Tomato Molcajete Salsa is made of roasted ingredients and ground together in a Mexican mortar and pestle. The result is a chunky and flavorful salsa that’s perfect for dipping chips or as a tasty topping for tacos and tamales.
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Most people (myself included) prefer “salsa molcajeteada” over blender salsas.
Here, I’m showing you the tomato version. Also check out the Molcajete Salsa Verde.
To make this recipe you will need an authentic Mexican molcajete.
Table of Contents
- 1 WHAT IS A MOLCAJETE?
- 2 Salsa Ingredients
- 3 Roast Ingredients
- 4 HOW DO YOU SEASON A MOLCAJETE?
- 5 Instructions
- 6 How to Adjust the Spice Level
- 7 Using Vinegar
- 8 Storing Instructions
- 9 More Mexican Salsas:
- 10 Tomato Molcajete Salsa
WHAT IS A MOLCAJETE?
From the native Nahuatl “molcaxitl,” a molcajete is a volcanic stone tool for grinding food. In short, it’s a traditional Mexican cooking instrument similar to a mortar and pestle.
You can buy a molcajete at Latin markets, or buy one online. They come in different shapes and sizes. I’ve even seen them shaped like pigs.
Unlike salsas made in a blender, salsas made in a molcajete will come with a different texture that is chunky, rustic, and delicious.
- Roma tomatoes
- jalapeño peppers
- garlic cloves
Simple ingredients are needed to make this simple recipe. You can get these fresh ingredients at just about any grocery store.
The downside to making this type of salsa is that you can only make small batches.
- Roast all the tomatoes on the stove on medium heat.
- Or, place under the broiler for 7-8 minutes. Until everything is charred.
Using aluminum foil paper over a baking sheet makes for a super easy cleanup. It’s not necessary, but it definitely helps.
If you’re into smoother salsas, this is NOT your recipe. This might offenda those who use a blenda. Lol.
I am roasting the ingredients, but you can also boil to make Mexican Red Salsa.
No molcajete? Put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times to make a chunkier salsa.
HOW DO YOU SEASON A MOLCAJETE?
To season a new molcajete, you need uncooked rice and a lot of elbow grease.
Learn more on how to season a molcajete.
Getting it shiny clean is virtually impossible. Not soap. It’s made from volcanic rock and has little holes.
- You always start by mashing the garlic and a small amount of salt.
- Mash according to the desired texture.
This is the only time you get to really mash the garlic. You can use fresh garlic, if that is your preference.
These are two chile peppers – one is a jalapeno, and the other is a serrano.
Use either, or both, or two of the same, or one of each. It all depends on you and your personal tastes.
- Add the roasted onion.
- When you’re adding the tomatoes, add one at a time.
- Slowly press down to release the juices of the tomato, then mash away.
Yes, you can just put all the ingredients and mash away. However, to make sure that everything is fully mashed, only add one ingredient at a time.
Also, if you start mashing right away, the tomato will squirt at you.
There is the chance that you might need more tomatoes, depending on the size of your molcajete. This is one case where size does matter. 😉
How to Adjust the Spice Level
- For a milder salsa, use diced roasted poblano pepper.
- Or, add more tomatoes to the salsa. Or, you can use less of the jalapeno.
- For a spicier salsa, use all serrano chiles or use habanero pepper.
- You can also use less tomato to make it spicier.
- Leaving the seeds and veins on the jalapeno will make a spicier salsa.
- With a spoon, slightly scrape the bottom and sides of the molcajete to combine everything.
- Some ingredients will stay at the bottom. You want to bring all that goodness to the top and throughout the salsa.
Is the salsa too thick? Add a splash of water.
If you want to preserve your salsa longer, add vinegar. Lime juice will not make it last longer. In this case, I recommend a splash of white distilled vinegar.
Place the salsa in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
More Mexican Salsas:
With its smoky flavor and robust taste, it’s a great way to take Mexican recipe to the next level. Or, enjoy as-is with tortilla chips. Simply delicious! Buen provecho.
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Tomato Molcajete Salsa
- Add olive oil to a pan and place the tomatoes, onion, garlic cloves, and peppers.
- Watch the garlic and onions, and remove after 2 minutes so they won’t burn.
- Continue cooking the tomatoes and peppers.
- Roast until the tomato and jalapeno skins are black.
- (You can also do this under the broiler for 5-6 minutes).
- Remove and let cool slightly until ready to use.
- In a molcajete (or mortar and pestle), add salt and garlic cloves.
- Mash until smooth.
- Add the jalapenos, mash until smooth or until desired texture.
- Add onion, mash slightly.
- Add one tomato at a time.
- Press down slowly on the tomato to release juices, then continue mashing.
- Add the second tomato.
- Again, press slowly until the juices have been released, then continue mashing.
- With a spoon, mix to combine all the ingredients.
- Serve and enjoy.
A molcajete salsa will last up to 2 months in the fridge. Add vinegar to preserve the salsa. To reduce the spiciness, add an extra tomato.
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