"I am an idealistic, naive, passionate, truth-seeking, spiritually motivated artist, unschooled in the science of law and finance." --Wesley Snipes

Monday, July 25, 2005

Gashneetch Convention

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Wash the cilantro thoroughly. Give it a good soak.

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Main ingredients. Minus vinegar. (It's around here somewhere.)

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To make "Gashneetch" you will need a couple of large bunches of cilantro, some assorted chiles--depending on heat, I like to use one large jalapeno and 2-3 serranos, though I've had success with thai bird chiles here, as well as habaneros, and many diff. combinations of all of the above. If only one chile is available, go with the serranos--, kosher salt, vinegar (cider, red, or plain white, or a combo), a few fat cloves of garlic. An optional addition is walnuts--traditional, but I rarely use them.

The method is simple. Whir some of the vinegar with the garlic in a blender or food processor. For 2-3 bunches of the green, I add 3-5 large garlic cloves. You want to taste the garlic, but it shouldn't overwhelm the sauce. Add the chiles, coarsely chopped, and whir again until combined. Add a big pinch of salt, and then begin adding the cilantro in small handfulls, fully processing each time. Taste frequently. It should be sour, dark green, redolent of cilantro (that is, smelling and tasting of its main ingredient, tasting of itself) with a backnote of garlic. It should be fairly hot.

One variation is to add a few walnuts at the end. If you do this, the proportion of vinegar to cilantro should be increased, as the walnuts add extra thickness to the sauce. You may also increase the number of chiles if it isn't hot enough. I taught my ex-roommate Marty the Hippie* to make this sauce and he made the regrettable mistake of adding onion to the recipe. Please don't. It muddies the flavor most disagreeably. Another variation is to add some sugar to sweeten it. I don't do this often, but it's a nice change from time to time. A dip for samosa, sambousek, sambosay goshti, and bulaunees can be made by mixing equal parts gashneetch and plain yogurt.

This sauce is traditionally served with kabobs and flat bread. I keep it in my fridge to eat with pitas or homemade flatbreads. It is also good as a dip for tortillas, on bagels, and especially on grilled cheese sandwiches. Sharp cheddar on sourdough with gashneetch. Heaven. This stuff lasts for months in the fridge, though it never lasts that long in mine as I eat it nearly every day.

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* I also taught Marty to make falafel once. He became addicted and ate only falafel for weeks. He'd make a bowl of the mix that colonized the entire bottom rack of the refrigerator, where it would remain for a couple of weeks. Falafel in large batches, yo. This is the same roommate who once ate my chicken fried steak while I was out drinking, dreaming of coming home to some leftover CFS.

4 comments:

Whimsy said...

Interesting, Tony. It reminds me of the first time I had salsa Romesco in Barcelona with calamares. It was just delicious, but my wife and I couldn't figure out what was in it and the restaurant wasn't talking. We finally kept trying to make it, and finally got it right, though by then we'd found a couple of recipes. It's also composed of vinegar & garlic, but also paprika (a sort of roasted, ground, not-hot pepper?) and either pine nuts (in some parts of Spain) or hazelnuts (in others). Also some salt and pepper to taste, natch. I've since seen recipes, in which some fresh tomatoes are blendered in, too. Really good with seafood.

Thanks for gashneetch recipe. What's the ethnic background (or for that matter etymological background) or gashneetch?

Tony said...

Whims/Jeff,

Hey man. Gashneetch is of Afghan origin. "Gashneetch" literally means "cilantro"--same word for the herb and the sauce.

It's usually served alongside a red pepper chutney, which is much harder to duplicate in the kitchen. Every Afghan I've ever known has a different recipe, and they tend to vary quite dramatically. Some are quite sweet, others not sweet but hot, others sweet, hot, and tangy. Some have raisins, others do not. Some include tomato, some do not. I've never managed to produce one I was entirely happy with, though not for lack of trying.

shanna said...

thank god you posted a recipe.

shanna said...

i mean, nobody else gives me recipes. i'd call it a dearth.