Salsa de Molcajete

This authentic salsa de molcajete is made up of roasted tomatoes, chilies and garlic. It is a flavorful, medium spicy, chunky salsa full of history and culture. It’s a staple in Mexican households and is typically served with tortilla chips, tacos, beans, and many other Mexican dishes.

salsa de molcajete

What is Salsa de Molcajete?

Salsa de Molcajete is an authentic Mexican sauce made in a Molcajete. A molcajete is as stone tool, the traditional Mexican version of the mortar and pestle. It is used for grinding spices and mixing ingredients for salsas and more. Molcajetes are made out of volcanic rocks which is believed to make food taste better!

Salsa made in a molcajete tastes better for me, I don’t know if it is because of the flavor that the molcajete gives it, the technique, or because I love the fact of using a tool with as much history as the molcajete. It was first used 3500 years ago during the pre-Hispanic era to make salsas, talk about history!

You definitely don’t NEED a molcajete to make this salsa. You can also use a food processor. Simply place all the cooked ingredients in the machine and pulse until the desired consistency is reached. Make sure to leave it more on the chunky side.

Check out the simple ingredients needed to make this Salsa de Molcajete:

salsa de molcajete ingredients

Where to buy a molcajete?

The best place to buy a molcajete is in Mexico of course. However, I highly recommend this one as it is authentically made from volcanic stone.

It is also important to know that you need cure a molcajete before using it. To cure a Molcajete you need to grind garlic with salt and water until it no longer gives off sand or dirt. You also should grind rice in the molcajete. Check out this step-by-step guide and video on how to do it, it is super easy!

salsa roja de molcajete

Tips and Substitutes for the BEST Salsa de Molcajete:

  • Tomatoes: I love using Roma tomatoes in this salsa because that is what I grew up with but you can also use plum, beefsteak, or even tomatillos if you want a salsa verde!
  • Chilies: Dried “chiles de arbor”, aka tree chilies are the best for this recipe. However, you can also use fresh anaheim (mild), jalapeños (medium), or Serranos (spicy).
  • Garlic: You can definitely mash raw garlic if you’d like but roasted garlic adds the perfect flavor to this salsa de molcajete. If using raw garlic, try one clove instead of two.
  • Food processor: If you don’t have a molcajete, use a food processor. Place all the cooked ingredients in the machine and pulse until the desired consistency is reached. Make sure to leave it more on the chunky side.
salsa de molcajete

Other Delicious and Authentic Mexican Recipes:

Salsa Verde

Vegan Pollo Asado

Black Bean Flautas

Quesadillas

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salsa de molcajete

Salsa de Molcajete


  • Author: Anna Rios
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30
  • Yield: 24 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This authentic salsa de molcajete is made with roasted tomatoes, chilies, and garlic. It is a flavorful, medium spicy, chunky salsa full of history and culture.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 23 Roma tomatoes
  • 3 chiles de Arbol (tree chilis)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped finely

Instructions

  1. Turn a griddle on medium-high heat.
  2. Place all tomatoes, chilies, and unpeeled garlic cloves on the griddle until they become soft and slightly charred. (See photo above for reference).
  3. Chilies will be done within 4-5 minutes (about 2 minutes on each side or less!). Garlic will be done within 5-7 minutes and tomatoes will be done last.
  4. Let tomatoes, chilies, and garlic cool off. Meanwhile, finely chop onion and cilantro.
  5. Remove seeds from chilies, leave some for extra heat if desired. Place the chilies and 1/4 tsp of salt in the molcajete. Grind until chilies become crumb-like or paste-like. Add 1 Tsp of water and continue grinding.
  6. Peel garlic and add to molcajete. Grind down until a thick paste has been made. Add tomatoes and repeat the process. 
  7. Grind until desired consistency is achieved. Molcajete salsa is known for being chunky and thick, just avoid large pieces.
  8. If you do not have a molcajete you can use a blender or food processor. Simply place all the cooked ingredients in the machine and pulse until the desired consistency is reached.
  9. Finally, add onion and cilantro to molcajete and use a spoon to stir it in.
  10. Enjoy with tortilla chips, add to tacos, or any other Mexican dish! 

Notes

*refrigerate for up to five days. Best when fresh.

  • Category: Sides
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: salsa de mocajete, authentic mexican salsa, salsa roja, roasted salsa, salsa molcajeteada

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