Creamy Habanero Pickle Dip with Spicy Paneer Chips

Menu PartAppetizer/Small Plate
Cuisine TypeLatin
Cheese dip

Chef Brad Bergaus

Taco John’s

Cheyenne, Wyo.-based

This creamy dip blends ranch dressing, pickle juice and habaneros into two types of cheese to create several layers of flavor. It can be served with tortilla chips for dipping, but Chef Bergaus makes potato chip-crusted dippers from paneer cheese to triple the cheesy taste.



8 oz. labne kefir cheese

8 oz. cream cheese

½ cup ranch dressing

½ cup dill pickle juice

¼ cup habanero hot sauce, or to taste

2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill

2 garlic cloves

1 tbsp. sea salt

¼ tbsp. ground black pepper

1½ cups diced dill pickles (1/4-in. pieces)

Spicy Paneer Chips

Vegetable oil

1 bag (8.5 oz.) ruffled potato chips

6 tbsp. all-purpose flour

7½ oz. water

18 oz. spicy habanero paneer cheese, sliced lengthwise into ¼-in. strips


  1. For dip, in food processor, combine kefir, cream cheese, ranch dressing, pickle juice, hot sauce, dill, garlic, salt and pepper; process on high until smooth.
  2. Add dill pickle pieces; pulse until evenly distributed. (Do not over process; you want to keep pieces of pickle intact.)
  3. Transfer mixture to bowl; cover and refrigerate.
  4. Meanwhile, for chips, heat oil in deep fryer to 350 F. Place chips in clean food processor; process to form coarse crumbs. Transfer to plate; smooth into an even layer.
  5. In a mixing bowl, whisk flour and water until well blended. Dip sliced paneer into this batter to fully coat. Transfer to chip crumbs and coat well to ensure full coverage.
  6. Fry paneer strips in hot oil until golden brown, flipping halfway through, about 30 to 45 seconds per side. Transfer paneer chips to towel-lined baking sheet and hold hot.
  7. To serve, transfer pickle dip into individual ramekins and surround with 6 to 8 paneer chips.

Photo courtesy of California Milk Advisory Board

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