It’s time to get sauced, Afghan style

A few years ago, Joey and I traveled to Minnesota to visit a good friend of mine who took us to all kinds of great places in Minneapolis.

When we returned a few weeks ago, we were on a mission to revisit an Afghani restaurant she took us to—for pizza. And not just any pizza—football-shaped pizza.

I know that sounds a little odd, but if you ever get a chance, going to Crescent Moon in Minneapolis is a must if you’re ever in the area.

One of the things that made the pizza over the moon (pardon the pun) was a green spicy sauce they give you to drizzle on top.

Joey tried to talk them into selling him a bottle of it on our most recent trip, and they were gracious enough to give us a few samples, so I set to work when we got home trying to replicate the flavors.

The sauce is heavy on cilantro flavor but is also spicy. The weird thing about it, though, is that the spice dissipates pretty quickly, which I believe is because it has vinegar in it. It’s delicious, and you definitely need some of this in your life.

The recipe I used to recreate the sauce comes from the website “Food.” You can find the original at http://www.food.com/recipe/afghani-cilantro-chutney-126313. I changed the amounts and ingredients to be more in line with the flavor I was looking for.

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Afghani Cilantro Chutney

Ingredients

2 cups loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves

1 jalapeno pepper, roughly chopped (use it seeds and all)

4-5 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup white vinegar

Directions

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until it’s nice and smooth.

Adjust any ingredients for taste and then store in the refrigerator for at least two hours to let all the flavors meld.

Use on any dishes that will complement cilantro and spicy flavors. Keep refrigerated.

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We used our chutney on quesadillas the other night and ended up using quite a bit of it. It’s almost addictive.

I’m not able to handle a lot of spice, but I still really like this sauce. It has a really good flavor, and it’s not as scary as the whole jalapeno would lead you to believe. I actually tried making it minus the seeds at first, but the flavor was just off without them.

This is pretty darn close to the Minneapolis version we tried a few weeks ago, but there’s no substitute for the real thing. Of course, it’s also nice to have a fairly convincing substitute if you don’t want to drive up north for a taste of Afghanistan.

Lindsey Young is managing editor of The Clarion, the Kansas Publishing Ventures newspaper in Andale. She can be reached at lindseyclarion@gmail.com.