Dips (also popular as dipping sauce) are sauces in which solid foods are dipped for coating with them. The dipped solid foods are then eaten. Dips of different varieties are served as popular accompaniments to dishes and some of them taste so good that they even dominate the dish. Tortilla chips, meat, cheese, pita bread, seafood, vegetables, dumplings and crackers are some of the dishes which are served with dips. Finger foods most commonly use dips. Not all sauces are dips. The difference between sauces and dips is in their application. Sauces may be spread on the food with which they are served whereas a dip is always used for dipping food into it. Some spreads are also used as dips by thinning their consistencies to enable dipping. Cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, cream fraiche are all spreads that can also be easily converted into dips. Popular dip recipes include those for Aioli, barbecue sauce, ketchup, marinara sauce, blue cheese dressing, fondue, some Indian chutneys, guacamole, and hummus amongst a large number of others. Dips are not cuisine specific and are prepared by many cuisines of the world in their own region-specific styles and with the usage of region specific ingredients.


Ingredients used in the Preparation of Dipping Sauces


Dips are usually savory in taste, though a bit of citrus presence is also see in quite a number of them. Sweet dessert dips as those made from chocolate, cream and cranberries are also quite common. Mayonnaise, anchovies, garlic, tomato, mustard, chili peppers, oil, crab, clam, spinach, onion, avocadoes, vinegar, cantucci, honey, chicken peas, beans, tofu, herbs, lemon, spices, and other ingredients are used for making different types of dipping sauces.


Method of Preparation of Dip Recipes


Dips of different varieties are prepared using different ingredients. However, the basic texture of most dips is smooth, which is either attained by the usage of a blender or by mashing the tenderized ingredient to a smooth consistency. Dips are also prepared by boiling the ingredient to a soft and smooth consistency. The basic process involves, tenderizing the ingredient, and making a smooth and wet sauce out of it.


Popular Dip Recipes


Dip recipes of different kinds are very popular. Some of them are discussed here:


• Aioli is a popular oily garlic dip. Sometimes mustard and egg are used, though is not used in the traditional version of the dip. This dip is made with the emulsion of garlic with olive oil. This Catalan dip is served as a popular accompaniment to merluça amb alhòli. It is also served with fish soup, seafood and also croutons.

• Ketchup, also known as catsup and more commonly as tomato sauce is a household accompaniment for potato chips, French fries, hot dogs and hamburgers amongst others. The basic tomato ketchup is prepared with tomato pulp or puree, vinegar, corn syrup, sugar herbs and spices. Red sauce, tommy sauce, dead horse or Tommy K are the other names by which this tomato dip is popularly known in different countries of the world.

• Barbecue sauce – this is a spicy and flavorful sauce used as an accompaniment for barbecued, grilled and fried meat dishes. The sauce is made of a tomato or mustard base. It is also one of the best partners for French fries.

• Bagna cauda- this is a garlic flavored anchovy dip served with vegetables.

• Chili con queso- a Tex Mex cheese dip spiced with chili and commonly served with tortilla chips.

• Fondue- A very popular Swiss cheese condiment.

• Hummus – a Levantine Arab chickpea dip usually made including tahini, an Arabian sesame paste.

• Guacamole- A savory dip made of avocados in combination with onions and chili peppers and savored with tortilla chips.

• Marinara sauce- breadsticks and pizza are commonly enjoyed with this tomato based dipping sauce.

• Garlic butter sauce- a creamy dip made by flavoring garlic with butter which is used as an accompaniment for pizza, seafood, fish and chicken dishes. Blue cheese dressing, ranch dressing, mustard dip, chili oil, bagoong( south east Asian fish paste), tentsuyu, vin santo( biscotti dip), tartar sauce and seafood sauce are other popular types of dipping sauces.


Healthy Dips


Dips, though mostly consumed for their tempting flavors, can also be healthy provided they are prepared in a healthy manner with the ingredients used. A healthy dip is always prepared using fresh ingredients and even if it is made-ahead, care is taken to preserve it well so that it does not get spoilt in quality. Any dip can be easily purchased from a store shelf these days as there are many companies producing a variety of dipping sauces, but one that is prepared freshly at home is seen to be the best when it comes to human health and nutritive worth of the dip.