There are frozen samosas on the takeout menu this week, and so it seemed to make sense to write out some of the dipping sauce recipes I most often use with them.
In a small food processor bowl whirr 1 cup of mint leaves, ½ cup cilantro leaves, and 3 Tb oil until pureed. Mix with about (depending on the thickness you want) ¼ cup plain yogurt, 2 Tb buttermilk, generous pinches of salt and pepper.
Often when I’m making Indian food I make a chili paste at the beginning of the day, which is just fresh chiles pureed with a little water – I like the hot cherry peppers at Hunger Mountain (if you don’t know what kind you want, check out this guide from Chowhound). http://www.chowhound.com/food-news/55198/know-your-peppers/ Then you can make a very tasty dip by combining good quality plain yogurt (Butterworks Jersey is my pick), chopped cilantro leaves, chiles and salt. I do this by taste so am afraid I don’t have quantities. You really can’t go far wrong.
Tamarind-Date Hot Sauce
- 1 cup deglet dates
- 6 dried thai chiles (more or less to your preferred heat)
- 1 Tb tamarind concentrate
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
- ¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp salt
In a small saucepan combine dates, chiles, and water just to the top of the dates. Cover, bring to a boil, then take off the heat and leave to sit 20 minutes. Combine this saucepan with the remaining ingredients in the food processor and puree until smooth.
Peruvian Green Sauce
Below is a variation on a Ricardo Zarate sauce from Fire of Peru (and also linked online somewhere but I cannot for the life of me find it again). Another tasty green sauce is this one from Serious Eats.
- 1-2 medium jalapeños deseeded and deveined
- 1 medium bunch fresh cilantro, leaves and top two-thirds of stems
- 1 scant tsp. finely minced garlic
- 1 1/2 Tb aji amarillo paste (this paste appears in pretty much every single Peruvian recipe so on that basis it’s worth buying – a substitute would probably be to puree a mix of roasted red bell peppers and hot peppers)
- 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese, queso fresco, or tofu
- 5 Tb red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 Tb huacatay paste (the original recipe calls for fresh or frozen leaves, but the paste is what I found – it’s like cilantro but earthier and some people say there’s a mint flavor too. It tastes pretty darn delicious in sauces and so it’s likely worth the investment)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- My addition: 3 Tb pumpkin seed oil, which is delicious and available at Alla Vita in town, and I use it all the time if I’m making Mexican food and it tastes like something is missing to round out the flavors.
- 1 tsp kosher salt
Puree in a blender until smooth.