You can experience different cultures right from the comfort of your home, just by trying different cuisines particular to any region.
This has caused a spread of Mexican dishes all over the world, as they are not only undeniably delicious, they have such an authentic feel that is hard to recreate with other cuisines.
If you like Mexican food or looking to try out some, green enchilada sauce and salsa verde are a few of the popular Mexican dishes you should try.
But what’s the difference between green enchilada sauce vs salsa verde? They basically differ by how they’re prepared, their origin, how they are paired with other dishes.
What Is Enchilada Sauce?
Enchilada sauce literally means “to be spiced” or “spicy” in Spanish; this dish is a smooth chile-based sauce that can be served alongside different dishes but is typically used to make enchiladas.
It has a chile base and is seasoned with chili powder, garlic, cumin, and other spices and herbs. Like most Mexican cuisines, a generous amount of spice is usually added to enchilada sauce which gives a bit of kick to it.
The hotness, however, is dependent on the cook; it can be made from a mild ancho chile base to a fiery chipotle pepper and even a serrano pepper base. Enchilada sauce is mainly available in red and green groups.
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Red enchilada sauce is the most popular and classic version, uses a red chile base, and is flavored with vinegar, onions, garlic, and several seasonings.
Tomatoes or tomato paste are sometimes added to red enchilada, but it is totally optional.
Green enchilada sauce, on the other hand, uses a green chili base alongside tomatillos, a green variant of the tomato with a sweeter taste common in Mexican cuisines. For spice, jalapeños or serrano peppers are usually used.
Please note that some people making the erroneous mistake of confusing enchilada sauce with tamale sauce (the filling used for tamales) do well to avoid this mistake as they are both different dishes.
Although tamales sauce can be made with a reduced tomatoes and chiles base, the sauce is mixed directly with the meat; this is unlike enchiladas, where the sauce is served on top of and around the tortilla.
What is Salsa Verde?
Salsa translates to sauce in Spanish, although most people wouldn’t normally consider salsa a traditional “sauce. It is closely similar to chutney and has a thicker, chunkier texture compared to enchilada sauce.
Salsa is made primarily of tomatoes, onions, and chilis; this gives the dish its signature flavor and texture.
This sauce is usually served as a condiment rather than the main ingredient most of the time. Salsa can be incorporated into a dish at the end of the preparation; it does not need to be mixed into it; instead, it is served cold alongside the dish.
It is served alongside tacos and tortilla chips and serves as a finishing touch. There are a few varieties of salsa, and just like enchilada sauce, salsa can be made with various spice levels, adjusted to suit everyone’s palette.
The type of salsa being made does not determine the spice level of the dish; it gets its spiciness from the chiles and spices introduced later in the recipe.
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The most popular type of salsa is the salsa Roja, which is served on the side of tortilla chips at most restaurants; it has a “red saucy” color due to the bright red, fresh tomatoes used, which also gives it a lovely warmth and flavor.
Salsa verde is another type of salsa, it translates to green sauce in Spanish, and it is made from diced tomatillos instead of tomatoes and usually served as sides for buffet-style taco dishes.
Pico de gallo, although under the category of salsa, is usually milder than other variations and can be served as a salad or as a main dish.
Green Enchilada Sauce Vs Salsa Verde
Salsa and enchilada sauce both use chilis, tomatoes, and a host of similar spices. However, certain differences exist between the two sauces, which are; method of preparation, origin of the recipe, and the way they are paired with other dishes.
The two Mexican staple cuisines are both flavor-packed, and telling them apart might be a lot harder than you might think.
To tell the dishes apart distinctly they are certain specific differences you can look out for; therefore, let’s discuss the dishes in detail.
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Can Enchilada Sauce Be Substituted With Salsa Verde?
Salsa and enchilada sauce although similar, are distinct meals on their own with distinct flavors, so there really isn’t a way to perfectly replace the taste of one with the other; you might not achieve your desired result.
If you substitute salsa for enchilada sauce in a dish, the overall taste and texture of the final dish are bound to be different, and the same is true the other way around.
Although it is possible to replace salsa with enchilada sauce in certain dishes, enchilada sauce lacks the tart freshness that gives salsa its appeal.
Both dishes have different viscosity, enchilada sauce is sleekly smooth and while it makes the perfect addition to a casserole-like dish, as a condiment, dishes like tacos, burritos, or fajitas that requires sides with a bit of texture do not pair very well.
Although it would make more sense to replace enchilada sauce with salsa, you may not achieve a great result.
The difference in consistency affects the turnout of the final dish; the tomatoes and chiles are chunkier and may be unable to mix in with the meats and tortillas; this affects their saturation of flavor and may not turn out as tasty as it would with the thinner enchilada sauce.
Instead of trying to replace one with the other and end up ruining your dish, you could combine both dishes and try adding salsa into your enchilada sauce recipe.
This way, you get the best of both worlds. To ensure the salsa retains its tart freshness, toss it in with the enchilada sauce just before it goes into the oven; this adds a layer of texture to the dish without altering the silky and umami flavor of the enchilada sauce.
You get a similar result when enchilada sauce is added to a salsa dish; this way all flavors are maximized instead of being altered.
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