A little while ago I had a Brazilian flatmate whose mom sent him some "sauce" from home, and I've been trying to find the recipe for it. Apparently it's a common ingredient for all sorts of things from rice dishes to marinades to soups and even dips. There are subtle variations from region to region, or even at the family level but there are significant areas of overlap.
All of them have garlic, but the rest i'm not sure about. The paste from his mom was slightly orange in colour (suggesting carrots). And when swirling a little of the paste in water, one could make out fragments of a green leaf .. celery or parsely maybe? It was very strong in taste, quite salty, and very addictive .. one teaspoon in a pot of rice was enough to make left-overs impossible to keep
.. The only other clue he could give me was that his mom would spend ages crushing the ingredients in a pestle and mortar.
Another variation is a local Portuguese garlic sauce sold as "Prego Sauce". Similarly addictive, this one differs by being very very red, having a lot of oil in it, and some chillies too. But the other ingredients are equally obscure. The label simply says "garlic, chillies, veg oil, spices, mixed herbs, grape vinegar". When I called up the manufacturers, they were very cagey and said it was a secret recipe (of course!)
Please help! Does anyone here know the secret of Portuguese / Brazilian garlic sauces (or pastes or stocks) .. ????