A sauce, most often of dried chillis, tomatoes, onion and coriander (US: cilantro).
Basic salsa’s main ingredients include chilies, tomatoes, onions, and garlic. Salsa can contain dry chilies or fresh chilies. It can be served cooked or raw, but is mostly served raw. Raw salsa is meant to offer intense flavor and heat, while cooked salsa present a more mild taste. Salsa Verde is a green salsa that is made with tomatillos to give it the green color (Moskin).
It originated in Mexico and has been diffused across the globe. The sauce is served to complement many traditional Mexican dishes (Bellamy). Salsa was discovered in the United States during the 1980s. It quickly gained popularity, hitting shelves in supermarkets and tables in restaurants. In the United States, Mexican food and salsa go hand in hand; along with tacos, burritos, and tortilla chips. United States citizens have been known to love the spice and intense flavor of Mexican cuisine, and salsa amplified their love (Arellano 217-18).
Although salsa originated in Mexico, it has been reinvented in a variety of places and can be made in many different ways. From country to country it is made and served differently. In Paris, it is made with ketchup and pickles. In Japan, it is made with green peppers and kewpie mayonnaise. In the United States, it is made with red tomatoes and bell peppers (Moskin).
The way people in the United States eat salsa differs from that of Mexicans. Mexicans use salsa as more of a condiment than do Americans. They put the sauce on food more commonly than eating the salsa plain or with chips (Arellano 219). In the United States, salsa is most commonly served in a bowl and is used as dip. It is served with tortilla chips that are used to scoop the salsa up. Mexicans use the sauce as more of a seasoning to foods (Moskin). The chilies used in the foods are the central tie to the Mexican heritage of salsa whether hot or mild (Mellgren).
Lexicographer: Ryan Knight, Tulane University
Arellano, Gustavo. Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America. New York: Scribner, 2012. Print.
Bellamy, Gail. "Sauces and Salsas." Restaurant Hospitality. Penton Business Media, Inc. and Penton Media Inc., Feb. 1998. Web. 5 Oct. 2013.
Mellgren, James. "The Cuisine of Mexico." Gourmet Retailer May 2001: 22. Business Insights: Essentials. Web. 5 Oct. 2013.
Moskin, Julia. "The Soul of Mexico (Hold the Chips)." New York Times 17 Mar. 2010: D1(L). Business Insights: Essentials. Web. 5 Oct. 2013.
"The Salsa Revolution Takes on an International Flavor." Brandweek 28 Sept. 1992: 36. Business Insights: Essentials. Web. 4 Oct. 2013.