Peruvian Salsa criolla, also known as Sarza criolla, is a South American salsa made with red onions and other vegetarian ingredients. This condiment is generally served with rice, toast, vegetable dishes, grilled meats and seafood dishes. Based on the dish that this salsa is accompanying, the ingredients used in its preparation vary. Greatly influenced by the Latin American culture, this salsa is mostly used as a side dish; however, it is also used in the preparation of other dishes. Papas a la Huancaina, a potato appetizer and ceviche are the most popular dishes known to use this condiment as an accompaniment.
Peruvian Salsa criolla, as the name suggests, is of Peruvian origin. Peruvian cuisine, is greatly influenced by European, Asian and Latin American cultures and this can be seen in most of its preparations. Salsa criolla is inspired by the Argentinian people, who, as per records, were and are called ‘criolles’, because of their Spanish descent. This also reflects on their food, which is known as ascriolla food. Hence, the ingredients used in this salsa are similar to those used in the Argentinian cuisine.
Ingredients and Preparation
Peruvian Salsa criolla is prepared with red onions as the key ingredient. These strong flavored onions are sliced thin like half-moon and mixed with finely sliced jalapenos, chopped parsley and/or cilantro, lemon juice, salt and pepper. The salsa is kept aside for some time for the flavors to blend in and settle and then served.
Note: The strong smell of the red onions can be cut down, if soaked in salted water for about 10 minutes and then rinsed and used.
Lime juice in the salsa helps in toning down the strong onion flavor, making it sweeter.
Variations of Peruvian Salsa Criolla Recipe
The basic recipe of Peruvian Salsa criolla has certain variations in terms of the ingredients used, with the exception of red onions and lemon juice, which are mandatory ingredients.
- Tomato, bell pepper, avocado, beets, boiled potatoes and chili peppers (hot Peruvian yellow pepper or habanero pepper) are other ingredients that can be included in the salsa, together or as desired.
- Vinegar is another ingredient that can be included in the salsa, but its tanginess at times cuts down on the strong flavor of red onions. Some people even add vegetable oil and cumin, for a little spiciness.
Note: If the ingredients used in the salsa make the dish heavy, it can be served as a regular side dish.
Peruvian Salsa criolla, like all other salsas is a low calorie dish that is also low in sugar, fat and cholesterol. However, the dietary fiber, vitamins and mineral content varies with the ingredients used, which makes this condiment very healthy.