Gledis' Green Cilantro Sauce 03.03.2011

Gledis is a tall, relaxed woman.  She smiles a lot, and moves with the same ease whether she's making a cup of coffee or cooking for 20 people.  I am sometimes-chef to a family of four, a task that evokes great anxiety.  But Gledis?  Ask her to cook for 20 people and she doesn't bat an eyelash.  Clearly, she has super hero powers which she has decided to use for good. 

Gledis has cooked most of her life, gaining a strong culinary foundation by watching her mother cook. Through our translator, Ceci, Gledis said she wanted to see how things were made, so she followed her mother.  She also was her mother's food taster -- a key task for young cooks. 

Gledis is one of four girls in a family of nine children from Sabana Sucre, a small town in Colombia.  She and her sisters were urged to cook for survival and strong marriage prospects.  I asked if any of the boys were imparted that message and Gledis gave me a "are you kidding?" look.

She took over cooking responsibilities for her family when she was 12 years old.  Her father was a hunter, so some dinner staples included deer and rabbit.  When Gledis was 16 years old, she moved with her grandmother to Cartagena to finish school; there was no high school in her hometown. She has since then been cooking for families.

On our first day in Cartagena, we were treated to a lunch made by Gledis and she had prepared the cilantro sauce as a salad dressing.  The sauce is reminiscent of green chutney (cilantro and mint) in Indian cooking, but is thinner and unlike the Indian chutney, contains mustard and olive oil, and is light green color.  I loved dipping flattened, fried plantains in the sauce, and mixed it into paella, and on the last lunch of our trip, in a chicken and mushroom dish mixed with rice.    

Paella with Gledis' green cilantro sauce in the distance.
Gledis' Cilantro Sauce


  • 1 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

1.  Put cilantro, olive oil, and lime in blender.  Mix.

2.  Then put remaining ingredients in blender and continue to mix until cilantro is fine and the mixture is liquid

That's it.  Enjoy!

For Gledis' recipe for arepas de heuvos, click HERE.

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