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I made a delicious yogurt/cream/mint/garlic sauce the other day but the presentation was less than becoming. I simply roasted some garlic and mixed the rest of the ingredients together. I used very little cream because I didn't want the yogurt to get runny (or be too fattening). what's a good trick to make a velvety smooth yogurt based dip?

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And the problem was that it was clumpy? As in the yogurt curdled or there were chunks of garlic? Or was it lowfat yogurt that didn't smooth out enough when mixed? –  Sobachatina Aug 13 '12 at 20:35
    
chunks of garlic. I didn't want to whip out the mixer and possibly mix in to much air to make it meringue-ish (there weren't any eggs in it so this may not have even been possible). I also thought about heating it on the stove and then letting it cool down but I worried about the texture of the yogurt breaking down. either one of those fears founded? –  wootscootinboogie Aug 13 '12 at 20:40
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Your fear of heating yogurt is well founded. Without some sort of stabilizer, like corn starch, yogurt has more than enough acid to curdle in the presence of heat. I can't say that I have ever tried blending a yogurt sauce. If you are using unstrained yogurt, the blending would cause a lot of whey to leak out. Otherwise I fear it would be so viscous as to make blending ineffective. –  Sobachatina Aug 13 '12 at 21:13
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"Clumpy Yogurt Conundrum" is a great name for a band! –  Doug Aug 13 '12 at 22:04
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I blend yogurt dips all the time, and nothing happens. You have to heat yogurt a lot to curdle it, a blender doesn't create such temperatures. And a mixer won't beat air into pure yogurt, but the cream might take some, so an immersion blender is best in this case. –  rumtscho Aug 13 '12 at 23:17

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The word you want for research purposes is raitha - there are lots of ideas about how to make raitha.

If you want a garlic flavour, the lazy way is to use the garlic paste you can buy in jars. The paste is ground so fine it will avoid the texture problems without any effort.

The commonest flavours are mint or chilli, sometimes both together. Those get served with chopped onion, cucumber and tomato - or with papadoms/pappads.

I find the most popular dipping versions result from the inclusion of a little mango chutney, Major Grey is good because it has ginger, too.

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ah! i love learning new words. many thanks in your native tongue whatever it may be. –  wootscootinboogie Aug 13 '12 at 21:55
    
my native tongue is English - but the commonest language in my street is Punjabi! –  klypos Aug 13 '12 at 22:45
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Is it just me, or does this not really answer the question? This answer is all about flavor, but I read the question as being about texture ("velvety smooth"). Could one or the other of these be edited if this is going to remain the accepted answer? –  Laura Aug 15 '12 at 2:18
    
The answer has been edited to explicitly say how it avoids the texture problem. Happy now? –  klypos Aug 15 '12 at 20:17

You want the garlic flavor but not the chunks of garlic?

You can crush your garlic and let it sit in a couple tablespoons of warm olive oil for a while. Remove the garlic and whisk the now-flavored oil into your sauce. Besides adding the garlic flavor, the oil will also make your sauce develop a beautiful, glossy sheen.

Personally, when I make similar sauces, I just crush my garlic and mince it fine. There are very small chunks in the sauce but they are impossible to see and only rarely felt on the tongue. I don't find it objectionable.

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I'm an avoid, albeit green cook with little understanding of classical cooking methods. I really wasn't all that against the appearance of food, but improvements can always be made. For me, there's almost never enough garlic. Especially if it's roasted. Thanks :) –  wootscootinboogie Aug 13 '12 at 21:36

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