes). When a sharp knife inserted into a carrot chunk comes out without any resistance, the carrot is done. Immediately drain under cold water to halt the cooking.
- In a food processor combine all of the ingredients up through the EVOO. You want a course puree. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle in a little more EVOO if you prefer a slightly looser consistency. I did not. Pulse through the nigella seeds and serve with a whole walnut and/or some coarsely chopped cilantro on top.