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This salsa molcajeteada combines pan roasted tomatoes, garlic, and peppers to make a spicy and hearty salsa. They are ground down in an authentic Mexican molcajete. It is a staple in all Mexican homes, super easy to make, even if you don’t have a molcajete, and it adds a perfect touch of spiciness to any meal.

Charred tomatoes, peppers, and onion in a sheet tray lined with foil.

This recipe is from our housekeeper Polita, or I should say my parents’ housekeeper. I wish I had a housekeeper!!! She has worked with us for over 20 yrs. She was my nanny, as well as the house cook, and seamstress. Over the years she has become more of a companion for my mother and a beloved part of our family.

Garlic in a molcajete for salsa molcajeteada

Garlic ground to a paste in the molcajete

Let me tell you she likes her salsa hot!! She makes it in my mom’s molcajete, which I desperately tried to get here to give to me, but she refused. I can have it when she’s dead, she said. Because of this I had to buy a molcajete from Sur la Table!! It’s actually harder than you would think to find a good quality molcajete in the US. It might be easier now from Amazon than a couple of years ago.

Peppers ground to a paste in the molcajete

Be careful of cheap molcajetes because they might be made with cement and not volcanic stone. There are ways to tell if your molcajete is made with cement or volcanic rock. Usually a molcajete made with cement will not release any grit or if it does it will be a fine powder. A real volcanic rock molcajete will release grit into your food until it is properly seasoned.

Two tomatoes on top of chile puree in the molcajete

Once you determine that your molcajete is real, you will have to season it, unless you bought it already seasoned. To season it you basically have to grind a mixture of rice and a little bit of water, over and over again until the paste comes out white. You can see step-by-step instructions here.

Salsa molcajeteada in a large molcajete surrounded by tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic

Now you’re all set! When I use the molcajete to make salsa I feel so connected to my roots and my people. I don’t know if it’s the repetitive motion that gets you thinking, but just to think that hundreds of years have passed, and I can still make salsa the way my great-great grandma did is something truly special.

making salsa

 

The Recipe: Salsa Molcajeteada

  • Warning!! This salsa is hot. If you would like a medium heat to your salsa omit the serrano peppers. If you can find them use chilaca peppers instead of anaheim.
  • To make this recipe even quicker you can place your peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and onion under your oven broiler set to HIGH until they are charred. Be sure to flip them halfway through so they char evenly.
  • If you do not have a molcajete you can use a blender or food processor. Simply place all the cooked ingredients in the machine and pulse until the desired consistency is reached. I prefer it on the chunky side.
  • Enjoy!!

Salsa molcajeteada in a large molcajete surrounded by tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic

4.8 from 5 votes
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Salsa Molcajeteada

This salsa molcajeteada combines pan roasted tomatoes, garlic, and peppers to make a spicy and hearty salsa. Made in an authentic molcajete.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword authentic mexican salsa, molcajete salsa
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 cups
99 kcal
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 3 Plum tomatoes, small
  • 1 Beefsteak tomato
  • 1/4 White onion
  • 3 cloves Garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 Poblano Pepper
  • 1 Anaheim pepper
  • 1 Jalapeño
  • 2 Serrano Peppers
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt (plus more as needed)
  • 1/4 cup Chopped cilantro

Preparation

  1. Cut off the stems of the peppers and the tops of the tomatoes. 

  2. Heat a griddle or cast iron pan to high heat. Place all of the peppers, tomatoes, and garlic on griddle until they become soft and slightly blackened, about 7-10 min. (See note)

  3. Flip peppers, tomatoes, and garlic and continue to char for another 5- 7 minutes. (The garlic will be done before the peppers are finished cooking. Simply remove them from the griddle.)

  4. Remove ingredients from griddle and set aside. Peel most of the dark burnt skin off of the tomatoes and chiles. You can leave a little bit for the smoky flavor. Peel the garlic. 

  5. To start grinding ingredients in molcajete, place 1/2 tsp. of salt and the garlic in the molcajete. Grind down until a thick paste has been made. 

  6. Add the pepper and grind down one by one until you have the desired consistency. Add the tomatoes one by one and keep grinding. Chop the onion and add it to the molcajete with the cilantro. Season to taste and serve. 

  7. If you do not have a molcajete you can use a blender or food processor. Simply place all the cooked ingredients in the machine and pulse until the desired consistency is reached. I prefer it on the chunky side.

Chef's Notes

Warning!! This salsa is hot. If you would like a medium heat to your salsa omit the serrano peppers. If you can find them use chilaca peppers instead of anaheim. 

To make this recipe even quicker you can place your peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and onion under your oven broiler set to HIGH until they are charred. Be sure to flip them halfway through so they char evenly.

If you do not have a molcajete you can use a blender or food processor. Simply place all the cooked ingredients in the machine and pulse until the desired consistency is reached. I prefer it on the chunky side.

Nutrition Facts
Salsa Molcajeteada
Amount Per Serving
Calories 99
% Daily Value*
Sodium 115mg 5%
Potassium 1000mg 29%
Total Carbohydrates 22g 7%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugars 12g
Protein 4g 8%
Vitamin A 68.8%
Vitamin C 137.8%
Calcium 5%
Iron 6.4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.