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What is a Molcajete?
From the native Nahuatl “molcaxitl,” a molcajete is a stone tool used for grinding food. In short, it’s a traditional Mexican cooking instrument similar to a mortar and pestle.
Unlike salsas made in a blender, salsas made in a molcajete will come out chunky, rustic, and delicious.
Most people consider molcajete salsas to be better. It’s a labor of love and truly authentic Mexican food.
Don’t forget to watch the video on how to make Tomato Molcajete Salsa
To make your Tomato Molcajete Salsa, you will need :
This is a basic Mexican salsa. You can very easily change it up according to your taste.
Instead of jalapeno, you can also use a serrano pepper.
Please note: I am roasting these ingredients. You can also boil the ingredients such as in Mexican Red Salsa.
- Roast all the tomatoes on the stove.
- Or, place under the broiler for 7-8 minutes. Until everything is charred.
Using aluminum foil paper makes for a super easy clean up. 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.
Some people like the look of a molcajete, but don’t like the work that it takes to make a Tomato Molcajete Salsa.
Here are some other options:
- Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times to make a chunkier salsa.
From here, pour the salsa into the molcajete and enjoy.
How do you clean and season a molcajete
To season a molcajete, you need rice and a lot of elbow grease. Learn more on how to season a molcajete.
Before starting on your Tomato Molcajete Salsa, wash the molcajete with soap and water.
Word to the Wise: Getting it totally clean is virtually impossible. It’s made from volcanic rock and has little holes.
You can buy a molcajete at just about any Mexican grocery store, or buy one online. (AFFILIATE) They come in different shapes and sizes. I’ve even seen them shaped like pigs.
There are a few crucial steps to making Tomato Molcajete Salsa.
- You always start by mashing the garlic and salt.
- It will help season the salsa.
Yes, you can just put all the ingredients in the molcajete and mash away.
However, to make sure that everything is fully mashed, mash each ingredient one at a time.
This is the only time you get to really mash the garlic. If you add it at any other time, you will get chunks of garlic. No one wants that!
Roasted garlic and salt will also help season the sides of the molcajete.
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.
You can use either, or both, or two of the same, or one of each. It all depends on you and your personal tastes.
A serrano pepper is spicier than a jalapeno.
Rule of thumb: the smaller the pepper, the spicier it will be. This is not always the case, but in general, this holds true.
Mash according to the desired texture.
Leaving the seeds and veins on the jalapeno will make a spicier Tomato Molcajete Salsa.
How do you reduce spiciness?
In this case, add more tomatoes to the salsa.
Or, you can use less of the jalapeno.
Onions can go in here if you like. Mash as much or as little as you like. Or, you can add them at the very, very end.
- When you’re adding the tomatoes, add one at a time.
- Slowly press down to release the juices of the tomato, then mash away.
If you start mashing right away, the tomato will squirt at you.
How many tomatoes do you need? It depends on the size of your molcajete. This is one case where size does matter. 😉
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.
Do you put vinegar in salsa?
If you want to preserve your salsa, add vinegar. People who can salsa will add vinegar to their salsas.
Another time vinegar is used in salsas is to replace acid. No lime juice in the kitchen? Add vinegar instead.
How Long Does Tomato Molcajete Salsa Last?
A molcajete salsa will last 5-7 days in the fridge.
A molcajete salsa will last up to 2 months in the fridge.
There’s something about making it fresh and having a beautiful volcanic rock on the dinner table that is hard to resist.
Or, you can also serve as is with chips. Hope you enjoy!
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.