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5 Easy Starters

starters collage-of-sauces-dips-pates-and-spreads

5 Easy Starters

Don’t we all love the idea of an easy starter, something tasty and simple to put together with a minimum of effort?

The mere mention of guests dropping in has me thinking – ‘what snacks do I serve, what ingredients do I have at home?’ That’s our famed Indian hospitality in overdrive! Here, I’m sharing a few surefire winners that you can serve when you are short on time.

1.traditional-dip-with-potato-chips-and-beerYoghurt Dip with Chips:


2 cups firm yoghurt, preferably hung curd

2 cloves of garlic, well crushed into a fine paste

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp Colmans mustard


  1. Ensure that all the water is drained out of the curd.
  2. Mix the garlic, honey and mustard into the curd and blend well with a spoon.
  3. Serve the dip with old-fashioned salted chips.

2yoghurt-sauce-tzatziki-with-herbs.Paneer Dip:


250 gms homemade paneer
A bunch of coriander leaves and stems
2 green chilies
Juice of one lime
A tsp of garlic paste
Salt to taste


  1. Grind the ingredients in a food processor.
  2. This mixture can be served as a dip.
  3. Alternatively, wrap the mixture in a cling film and shape it into a log shape and leave to chill in the refrigerator for about an hour or two.
  4. Slice into circles and serve on Monaco salt biscuits.

Recipe courtesy my classmate – Anita George.

3.fried-baguette-slices-with-mushroomsMushroom Canapes:


  • 1 tbsp butter
  • A box of fresh mushrooms cleaned well and chopped fine
  • 2 green chilies chopped
  • 1 onion chopped fine
  • 1 cup of white sauce made with one tbsp butter, one tbsp flour and one teacup milk.
  • A small loaf of bread


  • Sauté the onion and green chilies in butter until the onion turns pink.
  • Add the mushrooms and fry until the water dries out.
  • Make the white sauce. Melt one tbsp of butter in a small saucepan and add the flour to it, fry on a low flame until the raw smell disappears. Add the cup of milk, removing from the fire and stirring continuously to ensure there are no lumps. Return to the flame until the mixture forms a sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the mushroom mixture to the white sauce.
  • Cut the edges of the bread slices. Quarter each slice and pile the mushroom mixture on top of the pieces and serve.

4.tomato-italian-appetizersTomato Bruschetta:


4 large tomatoes chopped into small pieces

1 clove garlic finely chopped

2 cloves garlic whole (to rub across the toasted bread)

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup basil leaves chopped

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 baguette cut into ½ inch slices (around 14 pieces).


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. In a bowl, mix the tomatoes, chopped garlic, olive oil, basil leaves and balsamic vinegar.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Toast bread in the oven in a single layer until golden brown.
  5. Take out of the oven and scrape the garlic along the top.
  6. Generously top with the tomato mixture.
  7. Drizzle a bit of olive oil before serving immediately.

Note: Readymade rusks can be heated in the oven lightly for 5 minutes and substituted in place of the bread.

5.chicken-glazed-with-sesame-seedsHoney and Sesame Sticky Chicken Wings


15 chicken wings

3 tbsp honey

½ cup tomato ketchup

1 tbsp soya sauce

1 tsp garlic paste

2 tsp olive oil

2 tbsps white sesame seeds for sprinkling


  1. Preheat the oven to 180-degree C.
  2. Use a sharp knife to cut each wing into half at the joint.
  3. Place in a large bowl.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients, except the sesame seeds. Toss to coat evenly. Season with pepper.
  5. Place in a large roasting tin and roast for little over an hour until golden brown and sticky.
  6. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the wings and serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy – The Friday magazine

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A tourism professional for 20 years, I was forced to take a sabbatical when my husband moved jobs. It turned out to be a blessing in some ways. I now exult in the luxury of time as my much-loved career had taken precedence over my family, home, health and friends. Slipping with ease into the role of domestic Goddess has not been easy. Mundane chores bore me to tears. Long distance parenting is what I enjoy the most- conversations with my 28-year-old son and 23-year-old daughter - lecturing them, cajoling them, scolding them and above all being a friend to them. My cat Kaddy and dog Zsa Zsa are my silent companions during the day, providing unconditional love in abundance. Pets are great stress busters provided you have systems in place for their care. Exercise is an integral part of my day, be it the gym or yoga. Bollywood dance classes are my passion. I have a confession to make - this Auntyji loves to dance :-)