Did you know that a good, homemade salsa made with the freshest ingredients can change your life? It absolutely can. And did you know that making your own Mexican salsa is super easy? It is, I promise.
The salsa recipe I’m sharing today is a rustic or old-fashioned kind of salsa because of the way that it’s prepare. Back before everyone in Mexico had blenders (or even before they were invented), cooks used their molcajete (or lava rock mortar and pestle) to make their daily salsas. Sure nowadays you can just grab the blender, but there’s a certain magic in using a molcajete. There are even many traditional cooks that believe that the flavours and ingredients only truly come alive when ground in a molcajete. You’ll just have to try it yourself and see if it’s true…I think it is.
When it comes to salsa recipes there are not only hundreds of them in Mexico, but also within those traditional ones people tend to add their own special touches. Use my recipe as a guide and you can always adjust the ingredients to fit your tastebuds perfectly. For example, you may want to add more chiles, or perhaps less. Some people don’t like garlic, so they omit it — or you can add less than in my recipe. Many people don’t add cilantro, but I love including it because it gives the charred ingredients a burst of freshness. Occasionally I’ll even add a splash of lime juice just for an extra punch of tartness. Lastly, perhaps you want a less chunky salsa so you’ll grind the ingredients smoother than I have. You see, it doesn’t matter. Just enjoy the process and the explosion of flavours that these fresh, healthy ingredients have and how they’ll transform your favourite Mexican foods.
- 3 to 4 Roma tomatoes
- 2 or more or less Serrano chilies, adjust according to heat tolerance
- half a small white onion*, ajdust to taste
- 2 whole garlic cloves, adjust to taste
- sea salt to taste
- fresh, roughly chopped cilantro, optional
- a molcajete or mortar and peslte
- a comal or a griddle or pan to char the ingredien
- Heat a comal (or griddle or pan) over medium-high heat. Once hot carefuly place the tomatoes, the onion and chiles on to it. Allow to char on one side before flipping and turning until the chiles are softened and blistered, the onion soften (you can also cut the onion into smaller pieces to expediate the cooking), and once the tomatoes have blacked on all sides. Keep a close eye on the vegetables as they will all be done at different times. Add the garlic cloves towards the end as they need but 3 to 5 minutes to char. Carefully remove the ingredients from the comal/griddle/pan.
- In your molcajete (or mortar) first place the garlic cloves with a sprinkling of salt, grind until completly broken down. Next add the chiles (remove the stems first) and grind them with the garlic until broken down. Now for the onion cut it into smaller pieces before placing it on the molcajete so that it's easier to grind. If you too would like your salsa chunkier then only grind the onion pieces a bit before proceeding. Okay, now place one tomato at a time into the center of the molcajete, use the pestle to carefully push down and help squash it down before beginning to grind it into the other ingredients. Grind into your desired chunkiness before adding the remaining tomatoes at a time.
- Lastly, and only optional, if you'd like mix in some roughly chopped cilantro into the salsa. Taste the salsa and season with sea salt as desired, stir again to combine and give your salsa one last taste before serving right in the molcajete. Enjoy!
** After charring the ingredients you don't have to scrape away the blackened bits -- in fact they add a smoky flavour. However if you'd like you are free to remove this first before grinding.
*** Do watch the video for a visual explanation. https://youtu.be/SMYYUj6T6wA
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