Mar 15, 2010

Azi Dessi Sauce

Azi Dessi Sauce

I can almost hear you mumble “Azi whattus?” to yourself. So here’s the deal: I’m giving you one of my secret recipes. Just how sweet is that? The internet is so lucky to have me (she said coyly).

You must have noticed by now that I’m into African cooking. There’s something enticing about the way they make something out of nothing in that continent. They combine a handful of basic, fresh ingredients with several spices and ‘BAM‘, instant food magic. It often results in the most amazing dishes, like my Chicken Palava.

The word amazing definitely applies to this Togolese tomato & peanut sauce, because that’s what Azi Dessi is. What do you eat this sauce with? Pretty much anything goes, from steak to fried chicken, meatballs, sandwiches and you can even serve it as French fry dip. Whatever makes you a happy camper. You are only limited by your own imagination.

The original recipe calls for powdered dried shrimp. Well… I gave it a try once and still haven’t recovered from it—it’s every bit as yucky as it sounds. Know that I, too, have my limits. Over the years I tweaked the recipe until it came out tasting the exact way I like it. Here’s my favorite version.

Ingredients:

1 pound tomatoes
1 small onion
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 tsp brown sugar
worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp oil
pepper
salt

Directions:

The basis of this sauce is one pound pretty red and juicy tomatoes. Cut a shallow X in the bottom of the tomatoes and place them in boiling water for 30 to 40 seconds. No longer or you will really have boiled them. I’ll make fun of you for that!Azi Dessi Sauce

Transfer them from the boiling water to a big bowl of ice-cold water. For 30 seconds or so.Azi Dessi Sauce

Peeling them is child’s play now. Squeeze out the seeds and give them a rough chop. Don’t fret over a few seeds that stay behind.Azi Dessi Sauce

Blend or blitz them using a regular or immersion blender. A food processor will work as well, but you won’t be able to homogenize the tomatoes as much. It looks like a tomato daiquiri, doesn’t it? Not sure how I feel about that.Azi Dessi Sauce

Heat two tbsp oil and add the tomato puree. Step back because it will sizzle. The oil won’t blend in with the puree at first, but no worries, it will resolve itself during the cooking process. Bring to a boil, pop the lid on (crack it) and simmer the puree for 15 minutes while stirring occasionally.
Azi Dessi Sauce

That gives you plenty time to finely mince a small onion and one large garlic clove. De-seed and mince a red chili pepper. I went for 1/3 pepper, feel free to add more or less.
Azi Dessi Sauce

After 15 minutes the puree will have cooked down and it’s time to add the onions, chili pepper and garlic. Pour in 1 tbsp soy sauce, a teeny tiny splash of worcestershire sauce and 1 tsp ground ginger. Simmer the sauce for another 10 to 15 minutes (with the lid on), until the onions are nice and soft.
Azi Dessi Sauce

The sauce will be quite thick and fragrant at this point. Let’s up the flavor a little. Add 2 slightly heaping tbsp peanut butter and, depending on how sweet your peanut butter is to begin with, add 1/2 tsp brown sugar, mine was light brown. The peanut butter will make the sauce creamier. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.Azi Dessi Sauce

This tastes utterly fantastic and what’s even better; no additives, it’s pure food. It’s a very flavorful sauce with a hint of peanut and a slight tomato tang. It might sound like an unorthodox combination to you, but trust me when I say it works.Azi Dessi Sauce

Serving tip:

I usually shred some grilled chicken, combine it with this sauce, maybe a little extra sautéed bell peppers and mushrooms, and slap it on either a Ciabatta or a Moroccan flatbread. Delicious!

 

Kay’s Recipe Card

Click here for printable size.

Azi Dessi Sauce
Ingredients
  • 1 pound tomatoes
    1 small onion
    1 garlic clove
    1 tbsp soy sauce
    1 tsp ground ginger
    2 tbsp peanut butter
    1/2 tsp brown sugar
    worcestershire sauce
    2 tbsp oil
    pepper
    salt
Directions
  1. Cut a shallow X in the bottom of the tomatoes and place them in boiling water for 30 to 40 seconds. No longer or you will really have boiled them. Transfer them from the boiling water to a big bowl of ice-cold water. For 30 seconds or so. Now peel the tomatoes Squeeze out the seeds and give them a rough chop.

    Blend or blitz them using a regular or immersion blender. A food processor will work as well, but you won’t be able to homogenize the tomatoes as much. Heat two tbsp oil and add the tomato puree. Step back because it will sizzle. The oil won’t blend in with the puree at first, but no worries, it will resolve itself during the cooking process. Bring to a boil, pop the lid on (crack it) and simmer the puree for 15 minutes while stirring occasionally.

    finely mince a small onion and one large garlic clove. De-seed and mince a red chili pepper. I went for 1/3 pepper, feel free to add more or less. After 15 minutes the puree will have cooked down and it’s time to add the onions, chili pepper and garlic. Pour in 1 tbsp soy sauce, a teeny tiny splash of worcestershire sauce and 1 tsp ground ginger. Simmer the sauce for another 10 to 15 minutes (with the lid on), until the onions are nice and soft.

    Add 2 slightly heaping tbsp peanut butter and, depending on how sweet your peanut butter is to begin with, add 1/2 tsp brown sugar, mine was light brown. The peanut butter will make the sauce creamier. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.
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    20 Comments »

    1. 1

      Wow. It actually looks pretty good!

      Memoria on Mar 15, 2010 @ 8:27 am Reply
    2. 2

      It looks really special and unique. LOVE your blog. Thanks for sharing your recipes!

      Lindy on Mar 15, 2010 @ 10:48 am Reply
    3. 3

      I’ve never quite been a fan of peanut sauces, but saté is growing on me and considering how mild the peanut butter is here, I think I might just try this! It sounds delicious, especially with shredded chicken on Moroccan flat bread.

      Alison on Mar 15, 2010 @ 12:25 pm Reply
    4. 4

      That sounds wonderful!
      I haven an odd question: When you blitz fresh tomatoes, the result is usually a very pale red (like yours) but shop bought stuff (passata etc.) is deep red. Is the bought stuff coloured in some way?

      Karohemd on Mar 15, 2010 @ 1:41 pm Reply
    5. 5

      @karohemd:

      I’m pretty sure (99.9%:) they add some sort of food coloring, could be something natural, though. The color deepens when the sauce is being being cooked down, but it will never be as red as storebought stuff.

      Kay on Mar 15, 2010 @ 1:47 pm Reply
    6. 6

      @Kay *nods* I usually add some concentrated tomato paste, which tends to bring up the colour a bit as pink isn’t really my style. ;P

      Karohemd on Mar 15, 2010 @ 2:06 pm Reply
    7. 7

      @Karohemd:

      I add tomato paste to my pasta sauces as well. It also deepens the tomato flavor.

      Such a shame, I’m sure you’d look absolutely adorable in pink :)

      Won’t have to do that here. The soy sauce and peanutbutter mess up the red color anyway!

      Kay on Mar 15, 2010 @ 2:09 pm Reply
    8. 8

      This sounds like a fantastic combination of flavors. Saving the recipe for fresh tomato season, when hopefully I will have tomatoes galore from my garden!

      Kalynskitchen on Mar 15, 2010 @ 4:33 pm Reply
    9. 9

      Had to come back and say you chose the perfect bowl for the top photo!

      Kalynskitchen on Mar 15, 2010 @ 4:35 pm Reply
    10. 10

      @Kalyn:

      I absolutely love that bowl. Used it in my Chile con Queso posting as well. Can’t wait for tomato season. Home grown tastes so much better.

      Kay on Mar 15, 2010 @ 4:46 pm Reply
    11. 11

      Wow, that sounds easy enough. My husband is Indian, so I have been introduced to that shrimp powder. That stuff STINKS! When my husband ate it at my in-laws I told him that he is NOT allowed to bring any to our house.

      Thanks for sharing this recipe.

      Michelle on Mar 15, 2010 @ 6:03 pm Reply
    12. 12

      @Michelle:

      I must admit I do use a similar thing named Trassi (Or terasie) in Indonesian cooking, but this called for 8 tbsp and it was gross.

      Kay on Mar 15, 2010 @ 6:15 pm Reply
    13. 13

      thanks for sharing!

      PeachRainbow on Mar 16, 2010 @ 11:31 am Reply
    14. 14

      This recipe sounds intriguing.
      Magda

      my little expat kitchen on Mar 16, 2010 @ 12:51 pm Reply
    15. 15

      This looks fantastic!

      Erin on Mar 17, 2010 @ 1:19 pm Reply
    16. 16

      Thanks for sharing your best recipe it looks and sounds tasty.

      Brad on Mar 18, 2010 @ 4:01 am Reply
    17. 17

      Gosh Kay, that looks so good!

      LizzieBee on Mar 20, 2010 @ 12:48 pm Reply
    18. 18

      very nice dish with slelct few ingredients….i dont have to stock my pantry with new ingredients to try a recipe from another country..thx a lot

      Trendsetters on Mar 30, 2010 @ 12:08 am Reply
    19. 19

      Hi
      Fantastic recipe. Came across your site from Taste Spotting. So this is like a ketchup/satay hybrid? Looks great and probably goes really nicely with beef skewers. Nice work :)

      Fouad @ The Food Blog on Apr 5, 2010 @ 9:03 am Reply
    20. 20

      Thank you for all your wonderful recipes.  my son is living in Ghana cape coast for two years doing a church mission.  He asked me to find recipes that he could use as there is not a McDonald’s our taco bell on each corner. ;-)  mind you he is 19.  culture shock? YEP!  I am printing all your wonderful recipes and pictures for him.  He will love it.  Thank you so much for all the little details as well, very helpful.  

      Laura on Mar 4, 2014 @ 12:37 pm Reply

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