We love salsa at La Mexicana, and it’s one of our most popular condiments. It's so versatile, but what do we really know about this tasty combination of tomatoes, chillies and spices?
We’ve got some fun facts about this favourite Tex-Mex sauce that dates back centuries!
- Salsa is traced to ancient Mayans, Aztecs and Incas from regions in Central and South America in as early as the 1500s.
- Salsa is the Italian and Spanish term for sauce.
- Relish, like salsa, is a condiment used to increase the flavour of foods and can be eaten cooked or raw.
- Salsa is most popularly used in Mexican dishes. It can be served with meat and seafood, as a side or a dip for corn chips.
- Some salsa ingredients may be cooked before chopping or crushing, and sometimes the ingredients are cooked all together. However, real salsa is made entirely from fresh ingredients that are crushed instead of blended.
- Tomato and chilli peppers are the typical primary ingredients. However, the tomato can be substituted with ingredients like mango and pineapple. Onion, spices, avocado and corn are common additions.
- The most well-known salsa is salsa roja – red salsa. It's made from tomatoes, onions, chillies, garlic, and peppers. But you may also come across salsa verde, which is made with green tomatoes or tomatillos. There is salsa taqueria, which is a tomato paste-based sauce that is less chunky than other salsas. More rarely, you can find salsa negra – black salsa – which is made from oil and dried chillies.
- Guacamole is also a form of salsa. And pico de gallo salsa can be translated as "rooster beak salsa". This name came about because you're traditionally supposed to eat it with your fingers, and the shape made by picking at the salsa with your thumb and forefinger looks like a rooster beak pecking at its feed!
- Salsa is very healthy. Low in calories, high in fibre, and full of vitamins, salsa can boost your immune system and be incorporated into weight-loss diets.
- Commercialised salsa was only first produced in the United States in 1916, by Charles Erath, from New Orleans.
- Between 1988 and 1992 sales of salsa in the US increased from 16% to 36, overtaking Ketchup sales in 1991 (in terms of dollar value).
- Tortilla Chips and Salsa was designated as the Official State Snack of Texas in 2003.
- May is National Salsa Month.
- Salsa, the dance, actually takes its name from the tasty sauce to emphasise the spiciness of the moves. It's a robust mix of Hispanic, Caribbean, and African dance styles.
Next time your dipping into your salsa or enjoying it on your taco’s, remember there’s more to this simple sauce that meets the taste buds!