Salsa de albahac, or basil sauce (Bolivia)

Bolivia is a large landlocked country in South America, named after Símon Bolívar, an important figure in the independence of several Latin American countries. A former part of the Inca empire, it remains a very multinational country with 37(!) official languages. It is also one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, with rainforest, valleys and savanna and enormous altitude variations. There are over 3,000 species of butterflies and over 4,000 types of potatoes are produced in Bolivia! Folk music, dance, football and table football are culturally important. Malnutrition and lack of sanitation remain major problems. Infant mortality and maternal death rate in Bolivia are among the highest in the world.

The cuisine of Bolivia is mostly a mixture of Spanish and indigenous cuisines. The staples of Bolivian cuisine are beans, corn and potatoes. Corn, sometimes purple corn, is also made into a drink called chicha. Rice is eaten regularly, as well. Quinoa is losing popularity, as much of it is now being exported abroad. Many meats are consumed, from iguana to llamas and guinea pigs, as well as more common types like pork and chicken. Meat is often served in skewers. Ají peppers (several related types of chili peppers, most of them hot and quite fruity) are an important spice. Lunch is the main meal in Bolivia, including several courses, dessert and coffee. Bolivians enjoy afternoon tea (té), often in tea salons which also serve baked goods. The tea may be either black tea or yerba maté.

This recipe for a basil sauce comes from Bolivia Bella. I found the original recipe way too acidic, so I halved the amount of vinegar and lemon juice. Otherwise it was quite tasty.

Salsa de albahac

Salsa de albahac

1 cup/2.4 dl plain non-dairy yoghurt (homemade is best, as usual)
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup/1.2 dl fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp green onion tails (or chives)
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Mix or blend all ingredients together (if blending, you don’t have to chop the basil or press the garlic, of course). Serve on a veggie burger or similar, I used pizza-flavoured tofu.

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