It is amazing how international travel and armchair travel, social media and television has broadened our food knowledge and repertoire. My late parents, who were avid ‘foodies’ certainly did not prepare, let alone speak about baba ghanoush, chimichurri, guacamole, teppanyaki, carpaccio, taramosalata, espresso or my current favourite wasakaka or guasacaca!
Thinking back to just a few decades ago our choice of many ingredients and restaurants that we now take for granted did not exist in South Africa.
If you are around 40 years of age you certainly didn’t pop down to the local sushi spot for lunch or a quick supper when you were young! You may have been exposed to Chinese (mainly Cantonese), Greek or Italian if you lived in a city or a large town, but even their repertoire was limited and not particularly authentic way back then.
So what is wasakaka or guasacaca?
(either spelling is accepted, but the ‘g’ is silent and it is pronounced wasakaka)
It is a deliciously creamy, spicy avocado based sauce or dressing of Venezuela or Dominican Republic origin.
It was originally served with grilled or roast chicken but these days it has become a popular dressing or dip for virtually anything (after all it is similar to guacamole, but smoother). I slather it on everything from toast to grilled fish. On a steak or eggs benedict it gives you the lemony richness of hollandaise but is egg-free and offers the healthy fats in the avo and olive oil. It is divine on hamburgers.
If you love spicy flavours, this one is for you!
Last summer my favourite dressing /sauce in my fridge was chimichurri but I am afraid it will now have to share shelf space with the wasakaka/guasacaca!
The recipe is a simple blend of avocado, lime juice, onion (I use milder spring onion) coriander, parsley, jalapeño and green pepper. I vehemently dislike green pepper so I always omit it. Some recipes say you can use a yellow pepper which is milder and less dominant. Sometimes vinegar or olive oil are added.
Fresh jalapeños are not always available, so use the pickled ones. In this case you just reduce the amount of vinegar otherwise it could become too acidic.
I also advise that you start with half quantities of jalapeño and increase the volumes to taste. The first time I made it , it was too way spicy. This is easily rectified by adding either smooth cream cheese (it made a magnificent dip!), plain yoghurt or mayonnaise.
The acid of the lime and vinegar preserve the vibrant green colour for at least 3 days in the fridge.
The recipe is easy. I prefer making smaller quantities but you can simply double it if you like.