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King Taco: what's in that sauce?!!?! [moved from Los Angeles board]

Savor the Flava. i've come close to mastering this sauce at home, but mine taste more like El Taurino aka hoover taco- sauce. can anyone taste a hint of curry or tumeric? what's in their sauce thats sooo addicting?



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  1. Are you sure their sauces are different? King Taco owns El Taurino (and both are at least partly owned by Pepsi, supposedly), so I assumed they used the same green and red salsas, though sometimes the sauces do taste a little different. That, however, could simply be the result of different chilis of the same variety having different tastes.

    7 Replies
    1. re: hungrybruin

      good to know...but, yeah i do taste the difference between the two sometimes... perhaps you're right on the different chillies. - thanks for the scoop!!

      1. re: jms_5150

        hey jms, could you post the recipe up because i've been wanting to make this myself

      2. re: hungrybruin

        Please post your recipe!!!

        I'm a total hot sauce freak and King Taco has one of the best in LA. Lots of character and lots of heat. I would buy it buy the quart if they would sell it... alas, the most I'm ever able to get away with is a few onces!!! What a shame. Forget world peace, Imagine carne asada merrinaded in this?!?!

        This stuff definitely has lime or lemon, and I kinda feel is has pumpkin seeds too, which is common in salsas like this. It's similar to Tapatio brand hot sauce but with much less vinegar (if any). It's also more earthy (pumpkin seeds?) and has much more heat. It's not fruity at all so I would say it has little to no habanero.

        1. re: Kevitivity

          I don't think this dude wants to post his recipe or doesn't use the board any longer, the requests have been up for about a year but he has never shown up.

          1. re: Kevitivity

            does anyone know whats in there carna asada merrinaded i really wanna know that me and my girlfriend have been lookin for this like crazy so far nothing :'(

            1. re: guywithbluepants

              I don't have any inside info, just speculation from eating there so often . . . I have to guess the marinade is heavy with lime juice?? It may not be all there is in the marinade, but it sure seems like it's one of the ingredients.

              1. re: guywithbluepants

                mojo criollo is the marinade they use to make carne asade. you can purchase mojo criollo at just about any mexican market. It's made by several different companies.

          2. i've got no idea what's in the sauce, but it is so good! i love that place.

            1. I found a chunk of clove in the green sauce. A little (very little) bit of clove seemed to get my version of their green sauce closer.

              Will you share your red sauce recipe? I've tried to do this one but haven't come very close. I moved from L.A. about three years ago and I'm still going through withdrawels for both the green and red sauces.

              1. yes, please share your recipe... king taco/el taurino red sauce is very addicting!

                1. Recipe Copycatting 101 - get the list of ingredients/nutritional info. Fast foods chains, by regulation, have to provide that information when requested. A lot of stuff will fall under the generic term 'spices,' but having the ingredients will help.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: scott123

                    so i called king taco to get nutri info... no luck!

                  2. hey jms could you tell me what the recipe is for the sauce? I would really like to know how to make this


                    1. I've been enjoying King Taco's red sauce for years. Whatever is in it, they're not telling. I've heard that only 2 people in the company have the recipe. I'm thinking the sauce is more of a curry than a usual Mexican style chili based hot sauce. The flavors are very complex with strong citrus, coriander, allspice, and a hint of smoke. There might be some cayenne or habanero powder in there too which gives it the "kick". I'll keep experimenting.

                      1. Jimbob
                        Are you going to post up your red sauce recipe? Everybody on the thread seems to like King Taco or El Taurino enough to give it a go of their own . . . if yours comes close, let's try it.

                        1. King Taco Red Sauce is wonderful. You are right, the flavors are very complex and layered. The only thing though is if you have a low tolerance for hot chile then be careful because IT IS VERY HOT!!

                          1. I also would love to get your recipe, Jimbob. Please post it for us!


                            1. I do can make somewhat alike king taco sauce.. but im not 100% there yet.. well if jimbob and i work together, we might make it happen.. as for the ppl.. i spent $ and time to come to where i am with this sauce so.. I will not share the recipe.. but jms pls give me a holla .

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Royappa

                                That's the spirit! Wouldn't want to share any recipes here on the home cooking board, might get ripped off by someone who hasn't spent any $ and time on their own recipes.

                                1. re: jimmyodonnell

                                  Hey there Jimmy, how's it going? My name is Cesar
                                  I've been working my self on this king taco recipe for some time, and I just cant nail it... Are you there yet? have you figured out what is in the salsa?

                              2. I am going to give this sauce a try and will let you know if I have any success.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: redmeat

                                  Welcome to Chowhound!
                                  IMO the sauce isn't that different than this one in the Recipe database:
                                  Chile de arbol, ancho, tomatoes and pumpkin seeds included.

                                  There's another stupidly simple salsa floating around on this board that contains nothing but (roasted?) chile flakes, crushed tomatoes and salt. Sometimes the chile flavor is complex enough to shine through.
                                  EDIT - found it: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/411444

                                  I really have to make a return trip to KT, but if their sauce does contain allspice that makes it a close cousin to the sauce from Carnitas Michoacan on N. Broadway.

                                  1. re: DiveFan

                                    I think the post above about it being more of a curry might be right. My first test was ruined by the cloves (or clove powder). It was so overpowering it left me with a "just chewed on a clove cigarette taste."

                                    I am messing with boiling water and olive oil with garlic and shalots and kosher salt. Then simmering it for about 30 minutes for a base, kind of like you would do if you are making your own chicken stock (adding those flavors to the water). Then I strain the water and add chili powders to the hot seasoned water to get a paste. The New Mexico Chili Powder didn't work well, the California Chili Powder seemed a little closer. I still think the kick or heat comes from Cayenne (only because it has a similar affect on me, plus the after affects of KT Sauce and something with a lot of Cayenne are the same - lower abdominal if you know what I mean). The pumpkin seed thing might work too. I have that in my second batch, not my first, and it seems to bring another dimension to it. Lime juice is a must, I am thinking of toying with some concentrate next time.

                                    I can't work on this everyday, so I will report back when I have time to mess with it.

                                    The only thing I can't figure is if there is any tomato in there or not, I don't think so, it's all chili.

                                    I think I will make a KT run and buy a cup so I can try and disect it more. Any other feedback will help.


                                    1. re: DiveFan

                                      We're both learning a lot about the subtleties of Mexican salsas.

                                      I've got to believe that KT salsa's main chile is de arbol - hot, cheap, and (the more I taste) surprisingly complex compared to most cayenne.

                                      I go Real easy on the supporting spices, as you discovered with clove. As you may know many of the 'Mexican' spices like cumin came from Asia.

                                      I'll bet that there's a small amount of tomato, got to have some kind of acid for balance.

                                      Oh, yeah, No olive oil. Rarely used in Mexican cooking, and too expensive for a taqueria chain.

                                      Use whole chiles (toasted, soaked, blended, strained) for better flavor, body, lower cost (think KT) and use the powdered versions the day after to balance heat and flavor.

                                      Good luck!

                                      1. re: DiveFan

                                        de arbol's are much better, still not sure on the tomato, or I can't get the amount right. I started with very few ingredients this time (using the de arbols) and going to work in more each time. simple garlic, fire roasted tomatos, de arbols, salt pepper.. I think the pumpkin seeds are a must... I did however read another recipe that sounded similar and they added sesame seeds as well as the pumpkin seeds. That recipe asked for cloves, but I am stearing clear of that.

                                        something like.....

                                        de arbols
                                        tomato - in small amounts
                                        pumpkin seeds

                                        What quanties I am far off to get the right flavor. In the meantime I have made some pretty good tasting stuff. Just not KT!

                                      2. re: DiveFan

                                        i dont think the sauce is that similar to michoacan. definately a lot spicier

                                    2. I haven't had King Tacos sauce but it sounds like a sauce I used to make very frequently .. from chilies de arbol, pumpkin seeds, allspice, cumin, oregano and garlic. People in my office liked it so much I used to make it in bulk and give it away.

                                      I'm too lazy to go get the book but it's in Rick Bayless's first cookbook. I found the recipe online. Here it ts:


                                      I also used to add a shot of reposado for a kick but definately not needed.

                                      SG ~

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: SilverlakeGirl

                                        I made the Rick Bayless sauce. It is good. But, not quite King Taco. I would 86 the sesame seeds and cloves. The Bayless sauce has a lot more vinegar then the KT sauce. Maybe I will try a version of the Bayless Sauce, but dump the sesame and cloves, cut the vinegar by 1/3, cook to soften the chilis and use the chili water to replace the vinegar. Also, I am still thinking some tomato, just not sure how much.

                                        1. re: redmeat

                                          KT wins! I give up. I have tried so many combos and just don't come close. Hopefully some day someone will come here and share their recipe that comes close.

                                      2. No one has mentioned using Chipotle chiles. I've tried it with this and it gives it a smoky flavor, I didn't add anything beyond a little bit of clove but it was rather close considering I didn't put any real effort into it.

                                        42 Replies
                                        1. re: Kintaro

                                          I am confused you put a little Chipotle in what? I have used Chipotles and you are right, their flavor comes through similar to KT's. I believe there are Chipotles in their sauce for sure... What other ingredients are you using?

                                          So far I am at ....

                                          Tomato Sauce, Garlic, Onion, de Arbols, Chipotles, Salt, Pepper, Lime Juice.

                                          1. re: redmeat

                                            my dad old friend knows how to do it..back in the 80's he use to live with this family,, and one of thoses family member was able to get the secret recipe.. he was able to get the secret red hot sauce recipe ...and put up his own restaurant where we dont know... but my dad knows part of it recipe.... we have lost contact with that family..but we going to go look for them..and going to try to make the sauce with my dad..i check back here this weekend.and let ya know how it goes...

                                            1. re: p3lon

                                              Good Luck. I am anxious to find out if you come up with anything.

                                              1. re: redmeat

                                                hello all.....alas I think I have found the appropriate forum to continue pursuing my obsession with the ever-elusive KT red sauce recipe. I grew up in ELA and have been a patron since childhood. I have been tinkering with a ton of recipes of my own for years to no avail. I have a similar recipe to the Bayless recipe mentioned in this thread that I use as a sauce to accompany my Birria recipe. However, this is not remotely close - it is too heavy on vinegar and also incorporates a Mexican chocolate - Ibarra. My wife has insisted for years that she tastes chipotle in the sauce- but it must be very little. I would love to continue this dialogue with you if you would allow me to. Best regards, Tony J - Upland, CA

                                                1. re: Kalena499

                                                  Tony, any feedback would be great. I have struck out so many times trying to duplicate this sauce, I have kind of given up.

                                                  1. re: redmeat

                                                    I can recap what I have tried.. not in any specific method, but ingredients. I have tried various types of cooking methods, from roasting peppers, to dry peppers, to boiling them, to blending.... no matter what I try the flavor combos just aren't right.


                                                    de Arbol Chilis
                                                    Cayenne Pepper (powder)
                                                    Cumin (powder)
                                                    Mexican Chili Powder
                                                    Chipotle Peppers
                                                    Tomato Sauce (or Paste in water)
                                                    Lime Juice


                                                    I am dumping the idea of using any vinager, or cloves, or seeds of any type.

                                                    1. re: redmeat

                                                      I tried this... with the above ingredients. The "chili sauce" is pretty tasty, but not King Taco. Texture and Heat are similar, but something it missing, I can't quite put my finger on it. Plus, I can't figure why mine always turns out so orange and KT's is bright red.

                                                      1/2 Onion
                                                      4 cloves of Garlic
                                                      1 TBSP Cumin
                                                      2 TBSP Mexican Chili Powder
                                                      1 TBSP Cayenne pepper
                                                      A Big Handfull of dried de arbol chilis (about 50 or so)
                                                      2 cups of water
                                                      2 heaping spoonfuls of tomato paste
                                                      1 TBSP Salt
                                                      Juice of 2 Limes
                                                      1/3 cup vegetable oil

                                                      In a food processor I put the 1/2 Onion, Garlic, Cayenne, Cumin, Salt & Mex Chili Powder... I kept it running until it made a paste from the powders and moisture of the onion and garlic. I then dumped that into a small pot with 2 cups of water and 1/3 cup of Vegetable Oil. Next I took the stems off the de arbols, removed the seeds, not that carefully, and put them in a dry pan to lightly toast them. As soon as they start to change color, I pulled them off and added them to the pot with the water, oil and other ingredients. I brought everything to a boil and then simmered for about 30 minutes... then I added a couple of heaping spoonfulls of tomato paste and stirred that in.... then simmered for an hour. I let it cool to room temperature, put in in a blender (added the Lime Juice) and buzzed it for a good minute or two, then poured it through a medium strainer to eliminate any bits of seed or peppers that didn't get blended up. I put it in the fridge for a few hours and boom-bam it's done. I think it is pretty tasty. It is not KT, but similar consistency and similar heat .

                                                      I just tried it, I like it... if anyone wants to give it a try and see what needs to be added or taken out or how far off you think I am.... which I know is pretty far off, but I need to start somewhere.

                                                      1. re: redmeat

                                                        Something missing - Could this be 'M.S.G.' by any chance ? :-o

                                                        1. re: lukeskywacko

                                                          hahah i didnt even see your reply. i said the same thing

                                                      2. re: redmeat

                                                        Have you tried something called achiote?

                                                    2. re: redmeat

                                                      Hi redmeat,
                                                      The ingredient description 'Mexican chili powder' is ambiguous. What exactly is it?
                                                      I've made chile sauce whose orange color came from guajillos, although de arbols might be a contributor.
                                                      Have you tried a little allspice, say 1 tsp for complexity?

                                                      More importantly, I'd substitute ancho, guajillo and especially New Mexico chile for the cayenne. Chains are bound to use what's available/cheap although KT has been around long enough to be more traditional.

                                                      Thanks for the update, reminds me that I'm low on salsa roja...

                                                      1. re: DiveFan

                                                        Mexican Chili Powder is just a "generic" brand spice you can buy at any local drug store and keep on your spice rack. It is like regular old Chili Powder.. but a tad different.

                                                        On the All Spice issue... that I have not tried it, but my grandma (an Italian) swears it adds a home made taste to everything... I can try it...

                                                        I have used New Mexico before, it didn't seem to have the right taste to duplicate KT.

                                                        In am thinking this chili sauce derives from all fresh chili's.. roasted and then cooked down.

                                                        Thanks for your insight Dive Fan.

                                                        1. re: redmeat

                                                          As for the Cayenne, the only reason I use it is because I use to go to this bar in Long Beach CA that made Buffalo Wings where Cayenne was the "heat" ingredient. They had this great sauce, but increased the heat (mild, medium, hot) by adding more Cayenne. I would get the extra Hot.....

                                                          The effect the next day was a nice crampy lower abdominal discomfort! not fun, but worth it due to the taste....

                                                          KT Red Sauce was the only thing that ever had the same affect on me... so I just assumed there might be Cayenne in there. No other Chili, Fresh, Roasted, Dried or Powder has the same impact on my system... so I just deduced it from that.

                                                          Not really scientific, I am sorry,,, just my own observation!

                                                          1. re: redmeat

                                                            OK everyone - I tweaked a couple of different recipes and think that I am getting closer, but there is still something missing. Here is the last recipe I used.

                                                            8 oz can of tomatoe sauce
                                                            1/4 onion
                                                            10 chiles de arbol
                                                            2 new mexico chiles
                                                            1 tsp garlic powder
                                                            1 tsp cayenne chili powder
                                                            1 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
                                                            1 tsp ground corriander
                                                            3 cloves
                                                            salt & pepper
                                                            juice of 1/2 lime

                                                            toast your chiles de arbol & new mexico chiles before boiling them then use the water from the chiles you boiled to created the correct consistency.
                                                            Once again, its close but still is missing something.

                                                            1. re: Kalena499

                                                              I am going to give it a try and report back. Thanks

                                                              1. re: redmeat

                                                                I made a different type of sauce than KT for a party I am having this weekend. I tried Orange Juice instead of Lime. It actually tastes closer. KT has something in it that makes it a bit tangy and citrusy.. instead of vinegar, but the lime is a bit too sour. Not saying it is the answer, but when I get around to trying the KT sauce again, I am going to use OJ instead of Lime.

                                                                1. re: redmeat

                                                                  I just blasted some out... don't try the OJ.

                                                                  1. re: redmeat

                                                                    Just tried another variation of the recipe I provided earlier. Here are the suttle differences in the recipe. I must say - we are very close:

                                                                    * Increase Onion to 1/2 from 1/4.
                                                                    * Use 5 chipotle chiles and 1 tsp of the adobe sauce from a can instead of the powdered chipotle
                                                                    * Substitute the cloves w/ 1/2 tsp of allspice powder.
                                                                    * Increase garlic powder to 2 tsp
                                                                    * Incorporate 20 or so whole black peppercorns
                                                                    * Increase cayenne pepper to 3 tsp
                                                                    * Icrease ground corriander to 2 1/2 tsp
                                                                    * Use 1 whole lemon for juice instead of lime

                                                                    Findings: Looks and consistency are dead on. As for the flavors....let me know what you think.

                                                                    Thanks - Tony

                                                                    1. re: Kalena499

                                                                      Ok, I bought all the ingredients yesterday. I am going to give this a try tomorrow. I guess one question is...

                                                                      I know you said it is missing something, but does it taste good? Meaning, would you make it again?

                                                                      1. re: redmeat

                                                                        Making it now... going to let is set up for a while in the fridge. I will report back tonight.

                                                                        1. re: redmeat

                                                                          Done. It is missing something. Two things for me.. it isn't hot enough and I used 20 de arbols. And, I think the New Mexicos add a little too bitter of an after taste. Maybe stick to all de arbols (30) only.

                                                                          I think I am just as confused as I was from the start.

                                                                          I will let you know what I think of the taste after it sets up in the fridge overnight.

                                                                          1. re: redmeat

                                                                            Now that it has sit for a couple of hours in the fridge... it isn't bad. I think I may have used too much onion. The Raw Onion flavor is really coming through, even as an after taste. The chilis and heat are pretty good, the flavors are close. Next time I am going to swap Onion Powder for Raw Onion and go back to trying the toasted pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds, just to see if that tweeks it enough to give if that unique KT Taste.

                                                                            1. re: redmeat

                                                                              6 hours in the fridge and I open the container and the onion smell really too strong. I still taste way too much onion. I used 1/2, but I think it the raw onion that is the problem.

                                                                              Gonna rework it if I have time tomorrow.

                                                                              1. re: redmeat

                                                                                • 8 oz can of tomato sauce
                                                                                • 20 chiles de arbol
                                                                                • 2 new mexico chiles
                                                                                • 2 tsp Onion Powder
                                                                                • 2 tsp garlic powder
                                                                                • 3 tsp cayenne chili powder
                                                                                • 5 chipotle chiles packed in adobo sauce
                                                                                • Incorporate 20 or so whole black peppercorns
                                                                                • 2 1/2 tsp ground coriander
                                                                                • 1/2 tsp of allspice powder
                                                                                • The Juice of 1 Lemon
                                                                                • ½ tbsp of toasted sesame seeds
                                                                                • 1 tbsp of toasted pumpkin seeds
                                                                                • salt and pepper to taste

                                                                                Take off the stems and remove most of the seeds from the dried chiles. Toast your chiles de arbol & new mexico chiles before boiling. Bring them to a boil in a small pot with enough water to cover them, then simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes until soft enough to blend.

                                                                                Place the softened chiles, the chipotle peppers, lemon juice, tomato sauce, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds & spices in a blender… add a cup of the water left over from boiled chiles and blend for a good minute.

                                                                                Add more of the water to reach the proper consistency and blend again. Pour through a medium strainer and store in the fridge overnight.

                                                                                It’s getting real close.

                                                                                1. re: redmeat

                                                                                  Sometimes things happen by accident. I had left a jumbo sized bottle of tapatio and it had spilled. It must of been out for a couple off days. I was eating some eggs and I went for the bottle of tapatio. Before putting some on my eggs I swipe some of the tapatio that had spilled. Instantly I knew I had stumbled on to the secret. King Taco red sauce. I havent tried it but if you can figure out the tapatio recipe and add chipotles you got what youre looking for.

                                                                                  1. re: Chile

                                                                                    Is it hot enough? Tapatio just doesn't seem that hot to me, compared to KT that is. Also, isn't Tapatio really vinagary? I don't think KT has much vinegar, if any.

                                                                                    1. re: redmeat

                                                                                      The tapatio being out for two days changed the tapatio taste. Spicy wise I think abanero or chile de arbol would do the trick.

                                                                                      1. re: Chile

                                                                                        This blog made interesting reading.
                                                                                        I love the KT chili. A year ago a friend gave me this recipe- it sounds like yours is closer, but I wantedd to share mine. Maybe it can add to the endeavor.
                                                                                        6 tomatoes- grilled
                                                                                        1 onion- grilled and chopped
                                                                                        1/2 lbs chili de arbol
                                                                                        4 pieces of garlic
                                                                                        1 bottle of tapatio
                                                                                        a shot of vineger
                                                                                        salt and pepper to taste
                                                                                        put in blender and blend well
                                                                                        I thought this was close, but not as hot.

                                                                                        1. re: kobestopper

                                                                                          Just recently found this site but ive been trying to figure out the green sauce recipe for awhile now. I havent had time to make a batch myself and tweek things here and there but everytime i have leftover sauce from my local mexican food place(that i trust none of the water down sutff) i try and tweek that.

                                                                                          some of you say that the sauce is missing something and no matter how hard i tried i felt that i was missing something too in the green sauce. i recently found that chicken stock powder cubes give it a distinct KT flavor, well atleast for the green sauce. i figured since it got me closer for having my sauce taste like KT green sauce it might be in the red sauce also. Growing up in a mexican family you put that Knorr chicken stock in just about anything(rice, soup, meat..ect)

                                                                                          dont know what im talking about heres a link
                                                                                          I buy the HUGE tall canister. but they sell it in little boxes with about 6 of them.

                                                                                          use only a bit. in other words "to taste". its really strong stuff.

                                                                                          1. re: Spyder07

                                                                                            Chicken Stock makes sense. I use it in my homemade enchilada sauce. Not a bad suggestion at all.

                                                                                            1. re: redmeat

                                                                                              let me know how it came out. also something i pondered up but havent been able to try is instead of using traditional vinegar use the vinegar juice from those little peppers they have at your typical mom and pop burger stand. ya know the yellow ones in yellow vinegar. for some reason i always had a hint of that vinegar in the green sauce. might not work for the red sauce but figure one out and im sure we get the other

                                                                                            2. re: Spyder07

                                                                                              Hello all new to this site and really enjoyed all the posts. I got a real kick out of the determination of fiquring the recepie out.! It reminded me of when i tried a while back but just gave up! I am going to try your recepie redmeat and let you know what i think. Spyder, do you have the recepie for the green salsa? I know it contains tomatillos, onions, cloves, garlic, cilantro, jalapenos and other ingredients that i can't figure out. let me know if you can help...

                                                                                    2. re: redmeat

                                                                                      ok redmeat,
                                                                                      I just tried the recepie as indicated, strained and even added the chicken flavoring like indicated by another poster, and i feel it needs more chile de arbol. I have a cup of KT's salsa and the one i made side by side and kept trying them and sacraficing my tounge for the experiment and i think it needs more arbol chiles, like 10 to 15 more, i will give it a shot and keep you all posted.
                                                                                      Also anyone have an idea for the green salsa? oh and the maranaide?

                                                                                2. re: redmeat

                                                                                  I would recommend you add habanero peppers for the kick. One time I had the salsa and had a burning in the back of my tongue similar burning as from habaneros.

                                                                    2. re: Kalena499

                                                                      i am so curious about this sauce. I was successful in recreating one of Rubios salsas that now I feel I need to take a trip to LA to try this one.

                                                                      But nevertheless, to clarify, do you puree all the above or are you straining the chilies out?

                                                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                        In a nutshell... YES.

                                                                        Puree and Strain!

                                                                        The texture of the KT Red Sauce is Smooth.

                                                                        It is kind of the consistency of .... like a can of tomato sauce ... not crushed tomatoes, but tomato sauce.

                                                                        1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                          hey chef just curious which Rubios salsa did you recreate?

                                                                          1. re: Spyder07

                                                                            The dark red HOT one.

                                                                            Perhaps you'll recognize it...

                                                                            just to clear something that sort of irked me. One of posters said that they stumbled on this recipe somewhere (and used my photo before asking)... um I never stumbled on it, and believe me I looked hard. I created this after quite a few hours of testing and talking with some Mexican friends. I swore there was chipotle chilis in the recipe, but there's not. You get the smokiness from charring the red pepper flakes in a frying pan (cast iron if you have it) and then run for the hills because your eyes will surely water! Well worth the discomfort though, we go through this like ketchup. If you want I'll link you up with the simple recipe.

                                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                              chef chicklet...could you share the Rubio's salsa recipe? Thx.

                                                          2. re: Kintaro

                                                            I use chipotle in adobo sauce, black pepper, 1 clove of garlic, salt, and habanero. I don't have it down yet. I'm missing the citrus flavor which probably comes from apple cider vinegar. I've yet to experiment with allspice and cayenne peppers. I know i'm close but not there yet.

                                                          3. Has anyone tried using some ground Garam Masala? It's a VERY common, cheap spice blend used in Indian cuisine. I tried some of the King Taco red salsa last night and the Garam Masala taste popped out at me. It has a very distinct WARMING sensation that I'm pretty familiar with. Garam masala is usually comprised of cloves, green and/or black/brown cardamom, cinnamon (or probably cassia), and mace and/or nutmeg. Please let me know if somebody tries to experiment with this.

                                                            1. LOL, we'll never get a recipe exactly like King Taco. If we were able to somehow, all these Mexican taco places in LA would just copy it. The best you can do is create a recipe yourself that tastes good.

                                                              An old friend of mine makes some bomb salsa and he told me his secret was grapes (not green) and beer. I would've never guessed because it was pretty damn good and I wouldn't exactly describe it as sweet. He said he didn't use a lot of grapes, just enough to counter the bitterness of the onions/chiles. I don't know the exact recipe, but it was a red salsa. I lost contact with him a long time ago.

                                                              Here's an idea -- every time I go to a taqueria, the smell that draws me in is the salsa roja and the manteca. Try using manteca instead of oil in your salsa. King Taco puts manteca in everything else, why not their salsa? LOL ...

                                                              There's also this place called Tacos Mexico, which is more or less a poor man's King Taco. I swear I can taste beer in their salsa, but not much. I don't taste beer in King Taco salsa roja, but there may be some. Look up some recipes on salsa borracha and try to incorporate that into your own salsa.

                                                              Also, I think King Taco salsa roja is chili/spice powder based. It is very thick compared to other salsa rojas in East LA taquerias. The main reason I don't think we'll ever figure out the salsa recipe is because I think the secret is in the herbs and spices--is very easy to conceal what's in blended spices. For all we know the secret could be Indian spices, Jamaican spices, or other Carribean spices that have that thick, rich flavor that adds to the intensity.

                                                              7 Replies
                                                              1. re: PRPitohead

                                                                Sadly one of the reasons i want to figure it out is because theyre so freakin stingy with it. You would think after charging so much for their food they would be kind enough to give it out.

                                                                I dont know why the people serving the food enforce it. It doesnt cost them anything. theyre still getting their paychecks.

                                                                1. re: Spyder07

                                                                  Well I just went to king taco about 1 month ago . I planned it out i brought and ice chest and pick up 8 of there 2.25$ cups fo the red sauce . It has last me about a month, i put it on everything , and when i run out i am just going to drive 1 hr down there and do the same thing . The lady thought i was crazy but o well, some white guys comes in and get 8 cups full lol . I use this stuff like water i love burning my mouth .

                                                                  1. re: Darkiller

                                                                    they sell it? i live 10min away and your gonna tell me i could have bought it this whole time?

                                                                    when i have an extra small to go cup thingy i make it last a week.

                                                                    1. re: Spyder07

                                                                      yeah they sell it .. it's 2.25$ for a side . It's a styrofoam cup . Not that big . It's like there water cups . So i just bought 8 of them , she look at me funnie but filled them up . It sucks since it is about 1 hr away from me . Here is a copy and paste from there web site

                                                                      Large Salsa (6oz): $2.25 + Tax

                                                                      1. re: Darkiller

                                                                        Hey everyone! There's your answer! Don't make it, just buy it!

                                                                        Getting back to the salsa recipe, today I made a salsa and it's the closest I've come to making a decent salsa roja (did not taste like King Taco, but it tastes like "Tacos Mexico", a decent taco restaurant near where I live. Their $0.55 taco Tuesdays makes $5 go a long way (8 or 9 tacos, which is my sweet spot, LOL). Their salsa tastes close to chipotle in adobo sauce (King Taco only has a hint of it, but not much).

                                                                        Anyway, you guys wouldn't believe the secret to my salsa that took it to the next level. Instead of using salt, I used something called "Adobo Mix" seasoning. Before you say "what the hell is that?", let me tell you that it's basically just seasoning salt. In fact, it tastes very similar to Lawry's seasoning salt (almost no difference really), something we all have in our homes. Just be sure not to use too much. Here's a rough sketch of the recipe I made (it made about 1/3rd of a cup of salsa):

                                                                        Garlic, peeled and chopped
                                                                        Red Chili powder (I used Cayenne Pepper and Chile California Molido)
                                                                        Seasoning salt
                                                                        Lemon (or lime if you prefer)
                                                                        Manteca (lard)
                                                                        dried (dehydrated) Chiles de Arbol
                                                                        Can of Chipotle Chiles in Adobo Sauce

                                                                        First, take about a teaspoon of Manteca (or lard). I have the Farmer John brand (not that it matters, lard is lard). Put it in a small skillet and heat at medium temperature. Throw 1 raw small garlic (peeled and chopped), 4 small dehydrated chiles de arbol, and a little bit of chopped onion (I put about 3 times the mass of a garlic, not much) into the heated skillet. Let the garlic, onion, and chiles cook in the manteca until grilled (not long, maybe 3-5 minutes?) Do not totally blacken the garlic, onions and chiles (black spots are good though)!

                                                                        Next, put some water in the skillet to cover the garlic and onions. I put about 3/4ths-1 cup of water. Don't worry about putting too much since it evaporates quickly. The water will serve as a base to the chile. Turn the heat to high and let the garlic, chiles, and onions boil. As it's boiling, add chile powder (I used half Cayenne Pepper and half Chile California Molido. Feel free to experiment with other chile powders such as parika, etc. I think any red chili powder should do.) Add chili powder until the water turns red and gets slightly thick. I think I put about 3 tablespoons of chili powder. Add some seasoning salt and squeeze some lemon into the boiling skillet (I love lemon so I put about 1/4th of a squeezed lemon). Also, add about one-eighth of a chipotle chili with a little bit of adobo sauce (the flavor is overpowering, so don't put too much!!). If the contents in the skillet get too thick because the water evaporated, add more water. Eventually it will gain the consistency of the salsa roja we all love. You'll know when to stop boiling (maybe 5-7 minutes or so?).

                                                                        Next, pour the contents into a blender and blend! If it needs more salt, add more seasoning salt. Add lemon for taste too!

                                                                        Referigerate and let the chili settle before served.

                                                                2. re: PRPitohead

                                                                  dude...gringos don't know what manteca is. just say lard.

                                                                3. I just had some King Taco today and I swear I tasted a crapload of cloves in it, but it was neutralized with a sweet flavor that balanced it out. I tried a new batch of my own salsa with ground cloves,some sugar, crushed red pepper, and a pinch of allspice and it came out pretty good, but still not King Taco. It was closer though. It definitely rivals other Taquerias now. In fact this salsa (dried arbol, garlic, lemon, seasoning salt, and said spices) reminded me of an old Taco cart in East LA-Boyle Heights area I used to go to all the time. That salsa roja was loaded with crushed red pepper.

                                                                  22 Replies
                                                                  1. re: PRPitohead

                                                                    A crapload of cloves? I don't know, I have messed with cloves in different recipes many times and the cloves have a taste that throws it off the map. I am still thinking somewhere in there is that toasted pumpkin seed. There is one other unique flavor we haven't hit yet. I don't know what it is. I go to King Taco every other week. I buy cups of it and bring it home. I taste it over and over again and I just can't put my finger on that one unique flavor. It isn't overly sweet, it has a savory flavor, and a little tangy but not citrus tangy. It's been brutal to try and figure this out. I went back to simple simple simple and started from the bottom and it still doesn't work. I am thinking about trying to start over without dried chiles. Maybe a Tomato, Onion, Garlic and a few different types of raw fresh chiles all roasted, Then cooked like a soup, Oil, saute Onion - Garlic, toss in fire roasted tomatoes and chiles... cook down and blend with my hand blender. I am just at a total loss.

                                                                    1. re: redmeat

                                                                      Cloves are very strong, no doubt, but thats why I think I taste it. Don't put a lot, just a little. As it settles, the clove flavor gets stronger and stronger, so be careful.

                                                                      Today I tried making a salsa centered around a seasoning called "pico de gallo". It's just a chili powder with salt and limon. People use it to season fruits like cucumbers (pepinos!), watermelon, lemon, pickles, pineapple, etc. Similar to Lucas chili powder, but not sweet. I used toasted garlic, dried chiles de arbol, ground cloves, "pico de gallo", lemon juice, chile de arbol molida (arbol chili powder), a pinch of seasoning salt, and some sugar. It's the closest I've come to King Taco chile. I think I'm right about the cloves and sugar, that's what gave it that unique "kick". I'd say I'm about 80% of the way there! Maybe next time I'll try brown sugar instead of regular sugar. Also, I want to try the toasted pumpkin seeds!

                                                                      1. re: PRPitohead

                                                                        Let us know how the pumpkin seed thing works. I was watching a show the other day and this guy was making all kinds of authentic dishes and kept tossing in toasted pumpkin seeds. He was even garnishing dishes with them. When I used them, i just toasted them until they started to Pop... then after I blended everything I had to use a strainer to get out all the left over bits of seeds and chili husks.

                                                                      2. re: redmeat

                                                                        ....It isn't overly sweet, it has a savory flavor, and a little tangy but not citrus tangy.

                                                                        Perhaps cardamom? A little bit can give things a peppery-winey tang.

                                                                        for that matter, maybe a little dark beer is in the mix.

                                                                        1. re: weezycom

                                                                          Interesting: i didnt know this.....

                                                                          The cardamom pod
                                                                          Cardamom belongs to the same family as ginger and turmeric. The cardamom plant is native to India and Sri Lanka and is also cultivated in ""Guatemala, Mexico"", Indonesia and other areas of southern Asia.

                                                                          Guatemala, Mexico

                                                                          Maybe you are on to something.

                                                                          1. re: redmeat

                                                                            1 CUP WATER
                                                                            2 TBSP ORANGE JUICE
                                                                            2 TSP KNORR CHICKEN BULLION
                                                                            1 TBSP DE ARBOL CHILI POWDER
                                                                            1 TBSP SMOKED PAPRIKA
                                                                            2 TSP GRANULATED GARLIC
                                                                            1 TSP CUMIN
                                                                            1 TSP CHILI POWDER
                                                                            1 TSP ONION POWDER
                                                                            2 TSP CAYENNE PEPPER
                                                                            ½ TSP CARDAMOM
                                                                            ½ TSP SALT
                                                                            3 TBSP TOMATO PASTE

                                                                            Add Water and OJ to a small sauce pot. Put on Medium Heat and add the Knorr Chicken Bullion & Salt, stir until it dissolves.

                                                                            Add the rest of the ingredients, minus the tomato paste, stir and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.

                                                                            Add the tomato paste and stir until it all melts in, then simmer for about 30 minutes stirring once and a while.

                                                                            Pour into a container and let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours.

                                                                            That’s it! Certainly Not KT, but pretty tasty and it may be on the right track. The Flavors are close, the Heat is close.

                                                                            1. re: redmeat

                                                                              ""The Flavors are close, the Heat is close.""

                                                                              I need to clarify.. I should have said similar and not close. I don't know that we will ever get close. I messed around a little this weekend and made a few others on this board and they are all off by quite a bit.

                                                                              1. re: redmeat

                                                                                RECIPE: Cut the Cardamom in half. Replace the Tomato Paste with 1/2 Cup of Tomato Sauce. Cut the water down to 3/4 Cup. Lastly, this time I blended all the dry ingredients in my coffee grinder to reduce it to a powder so it all dissolves better. I like the taste, I am going with this one.. It's not KT, but it is pretty tasty... Oh yeah, I also added a few shots from my pepper grinder.

                                                                          2. re: redmeat

                                                                            i actually found a clove in my red sauce at king taco once. i crunched down on it and bam! that numbing, warm clove taste exploded. i spit it out and stared at it, and then kept eating.

                                                                            1. re: esquimeaux

                                                                              That is bizarre. I have been eating at King Taco (for the red sauce) for over 20 years. I have never seen a chunk in their red sauce ever. It is always very smooth. Plus, I have made over 20 different recipes of red sauce trying to duplicate theirs and every time I put cloves in it completely wipes out the flavor. Maybe they are using them whole and they get strained out. Using the crushed clove powder, even in the smallest amounts just destroys red sauce and takes the flavors so far from KT it's ridiculous.

                                                                              1. re: esquimeaux

                                                                                Are you sure it wasn't the green sauce. I just came back from KT and there is a little bit of clove, very little in the green sauce. I bought 4 cups of the Red Sauce and it is really smooth.

                                                                                My recipe (above) is close. Mine is just a bit too bitter and a really dark red, which might be attributed to Tomato Paste vs. Tomato Sauce.

                                                                                1. re: redmeat

                                                                                  not to get off topic but does anyone know the mexican cheese they use the white cheese

                                                                                    1. re: Darkiller

                                                                                      Queso fresco or queso cotija. I personally like the queso cotija more because it has a sharper flavor. Throw that stuff on anything and it's really good (floutas with queso cotija, crema mexicana, and jalapenos ... mmm).

                                                                                      Anyway, I made a different batch of red salsa that came out really good. My tacos came out really good too. Here's how I made it.

                                                                                      Ingredients for tacos:

                                                                                      3 lbs. Boneless beef chuck steak, chopped
                                                                                      garlic powder
                                                                                      seasoning salt
                                                                                      carne asada seasoning (ingredients are basically cumin, chile powder, lime)
                                                                                      half of a lemon
                                                                                      teaspoon of manteca (lard)
                                                                                      corn tortillas
                                                                                      onion & cilantro to garnish tacos


                                                                                      Pre-heat skillet at medium heat and melt lard. Season tacos with garlic powder, pepper, carne asada seasoning, seasoning salt. Grill at medium heat. While grilling, squeeze fresh lemon juice into tacos (very important!). Grill until taco meat becomes brown and well-done. Remove taco meat from skillet and use taco juices/lard to heat your tortillas in. Before you put tortillas in skillet, wet with water. Heat on both sides until water dries. Do not overcook. It should take only about 20 seconds on each side. Lard and taco juices should stick to corn torillas. Use 2 tortillas for one taco. Garnish with onion & cilantro. Add salsa and lemon juice (optional).

                                                                                      Ingredients for salsa:

                                                                                      1 handful of Dried chile japones (japanse chiles), de-stemmed
                                                                                      1/2 of a tomatillo
                                                                                      3 fresh garlic cloves, peeled
                                                                                      onion (only about 1/8th of a brown onion)
                                                                                      seasoning salt
                                                                                      lemon juice squeezed
                                                                                      juices from cooked carne asada (While cooking taco meat, as soon as the meat turns brown, spoon out about 4 teaspoons of meat juices/lard to add to salsa. The more meat juices you put, the better your salsa will taste!)

                                                                                      Directions for salsa:

                                                                                      Roast chiles japones on dry skillet and boil in water for 10 minutes. On new skill, heat and add oil, garlic, onions, and tomatillos. Grill until slighly caramelized (do not burn). add everything to blender with lemon juice and seasoning salt and puree.

                                                                                      This salsa is not a dark blood-red salsa because of the the tomatillo. In fact, it is the same red-orangey color as king taco chile. It does not taste like king taco, but it is the best salsa I've made so far.

                                                                                      1. re: PRPitohead

                                                                                        well thx alot guys for the help with the cheese .. i tried the Queso fresco it was ok not alot of flavor . I will have to try the queso cotija . thx alot . Keep up the good work guys i am always reading up . I made 2 pots full of the hot sauce using the stuff u guys say . They came out pretty good but not as good as the KT . So now i just go buy there shit suck for me since i have to drive 2 hrs down there

                                                                                        1. re: Darkiller

                                                                                          I just came across this board and I must say that I admire the dedication from many of you in finding the right concoction. I messed with the green sauce myself a few months ago but my wife said that it wasn't even close so I just gave up. I prefer the red sauce for it explosive tast so I will try some of the receipe's listed here. I live in Fontana and they're finally going to open a KT but god know's when. I must say that I did taste a sauce that came very close to KT's when I use to live in Maywood. They have a taco joint called Taco Boy which has a salsa bar and one of their sauces comes very close except that its not as spicey. It's on Atlantic and Slauson. Maybe some of you guy's(and gals) will give it a try. I'll keep on checking back till someone gets the right batch. Good luck!

                                                                                          1. re: boxfan1

                                                                                            I just wish someone would find the taste of this hot sauce in a bottle somewhere and give me the name so i can try it for my self . Even if it is not king taco but comes close i would be down to try . I am a hot sauce junkie .

                                                                                            1. re: Darkiller

                                                                                              The problem is, nothing comes close. Nothing tastes even close to any sauce I have ever tasted anywhere.

                                                                                              1. re: redmeat

                                                                                                Hey redmeat, I noticed that you have a few different variations of your receipe. Which one do you recommend I try and make?

                                                                                                1. re: boxfan1

                                                                                                  Well, I am not happy with any of them now. I just brought some KT sauce home and mine are so far out of bounds its ridiculous. I was just hoping if I made one with dry chilis and posted it, we would be able to tinker it to get it close. Then I tried one like a curry with a bunch of powders, that worked for color and closer on taste, but it ended up with a sand taste. The one thing I have yet to try is roasting fresh chilis. I did however watch a show the other night that had them making a similar sauce by toasting dry chili, putting them in a blender, adding straight water and blending for a while, then straining. I am totally lost.

                                                                                2. re: redmeat

                                                                                  I found that toasting red chili flakes gives the same flavor as the canned chipotle chilis. It's a little uncomfortable so have plenty of ventilation, but you can achieve that smokey flavor without buying canned chilis.

                                                                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                    After I almost choked after burning some of the chilis so now I now toast my chilis in a cast iron skillet but on the bbq. That way no one is coughing, solves the problem.

                                                                              2. Here's a nutty thought. What about ketchup in lieu of tomato paste/ tomato sauce? Got that smack of vinegar and sugar along w/ tomatoey goodness. Just sayin'. adam

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: adamshoe

                                                                                  I make the Rubios sauce with tomato sauce salt, and sugar. I think you're on to something if you taste clove and vinegar. Then add your toasted chilis and other indgredients. Sure sounds good, wish I could try it.

                                                                                2. For the green sauce ppl. My gf's dad mentioned to me that i should try using cilantro seeds(coriander as its known in the US). He said "if you've tasted cilantro seeds you'll know it resembles the KT green sauce". I have yet to try it but want to get a bit more educated on the best way to use them.

                                                                                  i found this which only helps his theory:
                                                                                  The dry fruits are known as coriander seeds or coriandi seeds. In some regions, the use of the word coriander in food preparation always refers to these seeds (as a spice), rather than to the plant itself. The seeds have a lemony citrus flavour when crushed, due to the presence of the terpenes linalool and pinene. It is also described as warm, nutty, spicy, and orange-flavoured. They are usually dried but can be eaten green.

                                                                                  maybe used in the red sauce also.

                                                                                  1. I live in Dallas and shop a lot at Mexican markets. I have a lot of mexican friends and there are some basic ingredients they use in salsa that nobody has mentioned. the product called Goya seasoning they put in everything also have you tried Epazote it's a very common herb sort of sweet. I would say if the sauce is very smooth they are probably using dry spices especially if they are making huge batches. Instead of cloves try cinnimon. Also bitter orange juice is a common thing to cook with in the Yacatan. Cilantro can also take on the clove flavor so try using some of that.

                                                                                    1. I've seen cloves in my Sauce also..

                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: fawkr501

                                                                                        Since everyone is convinced there are cloves in the Red Sauce. Does anyone know of a recipe for a Red Salsa or Chili Sauce that has cloves. I was wondering for quantities or how its used, whole or crushed, etc.


                                                                                        1. re: redmeat

                                                                                          Sorry to reply to myself, but I did a search and can't find a Red Salsa, Salsa Rojo, Red Chile sauce recipe anywhere that has cloves in it, I am sure it exists somewhere. Or, maybe it doesn't.

                                                                                          1. re: redmeat

                                                                                            In Rick Bayless' Authentic Mexican, his recipe for Salsa de Chiles Chipotles calls for cloves, as does his Salsa Picante de Chile de Arbol.

                                                                                            The second one sounds closer to what you all are looking for. The recipe calls for:

                                                                                            1-1/4 oz dried ciles de arbol (about 50-60)
                                                                                            1-1/2 T. sesame seeds
                                                                                            2 T shelled pumpkin seeds
                                                                                            1/4 tsp cumin seeds (or a 1/4 tsp+ ground)
                                                                                            4 large allspice berries (or 1/8 tsp ground)
                                                                                            2 cloves (or a big pinch ground)
                                                                                            1 tsp ground oregano
                                                                                            1 tsp salt
                                                                                            2 large cloves garlic, chopped
                                                                                            3/4 c. cider vinegar

                                                                                            Stem and seed chiles. Put them in a blender jar.

                                                                                            Heat a skillet. Toast sesame seeds (don't burn). Put in blender jar.

                                                                                            Toast pumpkin seeds until they pop/puff up. Put in blender jar.

                                                                                            Grind cumin seed, allspice berries and cloves in a comal/mortar or spice grinder and add to blender. Also add to blender the oregano, salt, garlic and vinegar.

                                                                                            Pulverize in the blender until smooth and orange red (it should feel smooth when a drop is rubbed between the fingers).

                                                                                            Strain the sauce through a fine-meshed sieve. Stir in 3/4 cups water and pour into a bottle; cover and let stand for 24 hours before serving.

                                                                                        2. re: fawkr501

                                                                                          redmeat, I don't know where you searched but it wasn't very thorough or possibly those pesky Cloves of garlic interfered.....

                                                                                          Every cookbook by Diana Kennedy, Rick Bayless or other reputable authors of Mexican cuisine will have salsa recipes containing clove. One recipe I have uses >50 chiles de arbol, 3/4 c. fruit vinegar and two cloves. Another includes 1 lb. tomato, 10 chiles de arbol and One clove. In either case, just a pinch.

                                                                                          Pardon me if I'm repeating, but strong spices like clove, cinnamon, allspice, etc. are always Supporting players to the two main ingredients - Chile plus an acid ingredient (tomatillo, tomato or vinegar).

                                                                                          BTW your recipe in the 18 Dec 2008 post looks pretty good, how about posting it in the Recipes area?

                                                                                          Have patience, you will find the combo that you prefer. If you really need a exact recipe, a Library or a Bookstore will provide generously :-). There are endless alternatives to 'KT' sauce.

                                                                                          1. re: DiveFan

                                                                                            It is those pesky garlic cloves that were interrupting my search. I think I made that Rick Bayless sauce, my wife bought me one of his books. It was delicious. Not KT, but delicious. I guess my contention with cloves in KT's red sauce is I have made several sauces with and without cloves. One thing KT's sauce doesn't have is that earthy type flavor. Sorry if I am using the wrong terminology, but there are no traces - tasting it - of cloves or cinnamon or spices that fall into that category.

                                                                                            The sauces I have made that contain cloves, even a pinch have a very unique aroma, vapor and flavor... not bad, just off on a completely different direction taste-wise than KT.

                                                                                            Has anyone ever made a sauce like this: (I found this the other day and KT I think probably falls into this category of sauces - at first glance that is - but I have not yet made this sauce).

                                                                                            I am also trying to go back to some of the original posts where one poster was telling us to think about the original Taco Stand. It is doubtful that they went through some 30 ingredient complex preparation each day in their taco truck! A few simple ingredients, a quick preparation, refrigerate and go.

                                                                                            When I try to envision the ingredients below and what their taste might be, I could see KT coming to mind.

                                                                                            1 Clove Garlic, Peeled
                                                                                            1 ts Salt
                                                                                            3 oz Pork Back Fat
                                                                                            1/2 ts Oregano
                                                                                            4 c Chicken Stock
                                                                                            6 Sprigs FRESH Cilantro,
                                                                                            1/2 c Chili Powder - MYSTERY INGREDIENT!!!!! de arbol? new mexico? CA? etc
                                                                                            6 oz Tomato Paste
                                                                                            1 pn Sugar

                                                                                            Use the metal blade of a food processor. Drop the garlic through the feed tube. Set aside. Fry the pork fat in a large skillet until rendered (about 5 minutes). Discard the solid pieces. (You'll need about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of rendered fat for 4 cups of Salsa - adjust if needed). Add 3-4 Tablespoons of the chicken stock (when preparing 4 cups of salsa - adjust as needed), the chili powder and the garlic. Stir constantly over medium heat for 3-4 minutes to cook the chili powder and remove the raw taste. - Watch carefully, chili powder burns easily. Stir in the tomato paste, the remaining chicken stock, sugar, salt and oregano. Simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the cilantro. Serve hot or cold. Can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.

                                                                                        3. Saw the cloves in there green sauce, but i'm pretty sure it's in both. The carrot and jalapeno that they give out for free, has the cloves in whole pieces in it.

                                                                                          "King Taco stop being soo stingy with the sauce"

                                                                                          1. Redmeat, love the dedication to this! I have been tinkering around trying to create a sauce similar to KTs as well. However I am thinking since they have to mass produce this sauce.. They would have found ways to simplify the process. (for example the KFC 11 herbs and spices) I am thinking they create a mix of spices and then send these off to the locations to add to whatever liquid they use to puree it. The sauce is to consistent at all locations not to use spices as oppossed to process. So I am going to try this weekend and add some All Spice to the lineup of ingredients and Pumpkin Seeds as well. My feeling on the heat is that they are using habanero powder or maybe even Chili Pequin.. they both take a minute to kick in. The Pequin has a little smoky/sweetness to it and I think they use a pinch. However right now I am using fresh Habanero in the sauce I make and it gives me the same heat hit without changing the flavor in the sauce that I make. I am going to switch over to the habanero powder to go with the theory of all spices being powdered form when added. I will get back to you with the results

                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Spinflow

                                                                                              I think you are exactly right. That is why I posted that last recipe. It looked simple enough to duplicate on a mass scale. If you took the Chili Powder and used a mixture of a variety of chilis, garlic powder, onion powder, chicken bullion and mix them with some oil (or some fat), water, tomato sauce, simmer and go.

                                                                                              I am envisioning a big vat of oil water and tomato sauce, heating up and large scoops or buckets of the combo powdered spices and chilis get cooked down in giant vats. Then it is bagged and refrigerated.

                                                                                              I do know they product gets shipped into KT in what looks like about a gallon or so, of the sauce. Its in one of those heat sealed thicker clear plastic bags.

                                                                                              I have seen them bring it out of the back, cut it and dump it in the red sauce trays at each station.

                                                                                              No distinct markings on the bag, just a KT logo and thats it.

                                                                                              1. re: redmeat

                                                                                                I have to say I love your dedication also Redmeat!.. All this talk about KT sauce is making me hungry. I think I'ma have to stop by KT tonight and pick up some. Hopefully I get more then 1 sauce cups. Greedy bastards!

                                                                                                1. re: fawkr501

                                                                                                  Well, I'm not really that dedicated. I am not working so it makes it easy and I have a lot of time on my hands. I am opening a restaurant (not a taco stand), I have everything I need to open and ready to go, I am just waiting on the Landlord to complete the Legal Eviction of the current tenant (who by the way fled the country). I am suppose to get my keys on June 15th. Then I am done with trying to figure out KT's sauce. I would seriously consider adding tacos to the menu if I could come up with a red sauce close to KT.

                                                                                                  1. re: redmeat

                                                                                                    I'm going to screw around with a real simple 5 minute recipe just to check the flavors. I don't have any Habanero so I have to use cayenne for heat.

                                                                                                    I am just tossing in my coffee grinder 1 tsp of Granulated Garlic, Onion Powder, Cayenne, Dried Cilantro, Knorr Chicken Bullion Powder, Cumin, CA Chili Powder, 2 tsp of Chili Powder (labeled Mexican Chili Powder), 1/2 tsp Salt and blending it all to make a base.

                                                                                                    I am heating 2 tbsp of cooking oil, adding the mixture and stirring it in for a minute to heat it up, then adding 1 cup of tomato sauce. Letting that simmer for about 15-30 minutes, then refrigerate.

                                                                                                    I will let you know how it comes out. Doesn't smell right, but we will see.

                                                                                                    I just wanted to try something super simple that was quick and easy, that would be easy to produce on a large scale.

                                                                                                    1. re: redmeat

                                                                                                      It's still pretty hot/warm temperature wise.. it tastes good to me. The Chicken Bullion is a little overpowering but does add that slow cooked homemade flavor. I didn't add the cardomom, maybe that would give it a little richer, citrusy taste. It's pretty tasty tough. The flavors aren't KT, but the consistency is pretty darn perfect. I think KT might do it this way. It is a little thick, maybe 2-3 tablespoons of water might correct that.

                                                                                                      1. re: redmeat

                                                                                                        I did two more little pots side by side, one with Cardomom the other with cloves, just a tiny pinch of ground cloves. Both are off. They kind of throw it in the wrong direction.

                                                                                                        I am thinking if I had the Chili Powder mixture correct... mix it and toss it in with Garlic Powder into a pot with a little mixture of water and oil. Then add tomato sauce and simmer... or you could go with more water and tomato paste, which I would think would be more like a mass produced recipe.

                                                                                                        I am convinced it is:

                                                                                                        Chili Powder (some mixture - not sure what chilis - but this is the key)
                                                                                                        Garlic Powder
                                                                                                        Chicken Bullion - very little
                                                                                                        Water - not sure how much
                                                                                                        Tomato Paste

                                                                                                        Heat Water and Oil combo..

                                                                                                        Stir in the Chili Powder and Garlic and Bullion Powder

                                                                                                        Bring to a Boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

                                                                                                        Stir in tomato paste and simmer for another 30 minutes. OPTION: Use less water and use Tomato Sauce.

                                                                                                        (I like the option of Tomato Sauce instead because the Tomato Paste and Water makes the sauce a little to heavy and a really dark deep red, KT is a little toward the Orange Side. It's not Orange like the Rick Bayless sauce, but not blood red)

                                                                                                        That's It!

                                                                                                        Of course, getting the right mixture of flavors from the correct chilis is the key.

                                                                                                        1. re: redmeat

                                                                                                          I have been on a long journey trying to make a similar sauce as KT's red sauce and have had no real luck i tried the Rick Bayless one bu it was to vinegary. Upon futher review the KT sauce seems like it is made with a lot of powders blended together. My next trial will be with tomato sauce and a bunch of powders ie.
                                                                                                          onion powder
                                                                                                          garlic powder
                                                                                                          new mexico chile powder
                                                                                                          chipotle powder
                                                                                                          a very small amount of cider vinegar
                                                                                                          mabey some clove powder and oregano powder

                                                                                                          i will keep ya posted hope these ideas come in handy

                                                                                                          1. re: redmeat

                                                                                                            For what it's worth, my brother's sister-in-law works for a spice company and she says they provide the spices for the salsa. I don't think she actually has access to which spices are in the mix however. I will see if I can talk to her about it, but I do believe the salsa is heavy on the powder spices.

                                                                                              2. ingredients
                                                                                                1 1/4lb tomatoes
                                                                                                5 chiplote chillies
                                                                                                3 garlic cloves roughly chopped
                                                                                                150ml/1/4 pint 2/3 cup of red wine
                                                                                                5ml/1tsp dried oregano
                                                                                                60ml/1/4 tsp clear honey
                                                                                                5ml/ 1 tsp american mustard
                                                                                                2.5ml/1/2 ground black pepper

                                                                                                1. preheat the oven to 200c/400f . Cut the tomatoes into quarters and place them in a roasting tin. Roast for 45 minutes-1 hour until they are charred and softened.

                                                                                                2. Meanwhile soak the chillies in a bowl of cold water to cover for about 20 minutes or until soft. Remove the stalks, slit the chillies and scrape out the seeds with a small sharp knife. Chop the flesh roughly
                                                                                                3. Remove the tomatoes from the oven let them cool slightly then remove the skins. if the prefer a smooth sauce, remove the seeds. Chop the tomatoes and put them in a blender or food processor. Add the chopped chillies and garlic with the red wine. Process until smooth then add the oregano, honey, mustard and black pepper. process brefly to mix, then taste and season with salt.

                                                                                                4. Scrape the mixture into a small pan. Place over a moderate heat and stir until the mixture boils. Lower the heat and simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes,stirring occasionally, until it has reduced and thickened. Spoon into a bowl and serve hot or cold.

                                                                                                maybe someone would like to try this recipe.

                                                                                                1. Well, here's my latest recipe that works very well. It's not King Taco, but it's comparable to other taquerias.

                                                                                                  3 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce (be sure to add some sauce)
                                                                                                  10 or so dehydrated japanese chiles (chiles japones) de-stemed
                                                                                                  1/3rd of a tomato
                                                                                                  1 garlic clove
                                                                                                  1/5th of a red or white onion
                                                                                                  Salt to taste
                                                                                                  Dash of cumin powder (optional)

                                                                                                  In a medium skillet, dry roast the japanese chiles on medium heat. Turn off heat once a few black spots appear. Add water to skillet (be generous) and boil on high heat for 3-5 minutes.

                                                                                                  Place japanese chiles in blender along with all other ingredients and blend. Add water to thin the sauce out. Place blended contents to medium skillet (or small pot) and boil on medium heat. The sauce will cook and will eventually thicken to a better consistency (maybe 15-20 minutes or so). Stir often. Once sauce in thickened, place in container and place in refrigerator for an hour or so before serving. Add salt to taste.

                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: PRPitohead

                                                                                                    Hi to all posts,

                                                                                                    I LOVE King Taco's salsa roja! My husband and I go to King Taco and buy the largest cup, which is very small by the way. We put it on everything. But I would love to make it myself at home. I do understand that it's a King Taco Family Secret and that only 5 people have the recipe. Well I was wondering is someone has a recipe thats really close to the King Taco red salsa, please. Thank you.

                                                                                                    1. re: Mexicana

                                                                                                      Hola Amigos, great posts on the infamous KT sauce but I think you're making this more dificult than it is. I am a salsa fanatic and have a variety of salsas for different dishes and all serve a different purpose. The main idea behind a salsa is to provide a hightened taste experience of the main dish and not to overwhelm it.

                                                                                                      Keep your salsas simple and "take it eeezy" as Nacho Libre would say. Oil, Manteca, and vinegar have no place in salsas in my opinion. Oil and manteca are for cooking meat/other dishes not salsas. Vinegar just ruins a salsa and changes the main dish mainly by over taking the flavor. Vinegar is very strong.

                                                                                                      The vinegary taste in the KT salsa can also be achieved by using the small green tomatillos that are wrapped in thin husks. Give those a shot by either roasting them or boiling them just enough to cook the tomatillos half way. Try different times for the boiling cook time since this will also render different flavors.

                                                                                                      BTW, there is a taste difference between the green tomatillos that are about 1/3 the size of a regular tomato and the tiny tomatillos that are about 1/8 the size of a regular tomato.
                                                                                                      Although I can't provide a close suggestion to the highly guarded KT red sauce, I can tell you that I'm pretty sure the ingredients are simple and few. I do have a red sauce that we make for pozole and it's every bit as spicey as the KT sauce but it does not have the tangy citrus taste. I can taste cumin, garlic, chicken broth powder and chile poblano in the KT sauce though. Give that a try, you will need to play with the ingredient measurements though, "Measure twice, cut once" my shop teacher used to say. Arriba, Arriba, Andale, Andale!

                                                                                                      1. re: Speedy Gonzalez

                                                                                                        Hey Speedy Gonzalez,

                                                                                                        So in your arsenal of salsas, do you have one that you can share with us that would well and compliment tacos al pastor? I am not dead set on KT red salsa but I am looking for one that will go good with tacos al pastor. Like you said "The main idea behind a salsa is to provide a hightened taste experience of the main dish and not to overwhelm it." Looking forward to your input.
                                                                                                        Thank you.

                                                                                                  2. I am surprised that no one can figure out this easy addicting ingredient in King Taco sauce. It is very much addicting. Many restaurants use it but no one will tell you. Once you know the addicting ingredient in King taco roja sauce, you will never try it again. I know it very well what is the addicting ingredient. This ingredient will make you want more and make you drink more. I'm sure you will know by now after this clue. Good luck and let me know if you find out. If not, I will let tell you with exchange only.

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: ekaaki

                                                                                                      what do you want to exchange????

                                                                                                      1. re: ekaaki

                                                                                                        "ekakki" is obviously talking about MSG. So common in all our fast foods, snacks, etc. Used a flavor enhancer by almost everyone.

                                                                                                      2. Has any one tried using piquin chilies?

                                                                                                        There is definitely a bit of pumpkin seed, cloves and vinegar in there... maybe a different type of chile would yield better results? Just a thought.

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: honeysuckle

                                                                                                          Just found this site and browsing this topic re-ignited my hot sauce interest. Can't believe after all the years I lived in Calif I never ate at KT. In the NW now but this topic brings to mind the joint I used to frequent in Santa Barbara on the Mesa called Cuca's I believe. They had terrif burritos, huge, with squeeze bottles of red & green hot sauce on each table that was excellent. I'd alternate squeezes of each before taking a manly bite. Anybody here ever frequent there?? Tips on their salsa's? Off to work in the kitchen...wishing all a Merry Christmas..

                                                                                                          1. re: chefwillie97321

                                                                                                            There's a King Taco on Third Street, between Ford and Mcbride in East Los Angeles. I lived off of Mcbride years ago, and lived off KT's food. I don't know if this info helps, but if you purchase a couple of styrofoam cups full of red chile, and take it home and refrigerate like that, it will be fine for some time. The red chile will thicken up after awhile. All you have to do is add water to "reconstitute" it. However, if you bottle it, I notice a couple of things. First the chile does not keep well bottled. After it's been bottled for a couple days, when you twist the cap off the bottle to open it, you'll hear a puff of gas escaping from the bottle, which is kinda weird. Also, after it's been bottled for a couple of weeks, you'll see that the chile (and its ingredients) will separate inside the bottle. Hint: Bottle it and let it sit until the chile separates...maybe then you might be able to find the missing ingredients. Lastly for what it's worth, my mom thinks it has vinegar and cumin.

                                                                                                            1. re: gomezplumbing

                                                                                                              Instead of concentrating on the ingredients you think the red chile has, first try concentrating on the ingredients it doesn't have...then work from there. Make sense?

                                                                                                        2. According to KT's website, the nutritional info is as follows:

                                                                                                          serving size 7 (grams ?, hard to read on the website's chart)
                                                                                                          calories 5
                                                                                                          fat 0
                                                                                                          sodium 70
                                                                                                          total carbs 1


                                                                                                          I doubt there is any oil, lard, etc, in the recipe since the calories from fat is zero.

                                                                                                          The sodium content is very low. According to Answerfitness website: Two tablespoons of ready-to-serve, store-bought salsa contains 9 calories, 0 fat, 0 cholesterol, 198 milligrams of sodium, 2.1 grams of carbs, 0.5 grams of protein and 98 mg of potassium. Fresh salsa or pico de gallo will generally have less sodium.

                                                                                                          1. I'd be willing to bet that they use El Pato salsa in their sauce. It's in a yellow can and looks like it should be disgusting, but it's awesome and has a flavor in it that can't be found anywhere else.



                                                                                                            Now if someone wants to tell me what's in El Pato, I'd really appreciate it.

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: johny 5

                                                                                                              Someone i know mastered the recipe. I am not one for the red salsa, but El Pato sauce is definitely one of the ingredients. I have to look through my recipes to find it, but Johny 5 is on the right track.

                                                                                                              1. re: Gcanno

                                                                                                                Please do look for it. We're all eager for any information we can get.

                                                                                                            2. Unfortunately, I live in Missouri and King Taco is only in California. Have you thought about using Sour orange juice? I think you could substitute 1/2 orange and 1/2 lime juices to make it sour enough.

                                                                                                              I sure wish I could taste that sauce. Once I had some taco sauce at a local place and it was so cinnamony, I never went back.

                                                                                                              I make my sauce like this, and I love it...
                                                                                                              a big handful of chiles de arbo, stemmed
                                                                                                              water to cover
                                                                                                              5 or 6 cloves of garlic (or you can add garlic powder later)
                                                                                                              28 oz. can whole tomatoes, with juice
                                                                                                              1/2 small onion
                                                                                                              corn oil to cover bottom of pan
                                                                                                              handful cilantro if desired

                                                                                                              Put the stemmed chiles in the water along with the onion and garlic cloves. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or so to soften chiles.
                                                                                                              Put it all into the blender and with a cloth on top, hold that lid down and liquify.
                                                                                                              taste. The more salt and garlic, the better.
                                                                                                              Add the can of tomatoes and liquify those, along with the cilantro if using.

                                                                                                              Put this all back into a skillet and "fry" it in the corn oil to get rid of the raw tomato taste. Cook for about 10 minutes and, if you want to, strain. I never get rid of the seeds because I like it hot, but if you like it without so much "fiber" or heat, you can get rid of them.

                                                                                                              I like it just like this, but if you want it strained, that's okay with me.

                                                                                                              Tomato paste is too sweet for me so I never use that, but if you like a thicker sauce you can use tomato sauce instead of the tomatoes.

                                                                                                              You can control the heat by adding more or less tomatoes.

                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: morgans4

                                                                                                                The secret ingredient is "Huajes" seeds, NOT sesame seeds.
                                                                                                                Huaje is a vine from the Huaje tree/plant...

                                                                                                                The recipe calls for:

                                                                                                                1-1/4 oz dried ciles de arbol (about 50-60) DO NOT Use any other kind, i.e. Japones, guajillo, etc, etc.
                                                                                                                1 yellow or golden onion (tennis ball size
                                                                                                                )1-1/2 T. huaje seeds (toasted)
                                                                                                                1 T shelled pumpkin seeds
                                                                                                                1/4 tsp cumin seeds
                                                                                                                2 cloves (or a big pinch ground)
                                                                                                                4 chiles chipotle (from can - NOT dried chipotle)
                                                                                                                1 tsp salt
                                                                                                                1 tsp Knorr Chicken Boullion
                                                                                                                2 large cloves garlic
                                                                                                                1/4 c. APPLE cider vinegar (***Make sure it's APPLE vinegar or don't continue)
                                                                                                                2 tb spoon of LARD - yes lard!

                                                                                                                Proceed with:

                                                                                                                In 2 cups of water, boil the chiles, garlic, and onion.

                                                                                                                ... In the meantime do the following:

                                                                                                                - Heat a skillet. Toast Huaje seeds (don't burn).
                                                                                                                - Toast pumpkin seeds until they pop/puff up.
                                                                                                                - heat lard, and fast fry, both huaje, and pumpkin seeds (Do NOt Burn - about 3min max, then remove from pan)

                                                                                                                - Grind cumin seed, and cloves in a/mortar or spice grinder. (NOTE: powder cumin, and cloves give this salsa a different flavor)

                                                                                                                Once you have the above ready to go... Proceed with caution... (NOTE: let the boiled chiles rest a bit or when blending, make sure you cover the top with a towel - if the mixture is hot it tend to blow out...)

                                                                                                                - FIRST blend the chiles, garlic, onion, and tomatoes (Just kidding no tomatoes in this recipe!!!)
                                                                                                                - SECOND Add to blended mix, the oregano, salt, Chicken Boullion, and blend again for about 30 seconds.
                                                                                                                - THIRD add huaje, and pumpkin seeds, and APPLE cider vinegar, and blend till you have a smooth consistency (Per Rick Bales; it should feel smooth when a drop is rubbed between the fingers).

                                                                                                                Strain the sauce through a fine-meshed sieve. Stir in water if needed and pour into a stainless steel bowl.
                                                                                                                IMPORTANT!!!!>>>cover and let stand for 24 hours before serving.

                                                                                                                Now for the Green Salsa...................................

                                                                                                                  1. re: koreansoup

                                                                                                                    Not for this sauce... Achiote is used more often in the Veracruz, Tabasco, Yucatan, Quintana Roo and even Oaxaca, Chiapas region.

                                                                                                                  2. re: sabelotodo

                                                                                                                    I gotta tell you Sabelotodo, I followed your instructions exactly to a T and your sauce is so close to El Taurino sauce that all I added was black pepper to get it closer. The only other thing missing was the kick (spiciness/heat). I should have added habanero or more Chiles De Arbol. I should mention that the huajes + pumpkin seeds give it the original smell of the sauce. It's not 100% but it's good enough for me. I will try another batch and change the ingredients around. I might take a trip to LA over thanksgiving and buy some sauce to try to emulate it. Again Thanks!!

                                                                                                                    1. re: simon8or

                                                                                                                      HINT 1: If you want the sauce to be spicy(ier) leave the stems and seeds of the chile de arbol, then sift at the end.

                                                                                                                      HINT2: use paprika to bring out the deep red... about 2 teapoon for this recipe.

                                                                                                                      I also tried a bit of coriander seeds (1/4 of a tea spoon) and it gave it a closer fell, smell, and taste to the original.

                                                                                                                      Hope this helps.

                                                                                                                1. So, I've tried the green salsa recipe and have gotten really darn close at home. I don't remember the exact recipe but here are some pointers.

                                                                                                                  1. DO NOT BOIL THE TOMATILLOS.. ROAST THEM!

                                                                                                                  2. The Onions are added last.. if you look at the consistency of the salsa.. its not really blended at a high speed.. the onions and cilantro are intact in large pieces ( I personally do it in a molcajete and give it 2 pulses in the blender to get it smooth)

                                                                                                                  3. Use lemon, not lime

                                                                                                                  4. There are discernible pieces of a red chile in there, it looks like a red chile de arbol or even a new-mexico type hue of red.

                                                                                                                  5. Its allspice (FRESH WHOLE not powdered) not quite clove

                                                                                                                  6. Use fresh, not roasted garlic.

                                                                                                                  7. There is a hint of chipotle and pumpkin seed... but if you use too much you will throw off the initial "spike/kick of the salsa"

                                                                                                                  8. Work the salsa like a perfume, base notes, middle notes, and top notes..

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: nephyrwynn

                                                                                                                    On #1... True, but once roasted, set aside, and let them sweat out their sweet nectar. I usually roast them at night, and let them sit overnight. (Use a glass bowl not stainless steel) -my .02 worth.

                                                                                                                    On #4 I would go with dried chile puya - the spicyness kick of the chile de arbol is more of a WHAM! taste, as in their red sauce. The green salsa is more soft hit, and mss.

                                                                                                                    On #5... use clove. I have often bitten a remaining chunk of it!
                                                                                                                    Add #5a... use Knorr chicken boullion (powder) instead of all spice.

                                                                                                                    Add #9 at the very end, when the sauce has cooled to room temp, add Basil -very finely shredded. I have bitten into basil stems too!

                                                                                                                    Lol! I wonder what the King Taco owner would say, if he saw this Blog thread...

                                                                                                                  2. My friend once told me that he did not like the salsa cause it had coconut in it. Has anyone thought of that. Coconut.

                                                                                                                    14 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Monxi

                                                                                                                      Try this.....

                                                                                                                      30 de arbols
                                                                                                                      1 tbsp Knorr Chicken Bullion
                                                                                                                      5 cloves of Garlic
                                                                                                                      1 tsp All Spice

                                                                                                                      Put it in a blender, blend High for a while and strain through a medium strainer.... use enough water for the correct consistency.

                                                                                                                      That's it.

                                                                                                                      I was reading an earlier post about Easy and Simple. They started this place in a converted Ice Cream Truck and probably had to blow out small batches all day long.

                                                                                                                      I think the above simple ingredients are correct, quantities can be tinkered with.

                                                                                                                      1. re: redmeat

                                                                                                                        Red Meat ...

                                                                                                                        Would you be so kind as to give directions as well as quantity of water and how long to refrigerate before ready.

                                                                                                                        As well are you fire roasting arbols, roasting garlic, and whether you cook sauce etc

                                                                                                                        Would be much appreciated


                                                                                                                        1. re: mr. pimm

                                                                                                                          I'm not sure. I have an ex-employee who said he works with a guy who has the recipe (a former KT employee). I asked him to give me the recipe and he said he would... never did, but brought me a large jar of what the guy made and it was spot on. A little bit of Chili Husk pieces but flavors were perfect. I kept hounding him for the recipe, all he told me in a text was .... Garlic, de Arbols (a lot), Knorr & a little all spice.

                                                                                                                          Now, toasting, boiling, fire roasting, dry, how much of this, or how much of that, I don't know.

                                                                                                                          I made some, not perfect, but guys in my kitchen at work thought what I had left behind was KT sauce.

                                                                                                                          Oh and the ex-employee with the buddy, quit, and I only text with him once in a blue moon.

                                                                                                                          When I made it, I used about 30 dry de arbols, toasted them on a hot skillet, let them cool, put them in the blender with 5 cloves of garlic, a tsp of all spice a tbsp of Knorr and water. Let it sit for a couple hours in the fridge. Not quite right, but I may be doing something wrong. I just don't have the time to work on it anymore.

                                                                                                                        2. re: redmeat

                                                                                                                          Hi redmeat - I tried your recipe but it was definitely too garlicky. After reading through all the threads here I think the post that stated that the recipe must be simplistic enough to be able to reproduce - especially if working out of the truck they started in. That said, I went back and tried a couple of variations without any garlic or vinegar. Here is the recipe I used, let me know if you try it out and what you think.

                                                                                                                          1 New Mexico Chile
                                                                                                                          15 Chile Pequins
                                                                                                                          30 Chile de Arbol (stemmed)
                                                                                                                          1/3 white onion
                                                                                                                          1 tbs salt
                                                                                                                          1 tsp allspice

                                                                                                                          Boil all chiles in saucepan for 15 mins with just enough water to cover chiles. Place chiles and all remaining ingredients in blender and liquify for 10 mins. I havent been this excited about how close the recipe is in a while. Let me know what you think.

                                                                                                                          Tony J.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Kalena499

                                                                                                                            Hello Kalena:

                                                                                                                            How about adding one clove of roasted garlic and a little olive oil, say a table spoon??

                                                                                                                            There seems to be a hint of garlic in the KT version. Also were you using dried or fresh pequins?

                                                                                                                            1. re: mr. pimm

                                                                                                                              Hi, I tried the recipe with a bit of garlic but the flavor is still off a bit. I did use dried pequins for the recipe. The recipe is still off a bit and I am convinced more and more that it is because of the type of chiles we are using. I have all but ruled out chiles de arbol. I am going to buy a variety of cascabel and puya chiles to see if I can adjust the recipe a bit. Chiles de arbol just do not break down to the desired consistency.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Kalena499


                                                                                                                                Kalena try cutting down on the salt , 1 tbs way to much, try powdered pequin. I think because of the availability and cheapness of the arbols , this is still the correct base chili. The new mexico chili did add a little flavour as well. I'm looking at improving the King Taco sauce, not just duplicating it. Strain Strain, with Medium strainer.

                                                                                                                                1. re: mr. pimm

                                                                                                                                  Try this:

                                                                                                                                  50 de arbols (dry)
                                                                                                                                  1 tbsp minced garlic
                                                                                                                                  2 tspn Knorr
                                                                                                                                  1/2 tspn All Spice

                                                                                                                                  -Remove the stems and seeds from the de arbols
                                                                                                                                  -Heat a pan and toast the de arbols for a minute
                                                                                                                                  -Put the Garlic, All Spice, Knorr and de arbols and a little bit of water (a few table spoons or so in a blender and blend high for a couple minutes.
                                                                                                                                  -Empty into a small bowl, stir in water to get to the right consistancy
                                                                                                                                  -Cover and refrigerate overnight.

                                                                                                                                  This is pretty close and is definately on the right track for how KT sauce is prepared.

                                                                                                                                  A guy who works in my kitchens wife makes authentic chili sauces all the time and she suggested doing the same, but instead of toasting the de arbols dry, use a little lard heated and kind of sizzle up the garlic cloves and de arbols instead of toasting. Everything else is the same.

                                                                                                                                2. re: Kalena499

                                                                                                                                  Kalena... I know you are ruling out de arbols.... don't. Im telling you, if you read my post above... I had a huge jar of the sauce made by a former long time employee of KT.. it was given to me through a friend. He swears it's de arbols, knorr and garlic... what else I don't know. If you take a small spoonful of it, you taste knorr right off the bat. Definitely an all-spice or slight amount of clove. I think you are right however about the flavors being off with just de arbol. Something is missing.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: redmeat

                                                                                                                                    I talked to an employee at my restaurants sister who makes some pretty authentic mexican food. She thinks the process of making the sauce is......

                                                                                                                                    - Heat Oil in a pot
                                                                                                                                    - add Garlic and cook, but not burn
                                                                                                                                    - add dried chiles stir them around and coat in the hot oil, releasing some of the flavors into the oil.
                                                                                                                                    -cover the chiles and garlic and oil with liquid (Chicken Stock)
                                                                                                                                    - Bring to a Boil and Simmer for 2 Hours.
                                                                                                                                    - Take off Heat and let cool
                                                                                                                                    - Blend Well incorporating Everything ...

                                                                                                                                    She said this is a pretty common, quick easy way to make a red chile sauce. She said combos of chiles always depond on region, availability, what flavors you are tyring to obtain. etc

                                                                                                                                    1. re: redmeat

                                                                                                                                      CAUTION! ACHTUNG! Ojo Wey!...
                                                                                                                                      Make sure the liquid (Chicken Stock) is as hot as the "HOT" oil , or you will be taking a trip to your nearby burn center facility, that's if you survive the kitchen fire!!!

                                                                                                                                      ... and FYI: back in the 70's when KT started the business, you could not find a plethora of spices, as you do now. Also, the owner comes from "el D.F." Mexico City, and a lot of the spices that are mentioned in previous posts, are not "commonly" used in that region of Mexico.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: redmeat

                                                                                                                                        Hi Everyone,
                                                                                                                                        I saw on Yahoo,a recipe for this salsa. She says cider vinegar.
                                                                                                                                        I got curious and hungry after reading some of this.
                                                                                                                                        Went to King Taco site. Food looks so good.
                                                                                                                                        I haven't read all of the replies so I don't know if this cider vin. has been mentioned.
                                                                                                                                        At www.greattacohunt.com this one guy says the recipe is guarded by a Curandero -Witch doctor, in a Botanica in E. LA. Good Luck!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: nightbird

                                                                                                                                          My husband also loves the hot sauce from King Taco. So I tried the Rick Bayless recipe that was provided, BUT I added

                                                                                                                                          1 tsp of onion salt
                                                                                                                                          2 chile morita (dried chiles)
                                                                                                                                          2 chipotle w/ 1 tsp of adobe sauce
                                                                                                                                          1 dried habanero

                                                                                                                                          I think the spice is good but I would cut the vinegar to 1/2 cup. The vinegar taste does subside after a couple of hours so it will not taste right on when you first make it. The color is not as red, but I would not put tomato or tomatillo in it. I would really like someone's opinion on this because I think the smell and taste is close. Please let me know.

                                                                                                                                3. re: Kalena499

                                                                                                                                  Kalena i see a ton a different opinions can you post what the your best recipe is?

                                                                                                                            2. According to a close contact I have at a Westside Taqueria that has a very similar tasting salsa as King Taco (some of you will know EXACTLY the establishment I am talking about) these are the complete list of ingredients they use in their salsa roja:

                                                                                                                              Whole chile arbol, toasted
                                                                                                                              Canned chipotles
                                                                                                                              Fire roasted tomatillo
                                                                                                                              California chile powder
                                                                                                                              Cayenne pepper
                                                                                                                              Black pepper
                                                                                                                              Salt to taste
                                                                                                                              Ginger powder

                                                                                                                              I do not have the ingredient ratios as of yet, but I have been assured these are what they are using. The cinnamon and clove make perfect sense, as I taste both of these in King Taco's salsa roja, as well as a few other fine ones I've had, but the paprika and ginger powder were a bit of a mystery to me. I think they could be left out, to be honest.

                                                                                                                              Anyway, hope this helps!

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: Moose

                                                                                                                                Everyone pretty much agrees that there is a hint of citrus in the salsa - ginger powder and tomatillo would help explain a hint of tanginess. Question is how KT keeps their salsa as red as they do if they use tomatillo??

                                                                                                                                1. re: Kalena499

                                                                                                                                  Tomatillos when boiled or roasted turn an almost neutral color - with all the other red chiles in the salsa, you won't even notice that it's there, save some seeds.

                                                                                                                              2. I just read this whole thread, and now I really want to try this sauce. Too bad I live about as far as away from King Taco as possible while still being in the US. I use just about every dried pepper used in Mexican cuisine on a regular basis and cook Mexican food all the time, so I might be able to add something to the search. I'll have to track one down if I go to California any time soon.

                                                                                                                                Recreating Mexican sauces is no easy task. So many different peppers varieties that can be dry, fresh, roasted, toasted, ground, smoked, boiled, reconstituted, grilled. All giving very different flavors based on the cultivar and preparation. Different seeds, nuts, spices, and herbs. Different tomato and tomatillo varieties. So many variations on every sauce and the smallest details can make a major difference.

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: StringerBell

                                                                                                                                  true, but knowing plenty of people in the food industry, restaurants tend to do things as consistently AND cheaply as possible.

                                                                                                                                  this came up recently with a friend and i talking about duplicating the flavors served in the halal chicken and rice carts in NYC. he maintains that one of the flavors is saffron, I am convinced these guys would NEVER,EVER use a spice that was that expensive.

                                                                                                                                  so unless this place has an inside track on a local farmer who is growing a specific obscure cultivar (which could very well be) the elements are more likely easy to be obtained, and fairly inexpensive.

                                                                                                                                  in what order, technique and amounts? aahhh, there's the rub.

                                                                                                                                2. I was intrigued by this topic and I am here at 9:00 am at the KT. Sauce is indeed something special, but I lived in Sonora and I don't sell my soul to any tacos. KT meat is really bad. Tacos are very poor quality. The Sauce like I said one of the best.
                                                                                                                                  One thing for sure, They don't spend a lot of money making this sauce.

                                                                                                                                  I am here at the KT eating this awful taco with this awesome sauce and I am thinking..

                                                                                                                                  Clove FOR SURE!!!
                                                                                                                                  Maybe Curry
                                                                                                                                  Maybe Cumin but just a liittle bit...
                                                                                                                                  Not too much onion
                                                                                                                                  Not too much Tomatoe
                                                                                                                                  California chile
                                                                                                                                  Chipolte FOR SURE!!!
                                                                                                                                  Chile de Arbol

                                                                                                                                  THE RED COLOr is from either food colorant or canned tomato,

                                                                                                                                  I wil give it a try...but I can tell it wont be easy... see what happen...

                                                                                                                                  62 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: jscott373

                                                                                                                                    I nailed it!!!!
                                                                                                                                    You won't believe what is the ingredient you were missing.... I report later gotta go to work now : )

                                                                                                                                        1. re: hyde

                                                                                                                                          de arbols
                                                                                                                                          ground coriander

                                                                                                                                          toast de arbols, soak in hot water, deseed and destem, put in blender with other ingredients.
                                                                                                                                          blend well, heat lard in pan, strain mixture through a medium strainer, cook out bitterness in the lard

                                                                                                                                          times and quantities i don't know

                                                                                                                                          1. re: redmeat

                                                                                                                                            I'm not sure about King taco red sauce, but this does not sound like the sauce at Rincon Taurino. I heard from a guy at "El Compita" tacos in Vegas that the guy from King Taco and Taurino are brothers. That would explain the similarities in red sauce. Redmeat, If you can provide who is your source and where you got this recipe then I will consider making this, otherwise it's all misinformation (hearsay) to me.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: simon8or

                                                                                                                                              I don't have a name. I guy worked for me part time, at his full time gig he works with a guy who use to work at King Taco. He brought me a huge jar one day . It was not as fine (a little bit of chili husk pieces), but the flavor was dead-on! I asked him what's in it, he said he would check with his friend... the only text I got back was de arbols & garlic. That is all I know is in it. The 9/20 recipe was another guess, not the official. The guy quit and kind of bad terms... I haven't really talked to him since. Plus, I think it would be a little strange to contact the guy and say, hey how are things going - after a year - can you get that KT sauce recipe for me. I don't know the recipe, all I am saying is what they guy dropped off for me was the exact flavor of KT (and I eat KT once a week and have for 25 years). The 4/19/11 Post was just a method for doing a sauce like KT's. It was meant to be the exact recipe.

                                                                                                                                              I promise, if I ever get it, I will post it here...

                                                                                                                                          2. re: hyde

                                                                                                                                            Ok, sorry. Since the tacos were something I wasn't too excited about I totally forgot about the this thread.
                                                                                                                                            I make the sauce and gave it to 5 different people to compare it with the king taco, I bought a cup of it for the test and all 5 said it taste the same...so the missing ingredient was...

                                                                                                                                            CAJUN SEASONING.
                                                                                                                                            CLOVE plays a main role too in this sauce.

                                                                                                                                            The beautiful red color comes from the california chiles not the arbol chiles (which you still need in this sauce)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: jscott373

                                                                                                                                              Cajun seasoning has allspice, clove, and cinnamon - I think that's what you're tasting. Regardless, sounds like you nailed it. Care to share the recipe with us? This thread was started 6 years ago, and we'd love to finally have something that comes super close as you seem to have done!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: jscott373

                                                                                                                                                Jscott - I just made a salsa this weekend that I thought was really close.....here is what I used:
                                                                                                                                                New Mexico Chiles
                                                                                                                                                Cayenne Powder
                                                                                                                                                Chipotle Powder
                                                                                                                                                Onion Powder
                                                                                                                                                Ground Clove
                                                                                                                                                Knorr - Powdered Chicken Stock

                                                                                                                                                How far off is this list of ingredients? Please share your recipe, thanks!!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Kalena499

                                                                                                                                                  Hi all,

                                                                                                                                                  I tried this recipe recently and thought it was somewhat close but missing something - someone want to try it and provide some feedback?

                                                                                                                                                  2 New Mexico Chiles lightly roasted & simmered for 15 mins
                                                                                                                                                  2 Tsp Cayenne Chile Powder
                                                                                                                                                  1 Tsp Chipotle Chile Powder
                                                                                                                                                  1/2 Tsp Oregano
                                                                                                                                                  6-8 Ground Black Peppercorns
                                                                                                                                                  1 Tsp Knorr Suiza (powdered chicken stock)
                                                                                                                                                  1/2 Yellow Onion
                                                                                                                                                  1/2 Ground Clove (very very small amount)
                                                                                                                                                  1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
                                                                                                                                                  Salt to Taste

                                                                                                                                                  Combine all ingredients in a blender except oil - use water from new mexico chile if needed to get to correct consistency - blend in oil at the very end.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Kalena499

                                                                                                                                                    I think you are definitely in the right direction.

                                                                                                                                                    I made one and thought it was pretty damn close.

                                                                                                                                                    80-100 de arbols (about 1.5 cups after stems are removed and broken to shake out seeds.
                                                                                                                                                    3 Guajillos
                                                                                                                                                    4-5 cloves of garlic
                                                                                                                                                    2 tsp Achiote
                                                                                                                                                    2 tsp ground coriander
                                                                                                                                                    15-20 black pepper corns
                                                                                                                                                    1 tsp Kosher Salt
                                                                                                                                                    1 tsp Knorr
                                                                                                                                                    1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
                                                                                                                                                    3 tbsp Vegetable Oil, Canola Oil or Vegetable Shortening

                                                                                                                                                    Remove the stems and break in half the de arbols & gaujillos and shake the seeds out.

                                                                                                                                                    Rehydrate the Chiles in a small pot of water, bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                    Add the rehydrated chiles to the blender with the Vinegar, Garlic, Ground Coriander, Achiote Powder, Knorr, Salt, Pepper Corns & about 1 1/4 cups of the Chile Water. (be careful with the knorr and salt, the number one ingredient in knorr is salt it can turn to way too salty fast - maybe try knorr only and add salt at the end to taste)

                                                                                                                                                    Strain the Blended Mixture with a medium strainer.

                                                                                                                                                    Put the Oil in a sauce pan, on medium high heat, add the strained mixture, bring to a soft boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the desired consistency is achieved.

                                                                                                                                                    I think the process is the right one.. I don't taste any onion or clove in the King Taco Sauce at all.

                                                                                                                                                    I do like the idea of using mexican oregano.

                                                                                                                                                    Kalena, does your chili combo taste like KT. I think the de arbol, guajillo, garlic, coriander, knorr is pretty damn close.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: redmeat

                                                                                                                                                      Maybe use 2 tsp Knorr and no salt. I think the heat type is right, the flavor is friggen close ... I messed up on the salt knorr combo on this batch (used 2 and 2, to damn salty). I tried with the same chile combo before but had Ancho's in there. They are a little sweet and make the sauce too dark.

                                                                                                                                                      The only reason I am sticking with the de arbols is flavor is close and color is right on - if you use mostly de arbols you get that bright red color.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: redmeat

                                                                                                                                                        Using the laws of deduction I have eliminated chiles de arbol altogether. The reason is that I dont believe the guys in the truck had time to strain the chile to eliminate all of the stuff you get by using the chiles de arbol. Secondly, if you strain it it thins out too much. Redmeat - I am aiming at getting my recipe as close as possible to KTs.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Kalena499

                                                                                                                                                          I would politely disagree - if the chiles have been soaked long enough, they reach the necessary softness so that when they are blended, there's no need to strain.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Kalena499

                                                                                                                                                            Unless my taste buds are off... de arbols & garlic is the flavor. It is definitely the color.

                                                                                                                                                            I just did a batch of the above recipe: I eliminated the salt and used 2 tsp of Knorr, I also eliminated the guajilos and went straight de arbols. Maybe they were using de arbol powder .. I can buy that at Northgate Market nearby.

                                                                                                                                                            When you strain it then cook it where you are reducing it, it thickens nicely, not too watery. Let me attempt to post a photo! My daughter is helping me figure out how to get these pics up.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: redmeat

                                                                                                                                                                This one is the sauce on a tipped plate... it's not too watery at all.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: redmeat

                                                                                                                                                                  I have been checking in on this thread periodically. Did this one turn out with the correct flavor? Does the achiote really add to it (other than the right color)?
                                                                                                                                                                  I am making some different spice pastes and combo's today and wanted to try your new recipe, but don't have any achiote.

                                                                                                                                                                  BTW, that looks really tasty!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                                    My son made a batch and he swears that I don't use enough achiote. Don't bother making mine. It doesn't taste right. I would use it on tacos, but it's not right, if we are trying to duplicate KT.

                                                                                                                                                                    All the chiles aside... I still can't come up with the flavor in the sauce that gives it that tangy-kinda citrusy-zingy-taste that keeps you coming back for more.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                        Tamarind would be too expensive for large batches. With all this experimentation someone is bound to get it right!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: simon8or

                                                                                                                                                                          These things are usually more simple than we imagine. Or more complex. Hence the dilemma.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: redmeat

                                                                                                                                                                    I will do another batch today. I am ditching the knorr... I am going back to basics and saying that the closest will be... de arbols, garlic, pepper corns, salt and achiote!

                                                                                                                                                                    I will report back.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: redmeat

                                                                                                                                                                      Years ago, I was working for an insurance company and KT was one of our clients. I handed a property damage claim at one of their LA restaurants. The guy I dealt with was Peter Mier. He told me only TWO people at KT know the hot sauce recipes. He also said that the red sauce was a "Chinese" hot sauce, whatever that means, and the pepper was "Chile De Arbol" as he made a gesture with his hand depicting the "hook" at the end of the pepper husk. I just had some leftover tacos and part of a burrito I got from Ontario last night. I got 2 styrofoam cups of red sauce and put it in the fridge overnight. It was VERY hot today, kinda made me drool, and I can eat raw Serranos and Jalapenos like most people eat carrots or celery..There's GOT to be some Habanero powder in this stuff..

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: redmeat

                                                                                                                                                                      i gave it a shot redmeat.... i think its 85%. the base is right. but its not as red and not as tangy. Do you think it has a hint of sugar? maybe lime?

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: jscott373

                                                                                                                                                        Hook us up with the recipe please...

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Cinr

                                                                                                                                                          I gonna say No Dice on Cajun Spice or Cloves... has anyone tried Paprika?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: redmeat

                                                                                                                                                            I'm thinking this stuff doesn't involve any cooking at all. It's just powdered chilis, water and spices. I'm tasting allspice and coriander seed powder for sure. The main chile ingredient might be powdered DeArbol, Cayenne, and maybe some Habanero to kick up the heat.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                              I think you're on to something slugworth - it does seem likely that whatever recipe KT has to rely upon being able to mass produce the salsa at any given time. Has anyone tried to replicate the tastes using powders exclusively?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Kalena499

                                                                                                                                                                I stopped by KT in Ontario last night so this got me thinking again. Man that place was PACKED at 8 o'clock! Every time I have this red sauce I try to decipher the flavors. Hot, citrus/lemony, complex, and smoky. Then I look at the stuff; color, texture, etc. There has to be one main powdered chili. I'm thinking DeArbol, with possibly some Cayenne, and mabye even Habanero to kick up the heat. The Citrus/Lemon flavors scream Coriander seed, the complex almost clove like flavor has to be allspice. The smoky flavor might be smoked paprika powder or maybe a drop or two of "Liquid Smoke" flavoring?? I don't taste lard, tomato, onions, garlic, chicken broth or vinegar

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                    Could be, sandy. Either that, or the De Arbols might be roasted before being ground up?? Smoked Paprika really has an exotic, smoky flavor without being too "earthy"

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                      Hi all - I just tried an "all powder" approach to the recipe and must say that while the taste is off - the heat is beyond hot.....just to preface it all, my ability to tolerate chile is extremely high. Here is what I tried:

                                                                                                                                                                      1/2c chile de arbol powder
                                                                                                                                                                      2 tbs ground corriander
                                                                                                                                                                      1/2 tsp salt
                                                                                                                                                                      1 tbs chipotle powder
                                                                                                                                                                      1/2 tsp ground achiote
                                                                                                                                                                      1/8 tsp ground allspice
                                                                                                                                                                      1/2 c water slowly incorporated to proper consistency

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Kalena499

                                                                                                                                                                        Hmmmm. And the quest continues..Darn.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                          Hello All,

                                                                                                                                                                          I have followed the recipe below as posted 2 years ago today and have been so close that I really think it might be 98.9999% as close as I can get to the taste and consistency of the ONE in question:

                                                                                                                                                                          The secret ingredient is "Huajes" seeds, NOT sesame seeds.
                                                                                                                                                                          Huaje is a vine from the Huaje tree/plant...

                                                                                                                                                                          The recipe calls for:

                                                                                                                                                                          I have added notes in [brackets] to show new *ingredients or steps used from original test recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                          Dried chiles de arbol (about 50-60) DO NOT Use any other kind, i.e. Japones, guajillo, etc, etc.
                                                                                                                                                                          [Leave seeds, and stems as these make your sauce HOT!
                                                                                                                                                                          ]1 yellow or golden onion (tennis ball size
                                                                                                                                                                          1-1/2 Tbsp. huaje seeds (toasted)
                                                                                                                                                                          1/4 tsp cumin seeds [or use the equivalent in powder]
                                                                                                                                                                          4 cloves [or a pinch if you only have clove powder]
                                                                                                                                                                          6 chiles chipotle (from can - NOT dried chipotle)[It seems that 6-7 is the best ratio to the ingredients specified in this recipe. I've used more chipotle, and it just overpowered the sauce.)
                                                                                                                                                                          1 Tbsp salt [Use coarse sea salt if possible)
                                                                                                                                                                          2 Tbsp Knorr Chicken Bouillon [Powder]
                                                                                                                                                                          2 large cloves garlic
                                                                                                                                                                          1/8 cup. APPLE cider vinegar (***Make sure it's APPLE vinegar or don't continue)
                                                                                                                                                                          [was using 1/4 cup before, but it was a little over the edge…]
                                                                                                                                                                          2 Tbsp of LARD - yes lard!

                                                                                                                                                                          Proceed with:

                                                                                                                                                                          In 2 cups of water, boil the chiles, garlic, and onion.

                                                                                                                                                                          ... In the meantime do the following:

                                                                                                                                                                          - Heat a skillet. Toast Huaje seeds (don't burn).
                                                                                                                                                                          - heat lard, and fast fry, both huaje, and pumpkin seeds (Do Not Burn - about 3min max, then remove from pan)
                                                                                                                                                                          - Grind cumin seed, and cloves in a/mortar or spice grinder. (NOTE: powder cumin, and cloves give this salsa a different flavor)

                                                                                                                                                                          Once you have the above ready to go... Proceed with caution... (NOTE: let the boiled chiles rest a bit or when blending, make sure you cover the top with a towel - if the mixture is hot it tends to blow out...)

                                                                                                                                                                          The ingredients should be added in the following manner:
                                                                                                                                                                          1. Blend the chiles, garlic, onion, and tomatoes (Just kidding no tomatoes in this recipe!!!)
                                                                                                                                                                          [add water from chiles as needed -NOT so that you lose a paste-like consistency]

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Add to blended mix, the oregano, salt, Chicken Bouillon, and blend again for about 30 seconds. [this depends on your blender speed/rpms/motor power]

                                                                                                                                                                          3. Add huaje, and pumpkin seeds, and APPLE cider vinegar, and blend till you have a smooth consistency (Per Rick Bales; it should feel smooth when a drop is rubbed between the fingers).

                                                                                                                                                                          Strain the sauce through a fine-meshed sieve. Stir in water [from the boiled chiles] if needed and pour into a stainless steel bowl.
                                                                                                                                                                          [when it cools to room temperature, you can proceed to pour into glass container/s, close lid, and refrigerate. Let it sit at least 12hrs for all the flavors to settle, and let your taste buds decide.

                                                                                                                                                                          I will take pictures, and post them, next time I make it...

                                                                                                                                                                          IMPORTANT!!!!>>>cover and let stand for 24 hours before serving.

                                                                                                                                                                          Most importantly, I think we should consider that back in the early 70's when KT started the business, you could not find a plethora of spices, as you do now.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sabelotodo

                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks for sharing, where would one find guaje seeds? I've looked around and cannot seem to find any. I also searched online and found a 10 lb bag of dried guaje seeds for $118.....does not seem reasonable if this is a key ingredient in the sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Kalena499

                                                                                                                                                                              If you live in the Los Angeles Metropolitan area, you can find Huajes in most markets that carry Latin American items (productos Mexicanos) I buy mine at "Food4Less" at 1.99 a bunch!

                                                                                                                                                                              I've also bought huajes at "Vallarta" and "El Super"). You really don't need 10lbs. A bunch will render enough for about 4x use, with the quantities listed on my recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                              I usually buy the huajes, placed them in the refrigerator in a paper bag for about 2 weeks, before I open the vines to get the seeds. The seeds fall off easier.
                                                                                                                                                                              ...and yes! 10lbs at $118.00 is outrageous! but as you know... in the Latin community, there is always "el compadre who has a huaje tree or two"

                                                                                                                                                                              The reason I say/think that huajesare the secret ingredient, is because I remember a friend of my dad mentioned it back in '78 during a discussion in regards to the sauce in question. (Yeah, this recipe has been in the minds of a lot of folks throughout all these years!) If I can recall... he used to work at a taco joint on Third and Arizona near Mednick called Acapulco's, and he was friends with the cooks who worked at the little KT stand on Third and Sunol, before the well known Third and Ford place became the happening place (c. 1976-77). Back then it was only the Lunch truck, and an empty lot.

                                                                                                                                                                              Honestly! Aside from the mystique of the red sauce, their meats leave a lot to be desired. I have found fragments of bone in both the pastor and asada meats... and chewable ligaments in the beef (????) But even though many complain in regards to portions, quality, and sometimes service… there is always a line in all the locations I have been to at different hours of the day! Figure that out!

                                                                                                                                                                              …Did I answered your question? Lol!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sabelotodo

                                                                                                                                                                                I've been noticing the portions getting smaller and the quality of the meats slipping as well. The Carne Asada seems to be getting very dry, almost like they changed the cut of beef to something much cheaper. The texture is almost sort of "chalky" as of late. The beans in my burrito were also undercooked, flavor-less and hard. A friend of mine used to have a Guaje tree at his old house, come to think of it, but I always thought it was a Tamarindo. I've seen Guajes at El Super too..They use those in Moles a lot, I think.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                    Inconsistency has been an issue. Quantities were definitely shrinking, but the KT I go to seems to have fixed that problem.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: sabelotodo

                                                                                                                                                                                    Hi there,

                                                                                                                                                                                    I am new here and I've been reading this thread for a while now. I am currently working on the Green Salsa. I read somewhere that people have found Basil in the green salsa, could anyone here confirm this? I would really apreciate your help.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Also, there's a place called Rodeo Mexican Grill in Echo Park, they have a Red Salsa that tastes just like the KT red sauce, same flavor profile with less heat. I will ask the workers that I know and see if they could give me some feedback.


                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: oldregret

                                                                                                                                                                                      I dont think there is basil in the salsa - just tomatillo, onion, cilantro, serranos , a tiny bit of water & salt.....hint of clove also but its very subdued.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Kalena499

                                                                                                                                                                                        I found a piece of clove in the green sauce on a couple occasions, I'm certain of it. Doubtful about basil though...probably "Mexican Oregano", which is more aromatic and citrus-y, and used a lot by the Curanderas..

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: sabelotodo

                                                                                                                                                                                      So Sabelotodo, What you're saying is that the huajes you buy are green and you toast them green? Or are you using dried huajes? It's a small detail that can change the flavor of the sauce. I saw them online dry as well as powder. But if you say you got them at food4less then I've only seen them green. I'm gonna try your recipe this weekend and I want to get it right. My brother is visiting from Chicago and I want to give him some to take back home.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: simon8or

                                                                                                                                                                                        Ooops! sorry for not clarifying... Yes! the huajes (or güajes) are green when I buy them. That's the reason I placed them in the fridge inside a paper lunch bag to dehydrate a little. opening the vines to retrieve the seeds is a bit tidious, but once you've done it, the seed should yield for a 3+rounds of salsa.

                                                                                                                                                                                        ...and yes there's a huaje tree at my parent's yard, and in the garden, chiles, nopales, guayabas, mexican lime, limas, figs,asian pear, avocado, chayote, and seasonal veggies that my dad plants through out the year.

                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: sabelotodo

                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm gonna be trying this recipe over the weekend. I will post my results. This one sounds like a winner!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: simon8or

                                                                                                                                                                                      I have taken on the new attitude.. "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em"

                                                                                                                                                                                      Nobody is duplicating this recipe. It isn't the chiles, it isn't the spices, it aint garlic, it's not knorr... There is a missing ingredient (or ingredients) that nobody has mentioned and I don't know what the hell it is.

                                                                                                                                                                                      It is that rich flavorful, zingy, tangy, not really sweet, but sweet, not really vinegar, but tangy, not really salty, but tingles with saltiness. I have 4 cups of it here... the Large Cups I purchased from the newest KT in Bellflower.

                                                                                                                                                                                      The sauce has a unique flavor I have never tasted before because it's not just a taste sensation as much as it is a feeling... like when you touch your tongue to the positive and negative of a 9 volt battery.

                                                                                                                                                                                      The only other food I have ever tasted that has that much flavor zing is Yang Chows Hot-N-Sour Soup!

                                                                                                                                                                                      If I knew what caused that ZINGY MOUTH SENSATION, I might be able to move forward...

                                                                                                                                                                                      Until then, I quit and will just enjoy eating this stuff from their Restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: redmeat

                                                                                                                                                                                        My 2 cents , Umani ? Unami? what is the word for that taste of something so good , it can't be explained? One time I was staying in Mexico and we decided to cook, I made the best salsa in my life and have never been able to do it again. It must be the mexican products, also I used a lava mortar & pestle . THe salt was sea salt from Mexico in a big sack. Also we made flour tortillas that were the best I have ever eaten. Maybe try the salt and chilis from Mexico , maybe from Mexican stores near the KT. There is also a Mexican herb epazote that they use for a unique flavor. Also my beans always tasted flat no matter how much pork fat or garlic or onion I used, I saw this recipe for the best refried beans ever, and the recipe called for bay leaf, I thought it would taste odd but it was really good and had that really good taste . They use bay leaf alot in everything. I live in SAn Diego, I must go to KT now and try this salsa.How about staking out the KT and see the deliveries that come in. I wonder if the salsa is made somewhere else like TJ, here in SD most Mexican restaurants get thier products from TJ, it's much cheaper.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: redmeat

                                                                                                                                                                                          I made up a batch tonight and we are definitely on the RIGHT TRACK! I put a bag of Chile De Arbols, A few canned "La Costena" Chipotles, a cube of Knorr Chicken Bullion, a teaspoon of crushed garlic, a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar, and a few whole cloves and a dash of cumin and ground coriander and lemon zest all into a blender until smooth. Simmered it on low head for about 30 minutes and WOW! the whole house smelled like King Taco! I'm about 95% there...I didn't have any guajes or lard so that may be the last 10%, I don't know, but the Chili De Arbol, Chipotles and whole cloves are at the core of this sauce for sure, for sure!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                              Great! I had totally forgotten about coriander seeds... I bet that's the tangy zest!!! Hmmm!?
                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for sharing.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                Slugworth... do you think to balance the salt in the knorr and salt in general there is a small (very small) amount of sweetness.. like a little Agave Syrup.. kind of common in some mexican sauces.

                                                                                                                                                                                                My thoughts were, (first off I like the idea of lemon zest) your lemon zest, knorr, salt pepper, other spices, cider vinegar and..... a little sweetness... not crazy but some?

                                                                                                                                                                                                The only reason I asked is for the hell of it, I made a small pot full of knorr, hot water, cider vinegar and agave and it had a really unique flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm not swearing on it or saying that's what it is... just a suggestion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: redmeat

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Great minds think alike, Red...I was tossing this around in my head earlier today. My concoction needs a little more sweetness...Perhaps some Sunny Delight (an old Mexican taco truck trick) maybe a little more cider vinegar...I'm going to keep working on this...Tweaking, find tuning, experimenting....This isn't rocket surgery by a long shot and we are getting very, very close here gang....

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Whatever the sweetness is it has to be very simple.....sunny d or orange juice may be the trick. I doubt that the recipe calls for anything as complex as agave syrup.....30 years ago when KT began I don't think that agave syrup may have been available in the states in bulk. Anyone try the recipe with simple syrup or sunny d yet? Sweet / tangy......hmmmmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Kalena499

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Rodeo Mexican Grill has a sauce that tastes very similar to the KT red sauce. They use Chile de Arbol, Lemon juice, and Clove. I am not sure what other spices they use, I'll try to find out. Since they don't strain the sauce as much as KT does, I could tell they also use Tomatillos, very little.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Kalena499

                                                                                                                                                                                                        It doesn't have to be Agave.... it could be just straight sugar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: redmeat

                                                                                                                                                                                                          You're right.....on another note, I have been to Rodeo in Pomona and their salsa is very similar in taste to KT.....not looks though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Kalena499

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oy;.... I am gonna have to jump in my car from SF to go try this King Taco place (does'nt look like they have any in Northern Cal).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sparky403

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I need some help!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've been experimenting with the Green Salsa and my salsa looks exactly like KT's, but the flavor is not there. I notice that their green salsa has a very unique taste and smell. Does anyone recognize this taste or smell? Maybe an herb or a spice? I know that their salsa has cloves, cumin, coriander, and peppercorns but there is something that gives it a very unique taste. Any clues or suggestions? I know you guys are working on the red salsa, but hopefully one of you could give me an idea. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: oldregret

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was thinking the Green sauce might have some Mexican Oregano, or again, those Guaje seeds. The base is tomatillos I'm almost certain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've never tasted Guaje seeds. I'll try to get some over the weekend. Thanks,

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Maybe it is really simple:
                                                                                                                                                                    De Arbol chiles
                                                                                                                                                                    Sazon Goya with coriander and achiote
                                                                                                                                                                    Sauce from a can of chipotles en adobo
                                                                                                                                                                    Apple cider vinegar

                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: CDouglas

                                                                                                                                                                      Slugworth, I have extra time this weekend and would like to try to make some red sauce. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: oldregret

                                                                                                                                                                        I was going to toast the Chili De Arbol pods in a lightly oiled skillet, add a few more chipotles and cloves, add half of a sweet Maui onion and a half of a bunch of fresh cilantro.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. So, I've never had this sauce but love a good mystery.

                                                                                                                                                                      Someone referenced "Chinese Hot Sauce" and someone else referenced a zingy snap to the real deal similar to touching your tongue to a battery. This makes me wonder if one of the mystery ingredients isn't in fact Sichuan Peppercorns?

                                                                                                                                                                      As someone who uses these often to make Shichimi Torigashi from scratch, I could see if they're not ground whether that they could easily be mistaken for the clove everyone's saying is in there.

                                                                                                                                                                      Finally, when you consider that Chinatown is only a hop skip and a jump on the 10 freeway, it makes me even more convinced this might be what you're all looking for.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. So Ive given this a shot more than once and I feel its just off, What? i wish i could tell. the color is a bit off the spice level is not as hot and its missing a tanggy element. Sabelotodo its a good salsa but just not the same.

                                                                                                                                                                        I think this will help..... a spot in Baldwin Park called Rambos Tacos has a sauce that is dead on, but its a bit thicker and may be able to give us more hints on whats in the sauce. maybe you guys can give it a try and see if it can help

                                                                                                                                                                        79 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ozo009

                                                                                                                                                                          First time here and I too have been obsessed with the darn sauce. Just want to encourage everybody involved here and urge everybody onward in this Indiana Jonesque search for the secret of the friggin sauce. Two things: one is that (and somebody already mentioned it) if the owners are importing the key ingredients in bulk or have the powdered recipe made in Mexico and shipped here then that maybe a big reason why you guys are having problems. Stuff grown there tastes a little different to very different. -- Two is that you guys have probably hit on all the ingredients by now and simply need to work on portions. To all of you that posted recipes for chili sauces that are by themeslves delicious if not kt, I will never forget you. Onward!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Esuper1

                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks for the words of encouragement "E". I have been beating my head against the wall trying to figure it out but it has been a very tough road. I have experimented with both the cooked and powder versions of several recipes and feel that the powders have gotten me closer in taste than the cooked versions. I keep visualizing what it may have been like having to prepare the salsa either in a kitchen in very large batches or in the KT truck on the street.....what ever the scene it had to have been a quick and easy recipe......the quest continues.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Kalena499

                                                                                                                                                                              We should get in touch with Todd Wilbur of Top Secret Recipe's, maybe he can help us??
                                                                                                                                                                              He's the Original Food Hacker!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Kalena499

                                                                                                                                                                                Kalena, I have tried a few of the recipes posted here and the sauces taste more on the sweet side. When you prepare your sauce, what does it taste like? Sweet? Sour? Tangy? Also, how is the spice level on the batches you prepare? The ones I've prepared are not spicy enough even though I use a lot of Chile de arbol and chipotle. Thanks,

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Esuper1

                                                                                                                                                                                I just did another batch ... I did sabelotidos last post but added lemon zest and coriander seeds. At the end it was very close. It has a bit orange and not as tangy. So I added a few table spoons of poco de gallo chilli powder. I think that might be what helps the spice level and makes it red. I may have over done it as the spice level is very high ( more than king tacos) not sure it you guys want to try it with maybe just one table spoon of the stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ozo009

                                                                                                                                                                                  I did a batch of Sabelotodo's and it was close, but it did miss the tanginess and spice. Almost done eating the last batch, so I'll be doing a new one soon. I will be adding coriander seeds and lemon (not the zest). I don't think the founders even thought zest was an edible ingredient back in the 70's. I will also be adding fresh habaneros to the chiles de arbol ( I will be boiling them with the chiles). Note: The last time I had the sauce It had a burn at the back of the tongue just like the habanero does.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: simon8or

                                                                                                                                                                                    This are the ingredients I've been using: Tosted Chile de Arbol, Canned Chipotle, Tomatilo, Water, Vinegar, Lemon, Garlic, Knor, Clove, Oregano, Ginger, Coriander, Salt, and Pepper. The sauces I have made are good, but compared to KT, they are more on the sweet side. I feel that there sauce is sour tasting. Any ideas?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: oldregret

                                                                                                                                                                                      I think sabelotodo is on to something with the Guaje seeds. And the Oregano might be Mexican Oregano which is a different species of plant than the Italian seasoning type. I'm also starting to think there may be some parsley or cilantro in there too. I'm going to ditch the lemon zest and try some lemon juice next time. Wish I knew someone who worked at the KT central commissary..

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                        I bought some Guajes the other day and haven't tried them on the sauce. I tasted a few seeds and they don't taste too good. Maybe dried they will taste better. On my next batch I will add some fresh seeds and make another batch with dried seeds. I'll keep everyone posted.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Could someone please send me the list of ingredients that has worked the best for you?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: oldregret

                                                                                                                                                                                          on OCT 8th Sabelotodo posted his last list, its very near what the sauce is. it was missing a bit of heat, color and zestfulness. I gave it a try by adding lemon zest coriander seeds, it helped with the zest. and i added pico de gallo powder.( it helped with the color and heat. I added a few table spoons of the powder and it made it red and very hot, will have to play with the amounts. i feel it got about 90% of the taste and 125% of the heat!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ozo009

                                                                                                                                                                                            Q'onda ozo et al... I made the salsa yet again... but this time, I added coriander seeds (about 1/2 teaspoon) for the tanginess, I also used a bigger bag of chile de arbol (I think it's the 5oz bag), and to add more color to the red, added about 2 table spoons of Paprika powder. I added the whole contents of chile chipotle in the small can, as opposed to just 2-3 chipotle peppers. I waited until the sauce was cool to room temperature, and ran it through a second blend and added about one ounce of orange juice (Freshly squeezed from a Valencia orance -not off the shelf supermarket juice)

                                                                                                                                                                                            Compared to the original:
                                                                                                                                                                                            Color:was 99.99 dead on (always leave room for improvement)
                                                                                                                                                                                            Consistency: it felt very similar to the ONE.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Taste: I went a little overboard with the coriander
                                                                                                                                                                                            Spiciness: It made me think of my worst enemy for a good 10minutes, but it felt like KT's... it's tangy, and you want to eat more, than Wham! it feels as if your tongue was hit with a hammer, and the heat is so intense, that your tongue goes numb, and then gradually your sense of taste comes to life at 1 minute intervals, while you feel your mouth salivating, like a dog on a hot Summer day.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I honestly think that the tangyness might be the preservative they use for the meat, or the balance of the apple vinegar is off.

                                                                                                                                                                                            this weekend (Saturday)I will make some more, and chronicle the steps, ingredients, and anything new, and most importantly... pictures! I will also take a trip to KT, and bring back some salsa to compare side by side.

                                                                                                                                                                                            time to ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. hay nos vidrios compadres.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sabelotodo

                                                                                                                                                                                              sabelotodo - looking for an update to this post ... ?

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: ozo009

                                                                                                                                                                                      here is what my end result looks like ...it at a 90%

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ozo009

                                                                                                                                                                                        How would you describe the taste?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: oldregret

                                                                                                                                                                                          its very similar to the King taco sauce. The base is chiles de arbol, chipotles, Yellow onion, pumpkin seeds, and huage seeds. that gets you 80% of the next 20% is what makes the sauce amazing and I wish i knew the winning combination but the truth is that everything i try falls a bit short. my last try lacked a zesty tangy taste the the original has, and was a bit hotter. I made this for thanksgiving ill see what the rest of my family thinks. My first 2 victims said that it was insane on the heat scale...but they are green sauce people... so they cant be trusted.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ozo009

                                                                                                                                                                                            Are you using the huaje seeds dry or fresh?

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: oldregret

                                                                                                                                                                                              Fresh i peel them and flash fry them with whole punkin seeds in manteca. One other thing left out of sabelotos list is the Mexican oregano

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ozo009

                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm very tempted to toss in a handful of parsley into my next batch. The other day the Mrs. was cooking a pumpkin/parsley soup. The aroma was hauntingly familiar. Could be the zesty zing we're looking for..Plus, I recently took a very good look a the COLOR of KT's sauce; it's more "brick red" leaning towards a burnt orange. Mine always comes out too red. There's also little black specks in theirs leading me to think that they roast their De Arbols allowing some of them even to blacken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ozo009

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have tried Mexican oregano, but my testers (unwilling family members) did not agree. I tried little, less, pinch, and zero.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I would not recommend Parsley either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hmmmm! Maybe the zestyness comes from a celery stack???? I think I'll try it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sabelotodo

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hello Everyone!, I am new here This salsa has me curious now. too. Mexican food is one of my passions. My son is working at the Rose Bowl this Sat. A new King Taco has opened there and hopefully he can bring some salsa back to me. I have to taste it now. You all have been on your quest for almost 7 yrs. This has so be some great sauce. I had the impression there was only 1 or 2 King Tacos, but there are many.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Happy Thanksgiving

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sabelotodo

                                                                                                                                                                                                      For some reason I think the zestyness comes from the chiles de arbol being marinated in vinegar over a period of time. I really don't smell celery on it. Has anyone considered pineapple as the zest?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: simon8or

                                                                                                                                                                                                        all the ingredients have been mentioned here. it is a lot easier than most of the recipes here. Tried something with about 5 or 6 ingredients. some dried some fresh and some just come premade.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        mostly powder.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: simon8or

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pineapple would give it way too much sweetness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think there's a lot of over thinking this recipe - given the low budget food at KT and other similar establishments, do you think they're going to add something that costly?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          If you look at my earlier post back in September, the ingredient list from another taqueria that has a salsa roja very close to KT uses the following ingredients:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Whole chile arbol, toasted
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Canned chipotles
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fire roasted tomatillo
                                                                                                                                                                                                          California chile powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cayenne pepper
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Black pepper
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Salt to taste
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ginger powder

                                                                                                                                                                                                          My guess is that the ginger and paprika are definitely not in KT's sauce...otherwise I think this is awfully close. The real question is what are the ingredient ratios?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Moose

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I also doubt the ginger powder. I've never tried adding tomatillos. Not tasting any cinnamon either..Sabelotodo says no go on the Mexican Oregano as he's tried it. I'm still thinking guajes or pumpkin seeds, coriander seed or fresh cilantro, possible on other dried chile powders but that opens another can of proverbial worms. Possible on Paprika, I just bought a tin of smoked Paprika, I'm going to try a bit next time......The quest continues.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I know tamarind is used in Mexico in drinks and candy but I never thought of adding it to a salsa or mole.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hoja Santa: The leaves can reach up to 30 centimeters (12 in) or more in size. The complex flavor of hoja santa is not so easily described; it has been compared to eucalyptus,[5][6] licorice,[2][7] sassafras,[3][8] anise,[4][9] nutmeg,[4] mint,[10][11] tarragon,[5] and black pepper.[4] The flavor is stronger in the young stems and veins. It is native to the Americas, from northern South America to Mexico, and is also cultivated in southeast Florida.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Anybody ever heard of "Hoja Santa"? I'm thinking I need to change my approach to this recipe. It's not really a "Salsa", it's more of a "Mole". How about Pine Nuts? Check this out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mole_(sa...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And This: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piper_au...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Here's another interesting article about "Pipian" it uses pumpkin seeds and mentions using spices like anise and cardamom. http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-pipin...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think so - not a common ingredient in salsa. I'm willing to bet the "tang" is coming from the tomatillos. Here's a recipe I found online which has the basics, but I would omit the knorr & tomatoes, as well as add clove & cinnamon:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Salsa roja para tacos
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      courtesy of Sonia at La Cienega (GO EAT THERE!)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4 roma tomatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Tb oil, separated
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 generous handfuls of de Arbol chile (don’t be stingy) – as is, don’t remove seeds or veins
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 garlic cloves
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4 guajillo chiles – as is, don’t remove seeds or veins
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      6 tomatillos
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ½ tsp chicken bouillon powder (I like Knorr Suiza brand)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ¼ tsp ground cumin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ¼ tsp oregano (Mexican is preferable)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Salt to taste
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Place tomatoes in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, place 1 Tb oil in a medium –sized skillet on medium heat, and fry de arbol chiles for 1-2 minutes. Stir constantly so that chiles are fried well and change colors, and also to keep burnt chiles to a minimum. Lower the heat if necessary. Once done, remove chiles and place on paper towel to drain. Next, add remaining Tb oil and place guajillo chiles and garlic in skillet and fry for 3-5 minutes, again stirring constantly. When done, garlic should be slightly browned. Remove chiles and garlic to paper towel to drain. Place tomatillos in same skillet and allow to roast/fry until skin is blistered and tomatillos are cooked through. When done, they will change to a more yellow color and a softer texture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Remove cooked tomatoes to a plate or bowl and allow to cool to room temperature, reserve cooking liquid. When done, remove tomatillos to a plate or bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. Once all ingredients have reached room temperature, place all (including herbs, spices, and seasonings) in the blender jar with 2-3 cups of cooled cooking liquid and blend well. Salsa should be smooth with specks of dried chile. Additional cooking liquid may be added to taste. Check for salt. Serve with tacos of your choice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Moose

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ok, tomatillos is in the salsa as well as Tapatio (lots) and chipotle. those are 100 percent sure. can't tell the rest of the ingredients and exact quantities, but you got four now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: elaperro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I always thought this stuff was sort of like a Curry. I may not be far off with that philosophy. Mole paste could be described as a Mexican Curry. Check out what these guys came up with and the ingredients they used: http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/20...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I bet a shiny new peso that this Hoja Santa is what give the Green sauce it's complex flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I hope you are right. I've tried different herbs and nothing comes close to that special taste that the green salsa has. Where do you think I could get some? Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: oldregret

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Grand Central Market
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013 under the name yerba santa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I am going to Grand Central now.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Do you have any suggestions for the Green Salsa?? Any ideas on what gives it that special taste?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: oldregret

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It will be quite ironic if, while trying to solve the mystery of the Red sauce, we end up figuring out the Green! I think the green is tomatillos, jalapenos or serrranos, onions, cilantro, cloves and this aromatic, exotic tasting Hoja Santa herb. Heck, if they use it in the Green, could it also be used in the Red?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think that the majority of green sauces have tomatillos in them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I went to Grand Central Market and nobody had Hoja Santa. I'll keep searching for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: oldregret

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Try Proyecto Jardin in Boyle Heights. I heard they have it growing like wildfire. They're a community based non-profit and they're open in the afternoons.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1718 Bridge St Los Angeles, California 90033
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              (323) 774-7824. I bet if you offered a modest donation, they'd fill up a sack for you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Here's a recipe for Mole Verde with pumpkin seeds and Epazote: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Moose

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I wanted my son to bring some sauce from KT in Pasedena but it was already closed. Would someone post a photo of the actual sauce if they have one?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Epazote for the green salsa, -right? I don't think the red salsa has it. But their "frijoles de hoya" are cooked with epazote, fast boil, slooooooow simmer.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ... and yet another recipe to crack!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Anyways, in regards to the green sauce: I don't think they use yerba santa or hoja santa (piper auritum), and nor they use it on the red sauce. Hoja santa has a very peculiar taste, but I do think they use basil (Not sweet basil, but Mexican basil) in their green sauce. There is a variety of Mexican basil with a lemony taste.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    After just tasting, sniffing, analyzing the green sauce in front of me… I think it contains roasted tomatillos, roasted serranos, roasted garlic, raw white onion, salt, Knorr, cloves, a hint of cumin, a hint of black pepper, and the Mexican basil thrown in and blended at the end, once the rest of the mixture is to room temperature… since the basil in it is not fully cooked, but still retains the crisp.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    NOTE: As I mentioned before, and some of you have also stated… When Mr. KT started selling his tacos, and burritos in the early 70's, you could not find 1/10th of the spices you can EASILY find nowadays. El Guapo spice company, and many other well know spice companies were not around. The only one I can remember was Rojas, and later on Tampico. So the red sauce had to be made with whatever ingredients were available at the time, unless he was making many trips to Tijuana for supplies -which could be a possibility. It's a budget kitchen, and I would not think they would use expensive ingredients for the salsa. The zest, I think generates from the arbol and apple vinegar mixture.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Some of you want the sauce to be 100% in comparison to the original… Hmmm! I just want my salsa to be 99% as close to taste, and I don't necessarily care if the color is off by 10 shades of red. I think I have gotten closer in spiciness and consistency, by adding the whole can of chipotle (about 4-5 peppers + own sauce), and adding about 20 more chiles (de arbol) to the mix. I have also found that the sauce tastes better after everything settles, and all the ingredients infuse with each other, usually after 12-24 hours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My .02 worth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sabelotodo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I was thinking Epazote or HojaSanta in the green stuff; I've seen "Cinnamon Basil" plants at H.D, I never knew this was a.k.a Mexican Basil, good find! I'll plant some in my herb garden next spring...As far as the Red sauce, I'd be happy to get to 90%. When I do my next batch, I'm going to grind a combination of the spices mentioned here in various posts in a molcajete, then put them in an herb steeping bag to do what's called an "infusion" and simmer this in the DeArbol based sauce; you get the flavors and aromatic qualities of the spices without having to consume the bitter grinds and tailings. I've done this with many of my holiday homebrew beer recipes with excellent results. I'm gonna keep experimenting..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sabelotodo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Here's my latest recipe and by far my best: Toast a pouch of Chili De Arbol until you see wisps of smoke and they just start to darken. Turn off the heat and allow to cool slightly. Add 1 tsp crushed garlic and slightly toast it. Allow this to cool further and transer to a blender. Add about 6oz of Embasa's Chipotles in Adobo. (I was aiming for about 3-1 Arbol vs. Chipoltles) Drop in 1 Knorr chicken cube and add hot water until the mix blends smoothly. Add 1 tbsp Dona Maria pipian mole and 2 Tbsp roasted/salted pumpkin seeds. Add 1/2 tbsp of each: black peppercorns, whole allspice and whole cloves. Add 1 tbsp powdered coriander seed, 1tbsp California chile powder and 1/8th of a bunch of fresh cilantro. And for the sweetness/zesty taste add 1/4 cup Goya Mollo Criollo and 1/4 cup bitter orange. Transfer this back into a pot to simmer for 10 minutes. This is incredibly close to KT's red sauce. The smell, color and consistency are almost exactly dead on. The heat level is higher, but I think this will mellow out with a few days of refrigeration. It's all there..Fine tune as you like. Some very minor adjustments could probably be made, and I don't think we'll ever get it 100%, but this is very, very close. Buen Provecho!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wow. After 24+ hours of refrigeration, my sauce has really begun to settle in. The heat has backed off a bit and the fiery, smoky, citrus and spice notes have melded together very nicely. The key is getting the ratio of DeArbol/Chipotle just right and being generous with the Allspice. I might do a very small amount of adjustment on my next batch, but it will be very very slight. Also, I marinated a piece of flank steak in Goya's "Mojo Criollo" overnight and roasted it slowly in my outdoor BBQ. Chopped it into taco meat and put it back into a deep skillet and added a splash of Mojo Criollo. Steamed a few corn tortillas by setting them on top of the simmering meat for about 2 minutes and assembled a couple of tacos with chopped onions, cilantro, the sauce and a squirt of lemon juice. The result? Sabroso!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Slugworth, there is a lot of Tapatio hot sauce on this salsa. They order pallets and pallets of this stuff every week. what else can it be used for?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: elaperro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hard to believe. How did you get this information? Do you know for a *fact* that King Taco's corporate office or central commissary receives shipments of Tapatio? I've had many a bottle of Tapatio. It's just a generic red Mexican hot sauce and the flavor is unremarkable. There's probably Chile DeArbol in it, but that's where the similarities seem to end. Tapatio started in 1971, so the time frame is right, but KT's sauce has got far more going on in it that Tapatio, and the stuff that I made over the weekend is incredibly close.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                it is a fact about the tapatio. can't let you know where I got the info, but it is a fact.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                and chile chipotle la costeña, cans of it. lots of it too. I believe that the stuff you did is very close. did you put any apple cider vinegar?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: elaperro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I used apple cider vinegar in a prior batch. It didn't seem to move the flavor significantly in any particular direction but adding the splash of Goya's Mojo Criollo and Naranja Agria absolutely did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: elaperro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      la respuesta:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Lol! had to add it for laughs! (childhood memories


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      it's a bitter/tangy orange used in Mexico (maybe other Latin American countries too...) for many uses; medicinal, cooking, and yes sometimes in sauces. It's also used in many South East Asian countries as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      but the one Slugworth is talking about is the one in a clear bottle from Goya or La Lechonera (my choice), and some other brands...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Felices Pascuas everyone!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  about the Mojo Criollo your are right, it has that taste. I tasted in a Rice a dominican friend made and I felt I was tasting king taco without the heat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: elaperro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If KT is using Tapatio in their sauce, I highly doubt they are getting it in 5oz bottles. 5gal buckets maybe, and also, Tapatio could be custom formulating for KT with a non-disclosure agreement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      you are right, when I said pallets and pallets of it, it is pallets of gallons, no buckets. about the custom formulating maybe yes, but when king taco started, I'm sure they did not do that. so when they started, they could of be using just simple tapatio. do me a favor, make a mexican quesadilla with any mexican chesse and tapatio. put it in the microwave about one minute each side, let sit for about two minutes and eat it, what do you taste?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        also, make sure when you make your sauce, keep it in a plastic container for at least 24 hours in the fridge. does this changes it the flavor? got to make sure it is a plastic bag, nothing else. Apple vinegar does its job here. trust me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: elaperro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tapatio is now located in a "30,000 SF state-of-the-art facility" They also sell cases of their sauce containing 4 one gallon bottles. I guess anything is possible. If KT is using Tapatio as a supplier, it's also possible that it's a custom formula or a *part* of a formula that KT processes further. At the restaurants, KT"s sauces are always in large heat sealed plastic bags.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          yes plastic bags. so try your recipe and see if it gives it a different flavor by storing it in a plastic bag. the Tapatio thing is a fact! I know that when king taco started, they were not formulating his recipe or part of it, he did not have that much money for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: elaperro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            try this easy recipe. a bottle of tapatio (5 oz) a spoon of knor pollo. 1 clove of garlic, one chile chipotle, half of clove. a pinch of cumming. Criollo adobo. and 3 spoons of apple vinegar. blend it for a while til it is very smooth. then simmer for a while. while it is simmering add red chilli powder to tates/heat and cayene pepper. I will try it. after it cools down, put in a plastic bag and store for a day in the fridge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: elaperro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "Naranja Agria" is a orange based marinade made by Goya. I found it at Food For Less in a quart glass bottle. Kinda like the counterpart to their lemon based "Mojo Criollo". Right now I'm enjoying my made from scratch sauce and El Cocina De Slugworth esta cerrado, but I'm open to trying anything that, in the end, tastes good! My sauce is in the fridge in a plastic Mayonnaise jar getting happy, happy, happy. I'm having some friends over on Thurs for Carne Asada tacos. I'll see what they think of my latest concoction. Salud!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ok, let me know. Thanks for the recipe. I will try it as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: elaperro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have a large Rosemary bush growing in the yard. I never thought of using it in Mexican food, but It's worth a try. I haven't really tried to do a Green sauce yet, maybe next time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm just saying, some one asked me and I never reply. it is worth a try. for myself I really don't like the green sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: elaperro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I usually only order Carne Asada tacos or burritos. Once in a while Al Pastor with Green. There definitely is something very aromatic in that green sauce. Whether it's Mexican Basil, Rosemary, or Hoja Santa, I have no idea. Hopefully someone figures it out; the red sauce is too hot for mi esposa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you for sharing your recipe Slugworth!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: oldregret

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I took my jar of sauce out of the fridge, opened the lid and took a great big sniff. Gang, this is it. I can't see how we could get any closer. A few days refrigeration really did the trick. I'm sticking with this recipe. It's delicious. I'm happy. Almost perfect. Having some friends over tomorrow nite for a tasting session. Looking forward to seeing their faces after that first bite. Another big piece of this puzzle is to simmer your beef in Mojo Criollo. This is a MUST. I stocked up today. Bought 3 more bottles from Food4Less. What this stuff does to Carne Asada is sinful. Good luck gang, and Bon Apetit! Cheers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Congratulations! Slugworth, Which brand of mojo criollo do you use? I'm going to Food4 less to get everything you used.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Can you post pictures? I made this, it looks right, but doesn't taste like KT to me. I have been eating KT for 28 years, still eat it twice a week and bring home a couple of large cups of the red sauce every time I go. I just don't taste it in your sauce. It's decent, it has some of the characteristics, but it is off. I'm gonna make it today minus a few ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: redmeat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'll try to shoot some pix over the weekend, but the color is pretty much dead on. It also took 3 days in the fridge to really settle in. Friend of mine came over for tacos last nite, he refused to leave until I parted with a good sized jar for him to take home. He said "It tastes like King Taco", so I'm going to stick with this as a main recipe and do some minor tweaking next time. As far as cloves go, there's GOT to be cloves or allspice (or some combination of both) in their sauce. Too many people have reported finding chunks of the stuff in the sauce. The aromatic clovey-ness has always hit me right in the nose every time I have KT.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't smell clove. I do taste a clove-like after taste (eating and smelling it now). All Spice seems to give that sensation. Like I said, I have been eating KT for 28 years, never have I seen a chunk of anything in Red Sauce. I smell KT and smell an smokey chipotle type smell.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: redmeat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bayless says use both.....He also says let the stuff age...."Up to several weeks". I first tried KT in 1982 or so, same with El Tepeyac. I still drive up to Boyle Heights to get my Machaca Burrito fix! A tweak here and a tweak there is probably needed, but I'm gonna let my stuff mature for a while longer before I make any changes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think people find pieces of clove on the Green Salsa. The red salsa gets strained, I doubt anyone would find a piece of clove. Of coarse, that doesn't mean it doesn’t have clove in it. A few persons I know swear it has clove or "clavo de olor" and these are old school mexican ladies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've done batches of Red Salsa and at the moment I think I finally got it. I let sit a few days, I buy a cup of red salsa at king taco and compare the two side by side, taste one and taste the other, it turns out I am still missing something. Oh well, maybe the next batch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Have tried each and every recipe on here over the last year or so and have experimented heavily, probably some 100 plus hours, but just hovered in the background observing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Were not there yet folks. If this recipe is to actually be broken I think maybe a more logical approach might be necessary. Many of the points in this blog make sense, many do not so lets look at these points first. As well as a lot more experimentation. To many variables.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think also being rather inexpensive, a guaranteed analysis might not be a bad idea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -King Taco stated out in small food trucks. (This does mean they would have budget constraints
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  and would have needed to be able to make batches quickly and like all small businesses would choose ingredients that were both cost effective and readily available. This would also mean that their recipe would not have changed and still would be made the same way today regardless of the size of their central kitchen, in other words don't fix what isn't broken).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - If something costs a dollar to produce, even with all the buying power of a medium restaurant chain they would not sell it for 50 cents. In other words each of the ingredients being used must be looked at and if to costly most likely able to be excluded.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - The kind of chili used. Most likely chile de arbol as it is cheap and readily available. Possibly chile japones or maybe a blend of the two. As well New Mexico chili's and chile gaujillo.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Think it safe to say chilis should be cooked on skillet, how long that is a good question. To long they burn, to little, the desired effect not achieved. I think the best is when just stating to smoke and are getting crunchy and just bit of black. Enough smoke so your eyes burn a little.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -To de seed or not to de seed. Think about it, to have to remove the seeds from each de arbol would take way to long, so I feel leaving them in will quicken the process saving time and money as well keeping the heat of the chili itself in the sauce. (The heat comes from the seed, obviously everyone knows this).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -However on some of the larger chili's, gaujillo and new Mexico seeds will easily come out when broken after cooked rather easily. As well there seeds do not grind up as well as the de arbols and japones.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -Chili powder - adds a familiar color but not much for the taste
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -Powdered de arbol powder - Use de arbol pods, the powder adds an unpleasant medicinal effect
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -The question of Knorr. If used most likely not the cube version but the powdered version in tubs, again a cost decision. (Very inexpensive by the tub).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -Cider Vinegar or not. May work for Rick Bayless or Dianne Kennedy but I think a little to pungent for King Taco's Red Sauce.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -The Indian spices question? Many are cross platform such as corriander seeds, cayenne pepper, cilantro cumin seed etc. Have tried garam masala, turmeric, ground cardimun, various curry powders and so far nothing. What I have learned is to go very lite on these as a little goes a very very long way.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -Onions anyone? Have tried, white onion, Spanish onion, red onion and scalions as well onion powder. I don't think so. All tend to leave to strong an after effect after 24 hours or more of marination.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -Garlic, yes but cooked, raw or powder. I say no to powder and yes to either fresh or cooked, of coarse in the skin and then peeled.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -Salt: kosher, sea salt or regular table style. Most likely regular table salt but have gotten much better results from the kosher salt.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -There is definitely all spice. Now which style of all spice, Mexican, Jamaican or Honduran. All have their own personality. Even powdered all spice have tried. I think so far the Mexican all spice berries have yielded the closest result.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -Clove, what for, the All spice seems to cover that base just fine.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -Cumin or cumin seed? I choose powdered cumin, seems to work just fine.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -Coriander seeds, I think for their green sauce, am not really sure for the red sauce.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -Canned chipotle. Have tried every brand and problem is the sauce adds to much sweetness. Understandably there is a hint of sweetness in the King Taco sauce but I do not think from the canned chipotles. The smokiness from the canned chipotles is what seems to be desired. So I have come up with an alternative.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ******use actual smoked and dried chipotle chilis but heat on a skillet first to further enhance the smokiness. This is an inexpensive method and would seem to go along with the economical side of the ingredient list.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -liquid smoke? Tried, very potent but feel the smoke chipotle is better fit.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - black pepper? Maybe, but Mexican black pepper.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -Pumpkin seeds, the larger Mexican pumpkin seeds definetly sooked on skillet till popping. This not so much for taste but to add thickness to sauce. Again a few go a very far way.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -The bitter Orange - Maybe, but minimal.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -Bottled Mole - Have tried several, maybe, but doesn;t seem to strike a familiar note.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  --Mojo Criolles? It has a familiar garlic, black pepper citrus taste. Maybe on the expensive side even in gallon or 5 gallon containers but will not rule out.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -Habenero extract, or Habenero.I do not think necessary. I think there is more than enough heat from the de arbols.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -The question of Tapatio? It does have a familiar color, but duplicates many of the ingredients mentioned above. It is cheaper in large quantities gallon containers, but seems to have to be used sparingly as brings the sour, bitter notes. When cooked by itself, simmered, takes on a mollasis taste and consistancy. So maybe, but sparingly. I am naturally cautious of people claiming they no for sure that an ingredient bis used in a sauce. How? Just because a restaurant orders batches of Tapatio does not mean it is used in therir Hot sauce. Maybe they refill the smaller bottles, as larger restaurants fill there soya sauce ciontainers or ketchup or mustard. Maybe they use it in a marinade or other sauce.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -oil -if frying sice maybe, but I do not think so.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -Water - Enough said

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So all this said and done I think safely the following should be experimented with.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Chili de arbols (Pan, skillet or comales)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Knorr Powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Kosher Salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Cumin Powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Mexican All Spice berries
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Some form of smkoe - smoked chipotle chili's my first choice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Rosated Garlic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Either bitter Orange or Mojo Criole or similar version.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Some Mexican Pumpkin seeds, toasted, to add consistancy and thickness.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Water
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Blend heavily for several minutes, emulsify.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Marinade and refrigerate for atleast 24 hours (In Marinade bags)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Cook for a few minutes at low heat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cooking time impacts the color.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There is something else missing. This is where any and every other possible ingredient should be tried. Its that final slight aftertaste. It is most likely something very simple and familiar and I'm sure some one here will stumble on it sooner than later. Maybe even from a combination of the previously mentioned ingredients.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mr. pimm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for your input Mr. Pimm....I also have experimented with all of the recipes listed above but dont feel they have come that close. Thy Rick Bayless recipe is very similar to a chile recipe my grandmother handed down to the family as an accompaniment to Birria de Chivo....while it is definitely savory, its not KT sauce. I made some of it the other night then sampled small spoonfuls of it alongside the KT stuff I had just bought....wasn't close. When tasting, I taste the salsas on their own, no outside taste variables to interfere or confuse my taste buds. Lets keep working.....I really appreciate everyone's efforts and input - this is a great dialogue!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Kalena499

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I just had some of my sauce with a bowl of chili. It's very tasty, and very close. I really don't know how it could get any closer, but it's almost as I've "forced" the taste. Some flavor components are overstated, while others seem understated. I'm going to keep this recipe and probably make some more when I run out, but I'm also going to keep experimenting. Next time, I think I'll abandon the straight Chili De Arbol route and start with a combination of peppers close in Scovilles and maybe Puyas instead. Even on KT's website it says, and I quote: "Red Salsa - Salsa made from a variety of chilis and mixed spices that give it its very spicy hot flavor, that follows a very secret King Taco family recipe"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: mr. pimm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Great summary. Welcome.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just for the sake of clarity, the heat in chiles actually comes from the inner ribs; the seeds have SOME heat in them from being attached to those ribs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mr. pimm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm thinking outside the box and looking at combining other chiles into the mix, namely "Pequin" and "Guajillo Puya" for flavor, color and heat. Cayenne has not been ruled out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mr. pimm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Here's another one, and wow, it's GOOD!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3/4 pouch Chili De Arbol
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          6 dried Puya chiles (de-stemmed)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 dried Guajillo chiles (de-stemmed)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Tbsp powdered Mexican Cayenne
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 tbsp dried Mexican Oregano
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 packet Sazon Goya
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Tbsp Mexican black pepper
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Tbsp dried Mexican Allpsice berries
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1/2 tbsp dried whole Mexican cloves
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1/4 cup Goya Mojo Criollo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 tbsp dried Pequin chiles
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1/3 bunch fresh Cilantro
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 cube Knorr pollo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Juice of one large lemon (save peels)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 1/4 tbsp sugar. 1 tsp Kosher salt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Liquefy all ingredients in a blender adding hot water to gain the correct consistency. Transfer to a large soup pot. Add 1 bay leaf and the conserved lemon peels. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf and lemon peels. Allow to cool for 30 minutes and transfer into a 1QT jar. (this should yield amost EXACTLY 1 quart) Seal jar and place jar into ice bath for 45 min.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Man this is great stuff. The heat "creeps" up just like KT. The "aftertaste" is there. The color is dead on. So is the "complex" "spicy", "savory" "lemony" taste and "aromatic" smell. All peppers were used dried, straight out of their packages. NO cumin or pumpkin seeds were added.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I just finished eating a HUGE burrito made with flank steak marinated 3 days in Mojo Criollo, fresh cilantro and onions and canned pinto beans simmered in a packet of Sazon Goya.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This stuff is fantastic. Really, really tasty. Let me know what you think!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Here's another one, and wow, it's GOOD!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3/4 pouch Chili De Arbol
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            6 dried Puya chiles (de-stemmed)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Dried (NOT CANNED) de-stemmed whole Chipotle peppers.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 dried Guajillo chiles (de-stemmed)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Tbsp powdered Mexican Cayenne
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 tbsp dried Mexican Oregano
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 packet Sazon Goya
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Tbsp Mexican black peppercorns
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Tbsp dried Mexican Allpsice berries,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Tbsp ground Coriander seed.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1/2 tbsp dried whole Mexican cloves
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1/4 cup Goya Mojo Criollo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 tbsp dried Pequin chiles
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1/3 bunch fresh Cilantro
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 cube Knorr pollo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Juice of one large lemon (save peels)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 1/4 tbsp sugar. 1 tsp Kosher salt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Liquefy all ingredients in a blender adding hot water to gain the correct consistency. Transfer to a large soup pot. Add 1 bay leaf and the conserved lemon peels. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf and lemon peels. Allow to cool for 30 minutes and transfer into a 1QT jar. (this should yield amost EXACTLY 1 quart) Seal jar and place jar into ice bath for 45 min.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Man this is great stuff. The heat "creeps" up just like KT. The "aftertaste" is there. The color is dead on. So is the "complex" "spicy", "savory" "lemony" taste and "aromatic" smell. All peppers were used dried, straight out of their packages. NO cumin or pumpkin seeds were added.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I just finished eating a HUGE burrito made with flank steak marinated 3 days in Mojo Criollo, fresh cilantro and onions and canned pinto beans simmered in a packet of Sazon Goya. I dumped about 4 Tbsp on the burrito before rolling and added more as I went.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This stuff is fantastic. Really, really tasty. Let me know what you think!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Slugworth


                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have a couple of questions about the recipe above:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. How large was the pouch of de Arbols?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. The Sazon Goya...I see several "versions" of the packets...which did you use? (Annatto, Azafran, etc...).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. No garlic? (Just checking).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              4. You mentioned onions in the marinade. None in the sauce? (Again, just checking).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              5. Are Puya chiles similar to "Pulla" chiles? I

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I made this sauce (minus the chipotles) and it was great...very well received.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Slugworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Almost forgot the Chipotles. They must be the dried type, NOT the canned (en adobo) I think the Adobo sauce adds too much bitter Cumin and shifts both the flavor and color in the wrong direction. PS. I found ALL the ingredients at Food 4 Less.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Never had the sauce but am intrigued. Could an ingredient be Achiote paste as per this recipe?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I will try to make some of this soon, thanks to all for great thread.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: reststop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Achiote? I've never tried it with this salsa. I've used it to marinate fish and chicken. Next time I make a batch of salsa I will add some.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've been experimenting with Chile de Arbol powder and I feel that the salsas I make with the powder taste closer to KT, than the salsas I make with whole Chile de arbol. Has anyone had better success with the Chile de Arbol powder?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. whole cumin seeds
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              whole cumin seeds toasted
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              whole cumin seed crushed
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              whole cumin seeds toasted and crushed

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Strange - I posted a reply here about an hour ago and it's now gone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Again - reviving the thread to keep the discussion alive!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ultravista

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hi...I see they have changed the format of the thread since I was last on. Thx for keeping the thread alive. I get alerts via email when someone posts on it but don't often visit here. I tried a few of the listed sauce recipes...many quite good. I must admit I lived in LA for years and never had this sauce they speak of. So many sauces...so little time....adios

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I haven't tried any of the recipes yet - but will soon. Need to find the De Arbol's in bulk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. sabelotodo - any updates to your recipe?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Has the mystery been solved - no new replies?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ultravista

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I managed to stumble onto the 'new' thread on this started by redmeat. link to http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/896168 If you can't get to it using the link for some reason click on redmeats name and it will list his post on king taco

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I just tried this recipe and it's pretty darn close to me...good enough as a matter of fact. I kept it simple like redmeat suggests. I wish I would have made it spicier though.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I did the following:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Sautéed/fried a handful of chiles de arbol for a couple of minutes. Don't let them get too dark otherwise it takes on a different taste.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Added 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar(bought this one by mistake instead of rice wine vinegar but it's just as good)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Added 3 tablespoons of Knorr
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Added 2 tablespoons of garlic. I used the minced version that they sell in jars.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Added a full can of chipotles in adobo sauce.(small can)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Salt to taste.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        These are all of the ingredients that I believe are required and now it's just a matter of messing with the measurements to get it down right but not by much for my taste. To me, the addicting ingredient was the chipotle chilies in the adobo sauce and l like I said, this is good enough for me. Give it a try, it's not that complicated, I kept it simple with simple ingredients as would have been done in a taco truck when they first started. If you think about it, regular vinegar might have been all that they used back then.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks Redmeat!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        47 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: boxfan1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for the update - what particular brand of chipotles did you use for this recipe? I will give it a shot this afternoon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: boxfan1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Just tried the recipe - very tasty but not quite there. I found myself adding over a cup of water because it was too thick. There is a certain flavor / sting that is distinctive in the KT sauce, I don't get that here. Here are the specifics over what I used:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            25 chiles de arbol fried lightly in canola oil
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 cloves of garlic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 tbs knorr
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 tbs red wine vinegar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 can chipotle chiles with adobo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1/2 tsp kosher salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 1/4 cups of water

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Kalena499

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Like I said, it's good enough for me but I'm going to keep on tinkering with the measurements. I used "La Morena" brand of chipotle chilies in adobo.