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Authentic Mexican Salsa Recipe

r
rachel12 Feb 6, 2009 12:59 PM

I have recently been craving tomato salsa like crazy after having a wonderful version from a local Mexican restaurant. I tried to get the recipe out of the chef's there, but language barriers and ego got in the way :)

The salsa is not a chunky pico de gallo, rather a smoother tomato based version. I am mostly wondering if they cook the tomatoes and other ingredients first and cool it after, and what ingredients are used. I attempted my own version with canned jalapenos as opposed to fresh in the hopes of obtaining the right shade of green, but I think that might have been wrong.

Any help would be awesome!!

  1. h
    Hearthnsoul Mar 1, 2014 05:08 AM

    This is how I was taught to make it, in Mexico! Canned tomatos, no, no, no! Fresh is best. This recipe is quite versatile, but I like it simple. This morning for instance I made it as such.
    4 nice vine ripe tomatos
    3 weighty jalapeños
    Garlic
    Olive oil
    Salt
    (Optional ingredient 3 mini sweet peppers)
    Use jalapeños according to how hot you want it. 4 jalapenos to 4 tomatos is hot, hot, hot. Less jalapeños the less hot. You can bulk up by adding sweet mini peppers that are the rage everywhere now, but they are not from the original recipe I was taught.
    So place tomatos and jalapeños (mini peppers) in a pan, cover with water and bring to boil. When the jalapeños and tomatos are softened. Drain water. Place in bowl and use a hand blender to puree leaving a little chunk if you like. Pan back to stove and slice fresh garlic, saute in olive oil. I used 4 pieces. Love garlic! Adjust to your liking. Cook a minute or two then dump your tomatos and jalapeños back in the pan and salt to taste, cook a few minutes to let the flavors meld. Careful when you add back in tomatos and jalapeños as they spit. You could from here add cilantro if you like. I am not the biggest cilantro in my salsa fan so I don't, and there was no cilantro in the original way, you could add a diced onion or shallot in the beginning as well if you choose. It is simple, flavorful and versatile.

    1. t
      twisterp Feb 8, 2009 10:47 AM

      Try this...1 can whole tomatoes w/ juice, 1 can chopped tomatoes w/ grn chilies (Rotel) w/ juice, 1-2 whole fresh jalapenos, 1 bunch cilantro (twist off the bottom long stems).
      Throw all ingredients into a blender w/ salt to taste and blend til smooth. This turns out very green but people just go nuts over it. I sometimes add fresh minced garlic & lime juice.

      2 Replies
      1. re: twisterp
        r
        rachel12 Feb 19, 2009 02:02 PM

        After a lot of test runs and I talking to some people who wait tables there I think I've got it! Its a combo of canned tomatoes and fresh, there they add a can of jalapenos including juice, but when I did that it didn't taste as fresh, so I did a combo of some canned with juice and fresh jalapenos. Then I diced the standard onion, cilantro, and added a bit of garlic powder and salt.

        It is as close as I think I'm gonna get, but I am happy with the results! Thanks for everyone's input, it helped a lot!

        1. re: rachel12
          janetms383 Feb 19, 2009 02:52 PM

          rachel, have you seen this video that is posted on Chow?

          http://www.chow.com/stories/11523

      2. c
        crt Feb 8, 2009 07:33 AM

        The best and most flavorfu salsa comes from using all fresh ingredients. Never, never use any canned ingredients. Pan roasting tomatoes and chilies adds even more flavor. Here then is a link to my Nuclear 'Fire Roasted ' Salse here at Chowhound. You can use less chiles of course depending upon you tolerence to heat. This version is HOT HOT HOT, but also flavorful, flavorful, flavorful.

        http://www.chow.com/recipes/11229

        1. g
          Grillncook Feb 8, 2009 04:27 AM

          Try doing a google search for "Ninfa's Red Sauce" It's one of the better tomato based sauces out there. It's a simple recipe and your search will pop up several recipes all claiming to be Ninfa's sauce. I like this one http://www.recipelink.com/mf/14/21086. You can serve it hot or chilled.

          1. Sam Fujisaka Feb 7, 2009 01:39 PM

            Most salsas in the US are not cooked. There are many cooked salsas in Mexico.

            1. j
              janniecooks Feb 7, 2009 04:29 AM

              I doubt they cook the tomatoes first, and I'd not be surprised if many mex restaurants use canned tomatoes. I often make salsa with canned tomatoes this time of year when the fresh tomatoes available at the markets are insipid.

              Never never use canned jalapenos. Use one 14-ounce can of good quality diced tomatoes, add a chopped onion, a couple of diced jalapenos or serranos, and a good handful of chopped cilantro. Season with a bit of salt, and if you want a bit of tartness add a squeeze of lime juice. For a smooth texture, just whir it in your blender or food processor. That's all there is to a simple, fresh tasting salsa.

              2 Replies
              1. re: janniecooks
                janetms383 Feb 7, 2009 07:49 AM

                canned tomatoes are cooked

                1. re: janetms383
                  j
                  janniecooks Feb 8, 2009 03:03 AM

                  Yes, canned tomatoes are cooked; I don't think I stated otherwise. And normally as Sam said, in the US salsas are uncooked. But in the wintertime when ripe, juicy, flavorful tomatoes are not available in the markets excellent quality canned tomatoes make a very fine substitute for fresh tomatoes in salsa.

              2. janetms383 Feb 6, 2009 02:39 PM

                You mention "the right sade of green". Was it a green salsa. That would be salsa verde and is made with tomatillos.

                2 Replies
                1. re: janetms383
                  r
                  rachel12 Feb 6, 2009 04:30 PM

                  No it's a red salsa, and I am positive there is none if very little chili powder in the recipe. Thanks for the input, I have to keep brain storming :)

                  1. re: rachel12
                    janetms383 Feb 6, 2009 05:30 PM

                    Salsa don't usually have chili powder in them. Tomatillos are a vegetable. Not knowing what your salsa tasted like, it's hard to know what to recommend. You could make a red salsa with tomatillos if you also used chipotle in adobo.

                    For a smooth red tomato based salsa, I would suggest you roast the vegetables because a smooth salsa made from raw ingredients is more watery that one that is roasted.

                    Here is a recipe that I like.

                    In a small skillet, dry roast 4 serrano chilis and 3 unpeeled gloves of garlic until soft and slotchy black in spots (about 10 - 15 mins). Chop a white onion and, using a strainer, rinse under cold water, drain well. Pull the stems off the chilis and the peels off the garlic and put in a blender or food processor with the chopped onion. Process until finely chopped. Add one 15 oz can of roasted tomatoes with their juice and process until smooth. To finish, add the juice of 1/2 lime, salt to taste and some finely chopped cilantro.

                2. b
                  Bazel Feb 6, 2009 02:28 PM

                  We live in the southwest and have a local taco shop in town that has served the same style hot sauce for more the 25 years. This is a smooth red sauce. Here’s the basic recipe you will want to modify to your taste preferences.

                  In a blender combine:
                  1 small can of tomato sauce (8oz size)
                  2 regular size cans of diced tomatoes (about 15oz each)
                  4 garlic cloves
                  2 tsp salt
                  Dried tepin chili’s to taste (start with a ½ tsp.)

                  Blend all ingredients until smooth. Test for salt and heat. Out of the blender you don’t want the sauce too spicy. Next strain and place in container and refrigerate over night. This sauce will round out in flavor and become spicier after sitting. If you find your sauce to be too hot, dilute with a batch of blended (and strained) additional tomatoes, garlic and salt. If not hot enough, return to blender and add a bit more dried tepins.

                  Like most chili – you never know how hot any one batch is going to be. It’s always better to start with less and add more. Of course with this recipe that requires a bit of pre-planning to allow for the flavor to develop some. This sauce will separate a little in the fridge; just stir it up again before serving. In general this is a thin sauce.

                  Bz

                  1. e
                    evalencia Feb 6, 2009 01:37 PM

                    tHE BEST WAY TO MAKE THE SALSA YOU DESRIBE IS THE USE TOTALLY FRESH INGREDIENTS STARTING WITH TOMATOS AND ADDING THE FOLLOWING TO TASTE IN A BLENDER OR FOD PROCESSOR.USE GARLIC, ONION, JALEPENO OR YELLOW CHILIS, A TINY BIT OF VINEGAR TO GIVE IT A KICK IF YOU LIKE. CILANTRO AT THE VERY END IF YOU WISH BUT CHOP IT BY HAND INSTEAD OF PUTTING IT IN THE BLENDER WITH EVERYTHING ELSE. HOPE THIS WORKS FOR YOU. (LEMON OR LIME JUICE INSTEAD OF THE VINEGAR IS FINE ALSO)

                    1. yamalam Feb 6, 2009 01:13 PM

                      Search salsa on this board and you'll get a ton of results.

                      1. p
                        Poeticalmath Feb 6, 2009 01:02 PM

                        I dont know, baja fresh have the best pico de gallo

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