Curried Yogurt Dip with Basil, Serrano, and Lime

Nom nom nom nom nom nom.

For once in my life, I’m supposed to consume more calories: I’m pregnant! This insatiable incubator needs fuel! I have to eat every two hours or my body starts to freak out.  I feel like T-Rex in the kitchen, stalking my prey. (Minus the vestigial arms.)

As I clean a fistful worth of salt-n-vinegar chip residue from my keyboard, I realize that even though I’d like to use pregnancy as an excuse to get fat on ice cream, I have to balance my indulgences with good nutrition.  I must pack my newly re-purposed body with mostly fruit and veg.

Enter this cool curried yogurt sauce — it makes an outstanding veggie dip.

The warmth of toasted curry powder, the brightness of fresh basil, the heat of a serrano chile, and the citrus kick of lime zest are all stirred into your favorite plain yogurt.  The flavors might seem a little odd (Indian curry and basil?), but the combination works.  This dip’s got enough going on to keep yet another bag of baby carrots interesting.

Try it with carrots, sliced red bell peppers, cauliflower florets, broccoli florets, or sugar snaps.

If you’re not into spicy food, substitute a milder jalapeno for the serrano, seed it, and use just a little. You’ll need the fresh flavor from the chile but you’ll be omitting much of the heat.  You can also use a mild curry powder.  (I use a hot variety.)

This dip also makes a great sauce for fish.  I haven’t tried it yet, but I imagine it would be awesome with grilled chicken kebabs piled atop basmati rice.  If you find another good use for it, leave a comment and let me know!

Curried Yogurt Dip with Basil, Serrano, and Lime
Thick Greek yogurt warmed with curry and chilies and brightened with fresh basil and lime zest. Serve cold as a veggie dip or as a sauce for seared fish or grilled chicken.

Serves 2

Adapted from Sally Schneider’s The Improvisational Cook

1 cup thick Greek-style yogurt, see *note
1 tsp. yellow curry powder
1 Tbs. fresh basil, minced
1 tsp. lime zest
1 tsp. serrano pepper, seeded and minced
1/4 tsp. sugar
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste

Toast curry: In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the curry powder until fragrant, about 1 minute, swirling pan occasionally to prevent burning.

Seed the serrano: Wear gloves when handling chilies. Remove stem end. Cut serrano lengthwise into fourths.  Use a paring knife to scrape out all seeds and attached membranes.  Mince.

Mix yogurt, toasted curry powder, basil, lime zest, serrano, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes to let flavors meld, then adjust seasonings if needed. (Sauce will get slightly spicier as it sits.)

Serve cold.

Keeps up to one week in the refrigerator.

*Note: If you cannot easily find Greek yogurt, you can thicken American yogurt for a similar result.  Drain yogurt in a sieve lined with cheesecloth, set over a large bowl.  Refrigerate for 2-3 hours, until most of the liquid has drained away. Start with twice the volume of yogurt you’ll need once it’s thickened.


2 responses to “Curried Yogurt Dip with Basil, Serrano, and Lime

  1. Leslie

    I thicken yogurt using a strainer lined with a coffee filter over a measuring cup.

  2. darla

    Yes, Leslie, that is a great alternative for thickening yogurt. Thanks!