The One Ingredient That Changed My Sour Cream Dip Game Forever

September  3, 2018

It is very nice and satisfying to tear open a packet of Lipton onion soup mix, stir it into a tub of sour cream, and call it a day. Served alongside Ruffles chips (because, let's be real, Ruffles chips are the best), French onion dip aka "California dip" can feed large, hungry crowds in one fell swoop. Plus, it's freaking delicious.

I've spent much of my early dinner-party-throwing years trying too hard with pureed soup shooters, salades composées, and hors d'oeuvres that take forever to prepare. But when I look back, sour cream dip is the one thing I still make today in my adult life for my adult friends, in my adult kitchen. It's what people want.

Delicious though French onion dip is, I wanted a dip that was more...me.

When I think, What is "me"? (which isn't hard for an egotist like myself), the flavor notes that come to mind are rice vinegar, sesame oil, and roasted seaweed snack—Korean-style salted, cooked nori. Maybe because they encompass how I like to season my food: with acid (rice vinegar), with salt (roasted seaweed snack), and with nuttiness, or what the Koreans call gosohan mat (sesame oil). Over the years these ingredients have crept their way into most of my recipes, to the point where it's a running joke here that I'm casually developing a nori column.

A Love Letter to Nori

This is how I crudités. Photo by Rocky Luten

I present to you my Nori Sour Cream Dip. A sour cream dip all the same, but Korean-inflected and with nuance. Instead of Lipton onion soup mix, that deliciously desiccated "maraca-shake of onions rattling in a paper packet," as Amy Thielen once called it, mine calls for a couple packets of those roasted seaweed snacks that I grew up eating, and that have been in vogue among the Trader Joe's generation as of late. It's the secret ingredient in much of my cooking, gives everything a savory note that hits all the pleasure centers of the brain.

It's what people want.

This dip is salty, creamy, and umami-rich, makes you want to eat vegetables (which I don't do very often). Though it tastes great with bitter, crunchy veg like radishes, radicchio, and endive (sweet carrots and cucumbers are very good, as well), more often than not I eat it with potato chips, roast chicken, heck, even fried rice. Nori sour cream dip is versatile, and in its versatility lies its charm as a dip-slash-sauce-slash–dinner party savior.

It's one of those recipes that people always ask me for. Even when I've seem to have cooked a thousand other more complicated, more delicious things, this five-minute dip is the one everyone seems to remember most.

What's your favorite sour cream dip? Let us know in the comments below.

Dip These


Jem R. September 10, 2018
The thing I wasn't expecting in the comments: finding my people. Ruffles! I get them almost every time I'm at a non fancy grocery store. They're my reward for avoiding more expensive impulse buys.
Author Comment
Eric K. September 10, 2018
Welcome home, Jem.
Eva C. September 7, 2018
Even if I didn't consider myself a foodie, all my friends do, so who am I to disagree? I grew up in the day before every flavor imaginable chip. Good, old-fashioned fried chips with salt was it. Wise brand, on the east coast, was THE chip, forget about anything from Lay's. Until Ruffles. Ruffles with rrrridges. Right! OMG, I can't have them in my home to this day because they won't last the night. Definite addiction. The only hope is complete abstinence. Lipton's onion soup dip was also the only dip around. I was never big on dip, gilding the lily, IMHO. Although, your nori dip has piqued my taste buds. I'm overdue for a trip to TJ's. Completely out of their Corn no tomato Salsa. Ruffles would sing with TJ's Corn Salsa!
Author Comment
Eric K. September 8, 2018
Eva, Ruffles rule. I just bought a bag last night and polished it off after dinner.<br /><br />Just kidding, it never made it home.
Jaye B. September 7, 2018
I'm suspicious of any foodie who thinks Ruffles are the best potato chip. My favorite sour cream dip is a dill recipe that includes Beau Monde, a seasoning that adds a great dimension to the flavor and is especially good with crudites.
Nan G. September 6, 2018
Worcestershire sauce has been my go-to for adding to a sour cream/Lipton's Onion soup dip.<br />But these ideas of Asian additives make sense when veggie chips are on the table.<br />I'll definitely try nori or sesame oil soon.
Author Comment
Eric K. September 6, 2018
Veggie chips are a great idea w/ nori dip.
Karen L. September 6, 2018
Sounds amazing. Love all nori-esque flavors. Love the onion dip so this is a must-try! :)
Author Comment
Eric K. September 6, 2018
Let me know how it goes!