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Turkish/Afghani/Kurdish Tomato Sauce

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In the course of reviewing restaurants featuring indigenous foods of the above regions, I have found myself coming across a thick, sort of sweet, sort of roasted tomato sauce; it's very often drizzled with a yogurt sauce.

Can anyone out there tell me what this is called in the above regions, and provide me with a recipe?

Thanks much,


BeefCheeks is an author, editor, and food journalist.

"The food was terrible. And such small portions...."

--Alvy Singer

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I think you are talking about "salca" (pronounced sal-jah) which is the Turkish name.

In Turkey it is made by putting skinned, seeded tomatos in a big, clear plastic bag (with holes in order to let moisture out) and placing this on the roof in the hot summer sun. There are lots of regional versions, some more or less fermented, many with the addition of pepper, some without. It is usually sold by specialized sellers at Turkish markets, but you can buy various brands in jars at any turkish grocery store. If there is a Turkish specialty shop near you I'm sure they would have some. "Antep" is a good variety, slightly spicy (if the jar says "acli" it means hot spiced) In a pinch, unsweetened tomato paste can do - you can doctor it up with cayenne if you wish.

It is a concentrate so a lot of sauces are made by adding a tablespoon or so to some water or stock. Many kebab shops serve a spoonful on a plate for dipping kofte (meatballs) in.

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