One of the dips that is always used in Albanian tables is this Sour Cream Dip with Walnuts and Garlic. I remember my mom used to prepare it often for special occasions, birthday dinners and New Year’s Eve. It is the perfect dip for mezes, meat dishes and potatoes. In Albania we call this dip Salce Kosi me Arra.
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What are Mezes?
In Albania as in many other Mediterranean countries, mezes are a platter with small appetizers served with a drink when you have company over. In some countries mezes are the meal (generous portions of appetizers and large variety) while in others mezes are just starters before a multi-course meal.
Some of the appetizers we include in mezes in Albania are this Sour Cream Dip with Walnuts and Garlic, cheeses, hard boiled eggs, olives, qofte (meatballs), small salads, pickled vegetables (turshi), a variety of salamis and other small plates. Usually mezes are served with Albanian traditional drink Raki or other drinks like beer/wine etc.
How do you prepare Sour Cream Dip with Walnuts and Garlic?
This is one of the easiest dips to prepare. In Albania we used to get fresh milk delivered every morning (not always, this was post communist era…during communism, food was scarce and my parents had to make long lines at night to get dairy and other food items). My mom used to boil it because milk was unpasteurized. We used to consume part of the milk for breakfast while the rest was used to make homemade yogurt daily. Also, my mom used to make sour cream from yogurt by straining it. Those memories are chiseled in my head.
However, even though I have a passion to cook foods from scratch, this is one area where I take a shortcut and buy sour cream from my local grocery store.
I highly recommend using a garlic mortar and pestle. In Albania most of them are made of wood, but here in US I have also seen granite ones. It is customary to crush the garlic with salt in mortar with the pestle. We do the same for most dips because it releases the perfect garlic flavor and it allows for the garlic to be spread evenly. We use it in tzatziki, tarator, zucchini cold soup, this dip etc etc. See below some examples of mortar and pestle I saw online, I can’t find the exact same one I have but they seem to work the same way:
Dip Recipe Tips & Notes
This is a very easy recipe, only 5 ingredients with salt included. You can use it for family gatherings, picnics, dinners, game day etc. My experience with this dish is that most people love it. Few might find the taste strange so don’t be surprised.
If you are serving meats, spicy kebabs, qofte (kebabs) or lots of appetizers this dip would fit right in. Oh and it’s perfect if you’re sipping on some adult drinks too!!
Garlic – garlic is such an important part of this recipe. It’s supposed to have a lot of garlic and it is supposed to taste strongly like garlic. So if you’re on the fence about garlic, I’m afraid you might not like this dip. Usually if I’m serving this dish as a side to meats or spicy meatballs or chicken wings, then I add even more garlic. If I’m serving it as a dip I might lower slightly the garlic quantity. Feel free to make adjustments to fit your taste:).
Be careful with salt, you need to have enough to balance sour cream’s and garlic flavors but it’s easy to go overboard and ruin the dip. It’s ok to taste after you mix everything together and then add an extra pinch. However, if you overdid garlic and salt on first round, add an extra ounce of sour cream and mix again.
Sour Cream Dip with Walnuts and Garlic
- Mortar & Pestle
- 16 ozs sour cream regular, not fat free
- 5 garlic cloves
- 0.5 tsp salt adjust to taste
- 1 cup walnut halves
- 5 tbsps olive oil
- Crush garlic and salt in mortar.
- Pour sour cream in a bowl. Add crushed garlic.
- Mince half of the walnuts really thin and pour those on top of the sour cream as well.
- Add 4 tbsps of olive oil and mix really well until everything is creamy and homogeneous.
- Garnish on top with remaining walnuts and olive oil. Chill for 2 hours before serving so the flavors really can mix together.
If you like the dip and would like to save the recipe for later, please pin this picture in Pinterest. Also feel free to let me know in comments or Social Media what you think. I welcome all kind of feedback:)
Few Other Albanian Recipes
If you like to check out some more Albanian recipes, see below links:
- Albanian Stuffed Peppers (Speca te Mbushura)
- Green Peas Stew – Gjelle me Bizele
- Roasted Cornish Hens with Potatoes
- Baked Chicken & Rice
Note: This post was first published in this website on January 2019 and it has been updated with new pictures and video on 01/27/2021. Thank you:)