Walnut sauce (also known as walnut paste) (Georgian: საცივი) is a food paste made primarily from walnuts. It is popular in Georgian cuisine.
Varieties of Walnut Sauce
There are numerous varieties of walnut sauce, and Georgian cuisine alone boasts of dozens of them.
Bazha (Georgian: ბაჟა) is the most versatile of Georgian walnut sauces, made with either red wine vinegar or pomegranate juice. As is typical of the Georgian palette, this sauce is slightly tart as sweeteners are not used by Georgians in their cooking.
Satsivi (Georgian: საცივი) is a Georgian sauce made of walnuts and served cold either as a dipping sauce for bread, or sauce for boiled or fried game or fish. Traditionally, satsivi is made of walnuts, water, garlic, combination of dried herbs, vinegar, cayenne pepper, and salt to taste. In this way, satsivi in the Caucasus is similar to the nut and/or legume-based paste sauces to the south, such as the hummus (which often contains garlic, lemon juice — a souring agent –, and tahini, or sesame butter/paste) varieties found in Armenian, Syrian, Lebanese, or generically Levantine cuisine.
Satsivi - Georgian Walnut Sauce
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1½ cups walnuts
- 4 - 6 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- large pinch saffron, optional
- 1½ tablespoons vinegar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Saute onions in a saucepan until translucent
- Remove the onions from the saucepan and add them to the bowl of a food processor or a blender, along with the walnuts and all the remaining ingredients.
- Blend, adding as much of the chicken stock as needed to form a smooth puree with a sauce-like consistency. Save the remaining chicken stock for another use.
- Add the walnut sauce to a saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Serve warm, chilled or at room temperature.
Cooks Notes & Variations
- Satsivi walnut sauce can accompany a variety of dishes apart from chicken. Turkey is commonly served smothered in the creamy sauce, as are sturgeon and even sauteed eggplant.
- Add a touch of cayenne pepper to give the sauce a little heat.
- Some recipes call for roasting the chicken instead of poaching it. Use a prepared chicken broth for the sauce in that case.
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