Lisa Fain, a seventh-generation Texan, cooks up all types of chile-cheese dips, both conventional and quirky, in Queso!
Texas has a strong Asian Indian community, and since Tex-Mex and Indian cuisines both embrace chiles, cilantro, and spices such as cumin, dishes that unite the two are becoming more common. One example of this fusion is Indian-style queso. The version I’ve included here is similar to one served at Austin’s Whip In, a lively Indian restaurant and bar. Its foundation is traditional, as it’s made with melted brick processed cheese. What makes this queso truly stand apart from others is the chutney topping made with jalapeños, cilantro, coconut, and ginger. This dip is both familiar and fresh, and a fine example of how Texan queso culture is evolving.
- To make the chutney, place the jalapeños, garlic, cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, coconut, cumin, salt, and ginger in a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if you like.
- To make the queso, in a medium saucepan, combine the cheese, milk, cumin, paprika, and cayenne. Cook over low heat, stirring, until the cheese has melted. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if you like.
- Transfer the queso to a serving bowl, a small slow cooker, or a chafing dish over a flame. Top with the chutney and garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve warm with tortilla chips.
Reprinted with permission from "Queso!" by Lisa Fain, copyright © 2017, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.