Creamy Chilli Garlic Spread

Getting into our summer mode to battle the life sucking heat and humidity of the Goan summer means converting the kitchen into a temporary deli. All we can stand to even consider eating are salads, sandwiches, cold cuts, grills, and fruit desserts. The plan every year is to batten down the hatches and just keep cool. Be happy about the mango laden trees and dream of the impending monsoon. Yup, that’s the plan.

My Indian kitchen goes into hibernation and my stores of hung yoghurt and fragrant herbs and salad oils come out. Out comes the steamer and on goes the oven. In all my summery, low calorie recipes, hung yoghurt is the silent hero. It is my secret ingredient for replacing high calorie salad dressings, sandwich spreads, dips, bases for cold soups etc. It forms a fantastic base for fruity desserts as well.

Though it is simple enough to make at home, like I did not too long ago, it is also easily available at supermarkets and the good old neighbourhood ‘Dairy Farm’ or ‘Dugdhalaya’. In India, ‘dairy farm’ is a generic in most cities to indicate a shop that sells fresh dairy products. You can get fresh buffalo or cow’s whole milk, yoghurt, paneer, ghee, hung yoghurt or chakka, freshly churned white butter and mawa. When my grandma had one of her famous lunches, we got sent to the dugdhalaya to buy huge quantities of full fat, and I mean full fat milk, chakka and mawa for her basundi, shrikhand and my favourite dudhi halwa.

Well, advancing age and a few heart attacks in the collective family considered (are you surprised??) meals turned healthier and the indulgences of the grand dinner parties kind of ebbed off.

So some things just get forgotten in the recesses of ones memory like the dugdhalaya when one day while making hung yoghurt at home, I found myself wishing I could get this ready-made. And then I remembered the visits of our childhood, steel cans swinging from 8yr old wrists to buy all the rich goodness that came out of a cow!

On my next visit to Pune I made a beeline for the dairy section of Chitale Bandhu Mithai Wale, Pune’s absolute best when it comes to traditional Maharashtrian sweets, snacks and dairy products. Armed with a couple of kilos of hung yoghurt, I was all set for the summer. Bring it on!


I make several variations of this spread and it sees me through any number of sandwiches, salads and dips. I even replace cheese on my pizza y applying a layer of the spread under the pizza paste! There’s dill cucumber and garlic, honey, mustard and walnut, black pepper, celery and pineapple, roasted garlic and red peppers with oregano or basil. A lovely breakfast spread is one with fresh pulpy fruit, honey and a pinch of black pepper or cinnamon! If you’re feeling too lazy like I do sometimes, stir in some fresh fruit preserve but don’t forget the spice!

Oh, and it’s not really rocket science but just a heads-up anyway. The yoghurt spreads that use dry or store bought ingredients like honey, mustard, chilli flakes etc. keep well in the refrigerator for up to two weeks but the ones with fresh ingredients like cucumber, roasted peppers etc. are good for about 4-5 days.


½ kg hung full fat yoghurt

¼ cup roasted crushed peanuts

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp fresh minced garlic

½ tsp red chilli flakes

Salt, a little extra than usual


½ kg hung full fat yoghurt

½ cup finely diced pineapple

2tbsp cup finely chopped tender celery

½ tsp fresh coarsely ground black pepper

1tsp caster sugar, in case the pineapple is too tart.

Salt, a little extra than usual


  1. Mix all the ingredients together making sure there are no lumps from the yoghurt and all the flavours are evenly distributed. Use an electric hand blender on slow speed for best results.
  2. Store in a dry, airtight container and it will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks depending on dry or fresh ingredients used.

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