The Tiffin Series – Dip it, Spread it, Simply Relish it
Sandwiches are a mom’s best friend. They are easy to make, quick, doesn’t involve much hassle and can relatively be done justice to with a lot of store bought products. But if you are like my mom, you sure have other plans. Although my mom was and still is a working woman, she didn’t subject me to the banal jam sandwich or butter sandwich or cheese sandwich. She would use her weekends to make various spreads and dips to make me a variety of sandwiches. Now it is not as toiling as I am making it sound (I realise that now! Bah!), but nevertheless, the sandwiches she made me were never boring and what was even better, it didn’t make the bread go soggy (thankfully).
Of course, over the years the random chutneys got to me and I decided to come up with my own versions. Not to say my mom was unimpressed with me dissing her creations against my own, but eventually, she was proud. Mothers I say! So, I thought I would share my acquired wisdom with you.
The one thing you must always remember is that bread is your best friend. It’s your saviour and brother/sister in arms. Any bread white, brown, multigrain, baguette, sliced or not can save you hours of hard-work and still help you make a delicious tiffin option for your kid. Obviously, the dips or spreads that I am going to suggest are going to be the star, but bread will never let you down in the supporting role. Sure, you can substitute them with brothers from another mother like lavash, or khaboos, or even the humble chapatti; but rest assured the dips or spreads however you may choose to use these creations, will be your secret weapons all through. So here goes…
Paneer and Date Spread
This one was created with an acquaintance Nameeta, while working on a food show. This is absolutely simple and delicious, and like most of the recipes I share with you, easy peasy.
Paneer – 250 gms
Dates – 100 gms (deseeded)
Cream – 3 tbsp
Lime juice – just a dash
Salt – to taste
Pepper – to taste
- In a blender, blend the dates. I prefer using Arabic dates because they are softer. If you happen to be using the regular variety, soak them in warm water for about 20 mins before you blend them. Do remember to dry them up well though, so there is no water incorporated in the dip.
- Now add the paneer, cream, lime juice, pepper and salt and blend it well until creamy. Done.
- This is a mildly sweet and flavourful dip/ spread. Simply spread it on toast
- or use it as a dip and pack some lavash for your kids’ tiffin boxes.
- Get your kids to deseed the dates and squeeze the lime juice while you prepare the rest.
- You can make an awesome bacon sandwich with this one. The sweetness of the dates compliments the saltiness of the bacon really well. Add a layer of iceberg lettuce if you may.
Red Bell Pepper Hummus
This one is a real facelift to the humble hummus. It has a nice smoked flavour and again, can be used as a dip or spread, either ways it’s yummy.
Red Bell Pepper – 2 nos
Chickpeas – 500 gms
Tahini – 2 tbsp
Extra virgin olive oil – ½ cup
Salt – to taste
Chilli powder – to taste
- First up, roast the bell peppers over a flame or in the oven. Now, I keep the skin on because I like the charred flavour, but if you don’t you could peel the peppers once roasted. Deseed them for sure.
- Now the chickpeas, if you are using canned chickpeas, you can just drain them and they’re good to go. If like me, you are using the raw version, soak them overnight, then boil them (until soft) with a sprinkling of salt, drain and use.
- In a blender add the roasted bell peppers and blend.
- To this add the chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, salt and pepper and
- give it a good blend until you have a
smooth texture. Ready!
- Give your kids the satisfying job of blending, of course, while keeping an eye on them.
- This one makes a wonderful pita and olive sandwich. Just spread a generous amount of hummus on the inside of a pita pocket and add some pickled gherkins, cucumbers, carrots and beets and you have one wholesome sandwich!
Corn and Cheese Spread
Now we all love corn and cheese balls, but what if the same flavours could be spread lavishly over a piece of toast and devoured? Mmmm, heavenly.
Sweet corn – 1 ½ cup
Parmesan cheese – 1 cup (grated)
Green chillies – 2 nos
Extra virgin olive oil – 3 tbsp
Lime juice – 1 tbsp
Mint leaves – ½ cup
Garlic – 2 cloves
Pepper – to taste
Salt – a pinch
- Let the children rid the mint leaves of the stalks, gather ½ a cup full of it and peel the garlic cloves. Also, have them grate the cheese for you. Saves you all the hard-work and don’t you worry it’s not evil, it’s just a chapter on how most things in life aren’t easy!
- Now the sweet corn, let the kernels seep in hot water for about 15 mins and then drain and use. Make sure they are well drained and pat them dry with a clean piece of cloth.
- Now for the magic, add the corn, mint, garlic and chillies to the blender and blend well until fairly smooth.
- Now add the lime juice, salt, pepper and olive oil to it and blend well. The salt and oil will aid in the blending and give you a slightly grainy texture which is nice.
- Add in the cheese and pulse until well incorporated and abracadabra!
- This makes a wonderful treat just spread lavishly on toast or add a few roundels of tomatoes and cucumber and sandwich it between 2 slices of bread. Delicious and how!
Tips and Facts
- You can make these dips over the weekend and store them in airtight containers for almost 2 weeks in the fridge. Make sure the containers are dry before you add the spread to them, or be ready to welcome the infamous fungi.
- Make sure, the spoon you use to scoop the dip out of the jar is also bone dry.
- These can be used as dips or spreads on and for a variety of breads and nibbles.
- Sandwiches with these make amazing tiffin options. Just use your creativity and go berserk.
So there you go, just a few handy spreads to spread the joy and make your lives a simple cake walk. Do let me know how you liked these and, also, if you come up with any sandwiched favourites. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Facebook and while you’re at it, spread happiness the coming weekend! Until next time!