Step up with this fruity salsa

Step up your culinary game with this very fruity mango raspberry salsa. – Pictures by CK Lim

KUALA LUMPUR, April 15 — Mention salsa and some folks will think of the Latin American dance form, with its sexy Puerto Rican and Cuban rhythms. For foodies though, a sexier form of sashaying might well be strutting into the kitchen and mixing up a bowl of fiery salsa.

This dip commonly made with tomatoes, onions and jalapeños originated in Mexico though other parts of Latin America have their own takes: chimichurri, so beloved of the anti-hero Deadpool in comics, is a vinegary parsley sauce served with grilled meats in Argentina; garlic-heavy mojo is the salsa of choice in Cuba; and piri piri in Peru uses bird’s eye chillies, which ought to get a nod of approval from most Malaysians.

The ingredients are almost always raw; the salsa verde with its cooked tomatillos being the most famous exception. Along the way, less time-honoured versions have become popular too — creamy avocado salsa (different from a guacamole, which traditionally omits tomatoes and chillies, though these have increasingly common too), refreshing pineapple salsa and the sweet-and-sour mango salsa.

A handful of raspberries or twoA handful of raspberries or twoThe latter version is especially good with tacos and tortilla chips or as a side to accompany grilled fish and steak, thanks to its profusion of different flavours — sweetness and acidity, along with a real kick from the chillies. To step up and add another dimension to this dip, though, why not try some raspberries for a real fruity salsa?

Yes, raspberries.

For one, the tartness of raspberries is different from the sharpness of the lime juice; more mellow and with a tinge of grape-like sweetness. Adding a few of these berries also increases the nutritional content of the salsa, thanks to their rich levels of antioxidants. Plus, the salsa will definitely look more colourful and pretty!

Ripe mango is a delight to behold... and savour! (left). Cherry tomatoes in pretty little rows (right)Ripe mango is a delight to behold… and savour! (left). Cherry tomatoes in pretty little rows (right)At the end of the day, a salsa is one of those dishes that just begs for reinvention, depending on what’s in season or whatever ingredients you fancy using. There might be such a thing as an authentic salsa, but even the most punctilious of tastebuds wouldn’t mind some creative licence — not when the results taste so good!


Choose a mango that’s ripe but still a bit firm. Otherwise, if the mango’s too soft, dicing it can be a nightmare more akin to juicing the fruit! Alternatively, for greater texture variation, you can try a mix of ripe and green mangoes, using half a fruit each. That added crunch from the young mango could be just what you need to lift this dish up.

Fresh cilantro adds a distinctive fragrance to the salsa (left). Other salsa basics include red onions, chillies and limes (right)Fresh cilantro adds a distinctive fragrance to the salsa (left). Other salsa basics include red onions, chillies and limes (right)Use fewer or more chillies depending on the level of heat you (or your guests) can handle. Traditionally jalapeños are used but these can be hard to find or expensive. If you fancy even more heat, use cili padi (bird’s eye chillies) instead of red chillies — that will take it one step closer to the Peruvian piri piri style of salsa.


1 ripe mango, diced into small cubes

6-8 raspberries, whole

6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 medium-sized red onion, finely diced

5 red chillies, finely sliced

A small bunch of fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely torn

Juice of one lime

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil


Toss the mango, raspberries, cherry tomatoes, red onion, chillies, cilantro and lime juice together in a large mixing bowl. Taste to check the flavour. Season with salt and pepper. Taste again, adding more salt, pepper or lime juice if necessary.

Cover and allow to sit in the fridge for at least half an hour, preferably longer (up to 5-6 hours ahead, before serving). Remove from fridge and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil right before serving.

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Source: The Malay Mail Online (15th April 2018)

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