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Mexican Salsa

Salsa Chipotle en Molcajete


2 medium tomatoes

2-3 chipotles in adobo (try the La Coste canned version)

2 garlic cloves

1 bunch chopped cilantro

salt to taste

molcajete (Mexican version of a mortar and pestle)


Roast tomatoes and 1 garlic clove in a skillet. In the molcajete, make a paste with the peeled garlic clove and cilantro. Add chipotles and mash. Finally, add tomatoes and carefully continue creating a paste.


It's impossible to achieve a smooth texture with molcajete, so this recipe will appeal to people who like chunkier salsa. If you don't have a molcajete, you can try using a blender or food processor. Pulse lightly, or process fully if you want a ketchup-like texture.


Salsa Verde


8-12 medium tomatillos

1-2 serrano peppers

1 garlic clove

1 handful cilantro

1/2 cup water

salt to taste


Remove tomatillo shells and rinse. Cut tomatillos in half and add to blender. Remove stem from peppers and add to blender along with the garlic, cilantro, salt and water. Blend until smooth (1-2 minutes). Taste and adjust.




1. Heat a skillet with 2 tbsp oil and add salsa. Add 2 pinches of ground cumin and let salsa boil. Turn off heat and cool.

2. Add an avocado and the juice of half a lemon. Blend until smooth.

3. For any of the above recipes, strain with a fine mesh and use a spoon to work the salsa through.

Salsa de Chile Pasilla


8 dried pasilla peppers

2 garlic cloves

1 medium tomato

1/8 of an onion

1/2 tsp thyme

2 tsp shredded piloncillo (aka panela, looks like brown sugar in solid discs or cones)

2 tbsp apple cider or white vinegar

salt to taste


De-seed and de-stem peppers using scissors. Rehydrate peppers in boiling water. Add ingredients to a blender or food processor with a small amount of the rehydrated pepper water and blend until smooth.

Heat a little oil or lard in a pan and fry salsa until it boils/thickens. Cool and serve.

Notes & Tips:


  • Each recipe yields about 3 small portions

  • Check out our salsa pictures to see what serrano & pasilla peppers and piloncillo look like

  • We found most of the specialty peppers and ingredients at what used to be El Sureno Market on Commercial Dr & 1st Ave. It's now a Persia Foods grocer but they still have Mexican produce (for now). They had the cheapest tomatillos we could find for $1.99/lb

  • La Coste chipotles in adobo are $1.50/can at Donald's Market, and one can will be more than enough

  • Serve salsas with tortilla chips or crackers, on top of salads, eggs, stir frys, meat, wherever!


Click here for more recipes, plus information on spicy peppers and the principles of salsa making!

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