Traditional Abkhaz Adjika sauce is made of chili peppers, garlic, herbs and spices. This recipe is a milder version with tomatoes. There are many variations of milder Adjika sauces. They may include sweet peppers, squash, zucchini, etc. Adjika with tomatoes can be raw or cooked. Raw is a fresher salad-kind version, cooked Adjika lasts longer and can be canned.
This recipe is a hybrid of the raw and cooked version. Part of the sauce will be cooked in order to boil down excess liquid and enhance its taste. This raw-cooked combination is to be consumed within a week, provided it is refrigerated. It combines the freshness of the raw Adjika and profoundness of the cooked one.
You will need:
- Three chili peppers
- Seven medium size tomatoes or an equal amount of tomatoes of another size
- Twenty garlic cloves (three medium garlic heads)
- One-two heaping tablespoons Khmeli suneli spice (according to taste)
- Salt to taste
- One teaspoon sugar
- One tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Some dill leaves
You can remove the skin from the tomatoes, or leave as is. It will not affect the sauce too much. Remove the seeds from the chili peppers. It is recommended to use food grade gloves for this step. Peel the garlic cloves and cut the tips off.
Grind all the ingredients together in a blender or food processor.
Make sure it doesn’t turn into a paste. If you are using a blender, then leave the tomatoes out and blend the rest of the ingredients first. Then add the tomatoes and blend with short pulses so tomatoes are coarsely ground.
(Alternatively you can mince the garlic, finely chop the peppers with a knife and chop the tomatoes into small cubes) Transfer into a bowl and let it sit for 10-15 minutes in a fridge. After that, make a small “well” in it.
Transfer the liquid collected in the well into a saucepan or a frying pan. The latter is preferred due to a larger evaporation surface. Also transfer to the pan about half of the raw Adjika from the bowl.
Set to low heat and simmer for about 15 min with the lid closed.
Then set to medium heat, remove the lid and stir from time to time until the liquid evaporates.
Then transfer the cooked Adjika to the bowl with the raw Adjika, and mix together. Your hybrid Adjika is ready.
Cooked Adjika can stay much longer in the fridge than the raw or hybrid versions. Follow the same steps as in the above recipe until all the ingredients are mixed together.
Do not separate the liquid, just transfer all to a saucepan or frying pan. You can add two tablespoons of olive oil.
Set to low heat and simmer for about 15 min with the lid closed. Then set to medium heat, remove the lid and stir from time to time until most of the liquid evaporates.
Your cooked Adjika is ready.
Raw adjika is the summer version of this sauce and is all about freshness. Consider using sweeter tomatoes. Consider also using less garlic.
If you don’t have sweeter tomatoes, cut the regular ones in half and remove the seeds. This step will eliminate the extra sourness coming from the tomatoes.
In raw adjika most of the sourness will come from red wine vinegar, which will benefit the taste. Just like in the first recipe, make a well to collect the liquid. This liquid contains a lot of flavor. To preserve this flavor, we will boil down the liquid with olive oil and return to our sauce.
Transfer the liquid to a frying pan and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Then set to medium heat and stir from time to time, until all the water evaporates and only the oil remains.
Mix this oil into the raw adjika.
Adjika makes an excellent side sauce, can be mixed into dishes or served in a lavash wrap.