Friday, September 25, 2009

An Introduction to Mexican Salsas

By Kc Kudra

A lot of people's experience with salsa begins and ends with the mass-marketed grocery store salsas. Usually on the milder side and mostly made from tomato, these are definitely the type which most Americans are familiar with. While this is a style of salsa that you will also run across in Mexico, there are many other kinds of Mexican salsas to choose from at specialty shops; you can also make your own at home.

Salsa has become very popular in the past few decades, finally eclipsing even ketchup as the best selling condiment in the US. Of course, most of this salsa is the mild grocery store salsas we spoke of earlier; but you should definitely branch out and discover some new favorites as well. Many Mexican salsa recipes call for a little more heat than you may be accustomed to, but there is a salsa for everyone from the chili lover to those who cannot take much in the way of spice. Of course, when you make your own salsa, you can adjust the heat level to your own tastes.

Salsa is the Spanish word for "sauce" and while it conjures a certain type of sauce to our minds, the word is used to refer to all manner of different condiments seen at the table in Mexico and increasingly, the US as well. There are salsa recipes, which are made from many different ingredients.

Other than the basic tomato salsa with onions. Herbs and peppers (usually jalapeno or Serrano peppers), you will also find many green salsas (called salsa verde in Spanish) which are made from tomatillos and green chilies. There are also salsas made from ground pumpkin seeds and nuts with chocolate and chilies, salsas made from dried chilies like pasilla and guajillo peppers and even fruits!

For those looking for Mexican recipes like a milder Mexican salsa recipe, which offer something, a little bit different, a fruit salsa may be in order. Peach salsas are especially popular, with the sweetness and tartness of the peaches and tomatoes complimenting each other perfectly.

It is easy to make your own fruit-based salsas as well. While peach and mango are two of the best fruits for this purpose, you can experiment in your kitchen to find a salsa recipe that you are fond of.

One of the easiest salsas to make is pico de gallo. The name means "rooster's beak" in Spanish and can be made in almost no time at all. You may have tried this salsa yourself in a restaurant; but it is easy and quick to make at home and it is an ideal complement for many Mexican dishes as well as being a great dip for tortilla chips. The recipe is very simple, calling for diced tomato, onion and jalapeno along with cilantro and a little limejuice. It is simplicity itself, but incredibly good.

Since the space we have here is not enough to cover all of the different delicious Mexican salsas and salsa recipes, which there are to try, we hope that this introduction has sparked your interest in exploring these condiments further. It's easy to make your own salsas at home and with some experimentation and a little of your own creative touch, you're certain to come up with some new salsa recipes which can bring an entirely new dimension to your Mexican recipes and any other dishes you choose to serve them with.

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