crudités with curry leaf coconut sambol dip

My friend, Lulu, “love(s) a good crudités!” And she’s the furthest thing from a raw food-ist or vegetarian—follow her on Instagram to see what I mean. But crudités is something she cannot resist when she sees it on a menu, and that’s how she got me so into them. She’d order it from places like the Nomad in New York, for instance, where an example of the vegetables that arrived for dipping were French breakfast radishes, bottoms dipped in melted, salted butter that was allowed to harden again into a delicious shell. Crudités can be good. I don’t get super-fancy about it when I serve a platter of them, but I have been inspired to do better than out-of-season asparagus and onion dip. You’re eating raw vegetables so if they are fresh, young, in-season, sliced properly (if your radishes are extremely peppery, slice them into tolerable bites!), they will be enjoyable. If they are not, they are going to be a chore to chew, maybe flavourless, maybe boring.

You can go a million ways with the dip, thick, thin, salty, buttery. I’ve chosen to turn my Dad’s coconut sambol into a crudités dip here. One time he made it as mouthwateringly good as ever but too thin for his purposes and I couldn’t stop myself from mopping it up with everything I could find.

Crudités with Curry Leaf Coconut Sambol Dip

For the dip:
Fresh coconut works best in this recipe, but frozen coconut found in many South-Asian grocery stores works well also. Just thaw it and squeeze out excess liquid. If you cannot get either, unsweetened, desiccated or dehydrated coconut works wonderfully.

Fresh curry leaves are always available in south-asian grocery stores and at some larger markets and mass-market grocery stores too.

*Omit the green chili if you’d like a mild dip. Add sour cream if you want a creamier dip.

1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1 small clove of garlic, thinly sliced
1 fresh green chili, stemmed and chopped (optional)*
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbs white vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup fresh or frozen curry leaves
1 cup freshly scraped coconut, see head note*
1 cup or less sour cream (optional)*

Into the bowl of your food processor add the shallot, garlic, chili, mustard powder, pepper, salt, vinegar, and a 1 tbs of the water. Blend until combined. Wipe down the sides of the bowl, add the curry leaves and another tbs of water and blend again. Wipe down the sides once again, add the coconut and continue to blend until completely combined. Wipe down the sides and add the remaining water and puree until creamy and consistently coloured.

Chill for at least half an hour. Check seasoning and consistency and add sour cream a little at a time to make a creamier, more tart dip if you wish.

Makes 1 1/3 – 2 1/3 cups depending on the addition of sour cream.

For the vegetables:
Wash, trim and prep the raw vegetables of your choice, such as snap peas, endive leaves, radishes, peppers, cucumbers or zucchini. Arrange on a platter, cover and chill until ready to serve with a bowl of sambol dip.

This story and recipe appear in GREEN, Issue 017 of Le Sauce Magazine.