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Salsa Roja

Salsa Roja – Traditional Mexican Table Sauce

Prep Time: 30 min, Cook Time: 30 min
Yield about 3 cups


  • 1 dried ancho chile, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 dried Anaheim chile, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 dried chipotle chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 8 Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 sprigs cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 lime, juiced


  1. Tear all the chiles into large pieces and toast them in a large dry skillet over medium heat until they change color a bit, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the spices and continue to toast for 2 to 3 minutes until everything is fragrant.
  3. Remove from heat and carefully add about 1 cup of hot water to just cover the chiles.
  4. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  5. Preheat the broiler. Put the quartered tomatoes, sliced onion, and whole garlic cloves onto a roasting tray, spreading out evenly. Drizzle with plenty of olive oil and season well with salt and pepper and sprinkle with cilantro sprigs.
  6. Broil until everything is nicely charred, about 10 minutes (you want lots of deep rich color so don’t be afraid if some of the edges get pretty black).
  7. Add the chile mixture to a blender and puree.
  8. Remove the tomato/onion mixture from the roasting pan and carefully add it to the blender, (it will be hot). Blend until smooth (you may need to work in 2 batches).
  9. Once everything is pureed, pour the mixture back into the pot over low heat adding a little water if the salsa is too thick. Stir in the sugar and lime juice and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to a large serving bowl and serve.

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