The stuff I made for the pool party was called Manchurian Dip (but I'd like to think of a better name for it). It is really unappetizing to look at, but people went nuts over it. I can't describe the flavor, although it's definitely spicy. All I can say is that people kept coming up to me all evening saying, "Are you the one who made that dip?" and trying to guess the ingredients. I served it with (purchased) pita chips.
1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 small green chile pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped (I used serrano.)
1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
2 large celery ribs, coarsely chopped
1 large bunch cilantro, including stems, coarsely chopped (Yes, you all know I hate cilantro, but what can you do.)
10 medium cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups ketchup (Heinz, of course.)
1/4 cup soy sauce (Trader Joe's low-sodium.)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder (Penzeys regular.)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a food processor, combine the carrot, chili pepper, onion, celery, and cilantro. (My food processor couldn't hold it all until I started puréeing; then I added more.) Add garlic and pulse until blended.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Put the puréed vegetables in the pan and heat through, 3–4 minutes. Add ketchup and soy sauce and cook for 10 minutes more. (It splattered like mad! Keep stirring!) Reduce the heat to medium-low.
When the sauce starts to thicken, add the sugar, chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm for the best flavor or at room temperature. Makes 2 quarts.