Georgian Cuisine: Satsebeli Sauce Recipe
Have you tried real shish kabob made in an Armenian or Georgian restaurant? If you had an opportunity to try it, I'm sure you noticed that usually it is served with a special homemade sauce that has some herbs in it and is very flavorful and tasty. Today, I will present a recipe from a "far-away and exotic country" of super tasty things. And here is the recipe of a real Georgian satsebeli sauce, which is a must-have for meat dishes in their cuisine. Though now it is possible to buy satsebeli sauce in any Armenian, Russian, or Middle Eastern deli store, my mom and grandma keep doing it at home. Why? It's quick, easy, and VERY tasty and flavorful. Try it and you'll understand.
- 7oz (200g) of tomato paste
- 2 bunches of cilantro
- 4-5 cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon of vinegar
- 1/4 of a teaspoon of pepper
- 1 tablespoon of khmeli suneli, (this is a traditional Georgian spicy herbs mixture)
- 7oz (200g) of water
- 1 teaspoon of adjika chili paste
Before I share the satsebeli recipe, I think I have to talk about some ingredients that you might not have heard of before.
First of all, don't be afraid of the names, and don't cross out this recipe if you haven't ever heard of khmeli suneli and adjika. Adjika is a traditional in the Caucasus chili pasta sauce (attention: VERY HOT!). It is often used by itself as a dipping sauce or as a sauce to meat or pasta, but it is also an important ingredient for a satsebeli sauce. Khmeli suneli, as I said before, is a traditional Georgian mixture of spicy herbs. It is used in a variety of recipes (I'll be writing more of them in the future, so stay tuned) and gives great flavor to the dishes. Both adjika and khmeli suneli can be bought in your local Armenian, Russian, European, or Middle Eastern deli store, or even on Amazon:
You can also head to any supermarket, stock with necessary spices and make khmeli suneli yourself, it really takes a couple of minutes to make.
To make khmeli suneli, mix:
- 2 tablespoons of dried marjoram (or oregano if you can't find marjoram)
- 2 tablespoons of dried dill
- 2 tablespoons of dried summer savory
- 2 tablespoons of dried mint
- 2 tablespoons of dried parsley
- 2 tablespoons of coriander seed
- 1 tablespoons of dried fenugreek leaves
- 2 teaspoons of dried ground marigold petals
- 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds
- 2 crushed bay leaves
Let's Start Making Satsebeli
- Cut cilantro on small pieces. Don't use blender, this time it's better to do everything by hand. You think there is too much greens? No. That's what it should be.
- Add squeezed garlic, one full tablespoon of khmeli suneli, vinegar, pepper and adjika. Don't add too much of adjika if you are not used to really hot and spicy food. Not all of us are form the Caucasus or Mexico :) Also, keep in mind that real hotness and spiciness will appear a bit later.
- Pestle everything in a flavored paste. Now you know why we added vinegar, right? It helps to "wake up" all the aromas from the herbs and spices. Just smell... Do you feel? :)
- Add tomato paste and mix everything.
- Add water to desired consistency. The approximate ratio is 1:1.
- The sauce is ready. You can salt it if you feel like it. Pour it in a jar, cover with the lid and keep in the fridge (it can stay there for a week or more).
Enjoy the satsebeli sauce! You can serve it with everything: meat, cutlets, pasta, or use it just as a dipping sauce. The only important thing: don't warm it! Satsebeli sauce should be served cold!