Ask Peter: Kiwi onion dip
How is it that your glamorous top-end restaurant (that would be The Sugar Club, ED) is serving the New Zealand classic Kiwi dip? I ate it along with the creamed paua and fry bread and was gobsmacked with the deliciousness of it all, but I have to say I initially thought: “they can’t be serious!” Ryan
It’s The Sugar Club (and Bellota’s) English executive chef Neil Brazier you must thank for the reinvention of Kiwi dip. When Neil first proposed the dish I couldn’t stop myself laughing — as I knew it would be seen by some as a rip-off and slightly controversial — but I knew that it would be truly scrumptious and that’s exactly what’s it’s become.
New Zealanders laugh when they see the dish on the menu. We try to explain the joke to tourists who, fair enough, don’t quite get it. I asked Neil to explain to my readers how it all came about. He’s happy to share the recipe for the dip with you, but he said you need to come in and have the dish yourselves as he’s not going to let you have the creamed paua or fry bread recipes. And that’s good for business!
Neil says: “I remember going to a barbecue when I first arrived in New Zealand a long time ago and being given this dip with batons of cucumber and carrot. I have to admit that for me the jury was out on this one at first. In The Sugar Club we obviously make ourselves from scratch and we serve it in these bright blue (almost) salt-pigs we had made specifically for the dish.
We serve the warmed creamed paua on one side, then we spoon the Kiwi dip into the other half. We also aerate some of the onion mixture so it’s soft and foamy and spoon this on top — I think it looks like breaking waves. The contrast in texture and colour is noticeable. The fry bread we make is really crunchy and crisp and we serve it in our bespoke brass bread baskets.
We encourage guests to use their fingers to dip the fry bread through both flavours and scoop it up. Inevitably they need to use a spoon to get the last bits out. However much I love my creation, I do believe that every Kiwi household knows how to mix a can of reduced cream and a packet of French onion soup together and add their own tweaks from there!
“I first learned what fry bread was and how to make it in Matauri Bay, Northland. At the same time I had my first taste of paua and creamed paua, which I thought was divine. In my fry bread, I add smoked kelp (seaweed) just to give it a bit extra “oomph”, but you don’t have to. We also roll ours really thin and fry like tortilla chips. You can use a pasta roller to do this. You can use any sort of bread, crisps or crackers to go with the dip if you don’t fancy making it, but rewana works well. The creamed paua is easy to make but even easier to devour!”
Get the recipe for Neil's Kiwi dip here
In our Ask Peter series, executive chef Peter Gordon answers your curly culinary questions. If you're stumped over something food-related, send your question to email@example.com and keep checking in for answers. You can read more on Peter on his website, have a read of his Ask Peter articles or check out his recipes on our site.