Salsa Roja Taquera (Red Taco-Stand Style Salsa)

  • Yield : about 1 1/2 cups
  • Prep Time : 15m
  • Cook Time : 15m
  • Ready In : 30m
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  • 8 to 10 dried arbol chiles
  • 2 guajillo chiles
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 ripe plum tomatoes
  • Salt to taste


Step 1

1 Snip off the stems of the chiles and shake out their seeds as best you can. If the chiles are too dry and brittle, warm them slightly on a gently heated comal, and then remove the seeds. Alternately, keep the seeds in to make a very hot salsa. 

Step 2

2 Heat the comal on low to medium-low and place the unpeeled garlic cloves near the edge of the pan, away from direct heat. Turn occasionally until soft and blackened in spots, 5 to 7 minutes. Peel the garlic cloves once cool enough to handle and set aside in a blender jar. 

Step 3

3 To toast the chiles, work with one at a time so they don't burn. Place each chile near the edge of the comal-again, away from the hottest part of the pan-and turn constantly for 5 to 10 seconds, pressing any wrinkled or folded spots lightly so all parts of the chile skin come into contact with the pan. They are done when the color lightens up in spots and they emit a spicy aroma. (This is a very quick process!) Remove all toasted chiles to a separate bowl and cover with water. Let sit 15 minutes or until the skins are soft. Reserve the soaking water. 

Step 4

4 While the chiles sit, heat the comal to medium or medium-high. Cook the whole tomatoes, turning often with tongs, until soft and blackened in spots. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. 

Step 5

5 Add the hydrated chiles to the blender jar (with the garlic), with 2 tablespoons of the reserved chile water and a generous 1/4 cup water. Blend until smooth. Add the tomatoes and 2 tablespoons more water, plus 3/4 teaspoon salt. Blend again, adding more water and salt if desired. (Note that the saltiness will mute when the still-warm salsa cools.) Serve at room temperature.

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