Do the Salsa!

May 29, 2013, 05:31 IST | Dhara Vora

May is celebrated as National Salsa (dip) Month in the US. We don't need an official statement to celebrate this spicy dip, so we went around town to look for different variants of this dip, and also got a few recipes to help you whip up one on your own

An entire month dedicated to salsa sauce might sound vain to us (imagine National Chutney Month!), but it gave us a good pretext to scour for some of the yummiest varieties of this tangy and spicy dip in the city. Besides, we simply love the flavour that the little bowl of dip adds to anything, from the humble toast to khakras! Our city’s restaurants have gone the extra mile with variants of this dip paired with interesting innovations.

Ready Mexican dips available at Foodhall

Tadka with a twist
For example, the rooftop watering hole, The Big Bang Bar and Cafe in Bandra, gives an Indian twist to its salsa sauce. The chef mixes in a few Indian herbs to it and completes it with a tadka (tempering of spices), which lends it the ability to match a multitude of dishes. “Our salsa sauce is one that is a little more ethnic. We have experimented with the tomato puree and different tadkas so that our salsa can universally appeal to most meats and vegetable patties alike. It is amazing how Indian herbs come together — such an accompaniment can even change the taste of the dish. We serve salsa with quesadillas, nachos, chicken fingers, Mexican patty burgers, or any other dish on request,” says Mangesh Vaze, Head Chef at the cafe.

 Aji Crusted Haddock with Mango Salsa at Olive bar & kitchen

Khar eatery Sanchos has created a seasonal special version of the dip – Mango Chilli Salsa. “As mango is a seasonal fruit and is available only for two months, we wanted to make the most of it by combining the sweetness, and rich flavour of fresh Alphonso mangoes with the spice of fresh red chillies,” their chef Vikas Seth reveals.

Veg Quesadillas with Salsa and Sour cream from Big Bang Bar and Cafe

They pair their Mango Chilli Salsa with Guajillo Ocean Fresh Lobster Tacos, “The lobster is pan-tossed in Guajillo chilli along with pimentos and arranged in crispy corn tacos and topped with Mango Chilli Salsa. The natural sweetness of lobster blends well with the spiced mango salsa and makes a exciting mouthful with crispy tacos,” adds Seth. The restaurant also does variants and pairings including Mango Pineapple Salsa with Smokey Chipotle Chicken Tenders; and Spiced Jalapeno and Mango Salsa with Serrano Rubbed Red Snapper.

Mango magic
Mango seems to be the preferred ingredient this month as restaurants are making salsa variants with the popular fruit: Jamjar in Versova does Crispy Basa Tostadas with Mango Salsa while Olive Bar & Kitchen in Mahalaxmi pairs a Mango Jalapeno Salsa with Aji Crusted Haddock. “It is excellent as a standalone dish or with chips, but goes best with any seafood. The Burnt Tomato Salsa is great with grilled meats, cold cuts and once again can be eaten even without anything,” says Mayank Tiwari, chef at Olive. 

Make your own salsa
Here is an easy recipe by food writer and stylist Rushina Ghildiyal. Apart from chips, the dip works well as a spicy but light and fresh pasta sauce; as an accompaniment to breakfast and as a topping for toast. Ghildiyal suggests a ripe avocado as an addition for luscious texture.
1 tbsp oil,
1 large onion, chopped fine
6 garlic cloves, chopped fine
1 whole stalk celery, washed and chopped fine
2-3 Jalapeno peppers or more if you like things spicy (If you are using brined Jalapenos wash them and chop fine) optional
1 cup chopped tomatoes,
100 ml tomato ketchup
Tabasco to taste
Juice of 2 limes
2-3 green chillies chopped fine,
1/2 cup coriander,
chopped fine
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients and stir well, mashing them together as you mix.
Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
Cool and refrigerate. Use cold or at room temperature. 

Foodhall offers a variety of Mexican dips such as Queso Dip, Green Mango Salsa, Smokey Tomato Salsa and many more. One can either buy these dips individually or as a hamper for R450. They even offer a live counter where you can learn how to make the dip or ask the chef to make a fresh batch and pay by weight.

AT Foodhall, Palladium, Lower Parel.
ALSO Nature’s basket stores across the city offer different options of salsa.

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