Friday, August 19, 2011

Spicy Tomato-Mango Salsa.

Something I find really hard to come across is a good bowl of Salsa. Or a good Mexican restaurant for that matter, here at Madras. Ketchup and loads of water and chopped onion does not a salsa make. Really, truly, that's up there on my list of food sacrilege.

I think I should add at this point that watered-down yogurt should in no way be named sour cream, but there is a limit to the number of things one can crib about!

So fold up your sleeves, and make yourself a hugeass batch of spicy tomato salsa. And before you do that, hunt for the last few mangoes of the season... they don't have to be super sweet, like mangoes that go into dessert have to. A little tang and juice heightens the salsa to bowl-licking glory.

It was just what I needed on one of those Ramadan late-nights, when I couldn't face another Unidentifiable Deep-Fried Object.

This salsa was light, spicy, and punchy all at the same time. And I know posh tortilla chips cost a bomb (any where from 200 bucks upward for a packet), so settle for some pretty decent Senor Pepito's Jalapeno flavoured tortilla chips.

Or go down the healthier, cheaper route: a chapati cut into triangles (like the spokes of a chakra), sprinkled with some cumin and paprika and cheddar cheese and baked at 180 for 5 minutes. Delicious.

For such a simple recipe, that is uncooked and eaten fresh, you have to-have to-have to pick up organic, fresh, seasonal produce. Or bookmark this recipe until you can lay your hands on some.

I clearly doubled the recipe.

The paprika and jalapenos, you can pick up at Nilgris and slightly upmarket groceries. As for the onion/garlic powders, I suggest you give Spice Route a try.

Spicy Tomato-Mango Salsa:

2 big whole jalapeno peppers (I used tinned, seeds and all)
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 large fresh tomatoes, chopped and deseeded
28 ounces can tomato (my substitute works better!)*
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 yellow onion, coarsely chopped (I used regular)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves
1 medium mango, chopped
juice of one lime

Taco seasoning:

2 tbsp cumin, toasted
1/2 tsp paprika
3 dried red chillies
Red chilli powder, sea salt and pepper, to taste
garlic and onion powder to taste (I skipped it for this recipe)

*Instead of the canned tomatoes, I blanched around 900g of fresh tomatoes in boiling water for 15 seconds, took it out and shocked it in a bowl of ice water, peeled them, drained them completely of the water, halved and deseeded them.


In a mixie, pulse the jalapenos and garlic until they are minced into fine little bits.

To make the taco seasoning:

Powder the toasted cumin, chilli flakes, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper to a coarse texture. Store in an airtight container and use as desired.

Add in all of the other ingredients except for the mangoes.

Pulse in short pauses, and keep checking to see if they've reached your desired consistency. Some like it chunky, some not so much.

Don't let it get any more watery than you see in the photo above! It tends
to dilute over time!

Taste the salsa, adjust the seasoning according to your palate.

Stir in half of the chopped mango. Don't add it all, as it tends to macerate over time and I like a few pieces to have a bite to them and add it at the last minute.

Pour the salsa into an airtight container and refrigerate for 2 hours minimum, so all of the flavours sink in.

While serving, the remaining mangoes and some more fresh mango pieces.

Source: adapted for the Indian kitchen from Annie's Eats

Oh. I made every component of the taco you see below. I cite unavailability and horrendously expensive "exotic" ingredients as reasons. 

The refried beans, the sour cream, salsa, shrimp and even the corn tortillas (without masa harina!). One of the most from-scratch and satisfying meals of all time. If only I had followed it up with churros or a can of Dulce de Leche.

Mmm. Dulce de Leche. Challenge accepted!


  1. If you would make Dulce de leche cheesecake, my respect for your cooking abilities would reach new heights.

    And it's uncanny how I can tell which TV series you're watching from your posts!

  2. I would kill to make Dulce de Leche cheesecake! The sad part being that a small tub of Philadelphia cream cheese and mascarporne and condensed milk would require roughly 4 days salary.

    And, HIMYM is somewhat of a staple on Indian television... right behind Friends and The Simpsons!

  3. I would offer to send the above through my mom, but since I hear nothing about the promised S'mores, I am not sending you any!

  4. The S'mores were feasted on by my sister and nephew. I hold them responsible.

    And I figured out how to skirt around minor issues and make a semi-decent cheesecake! Next post!