Sue's Mexican Table Salsa

Total Time
Prep 1 hr
Cook 0 mins

This is probably not like the usual run-of-the-mill salsas you are used to. It's a roasty type of salsa, with guess what? No tomatoes allowed. If you thought salsa had to have tomatoes, you should definitely try this. I first had something like it at a Mexican restaurant not too far from where I live. Wanting it for home, I knew it wouldn't be long before I made my own version. I hope you like it! I do! You will need the dried chiles for this. Look for them at any Mexican or Hispanic grocery, or a market that has international foods (you can also buy them online). The minced jalapeno and habanero are just suggestions (what I used). If you like it hotter, or have different types of peppers, or don't want them (the salsa is mildly spicy without), then feel free to adjust that to your own taste.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. About one hour before, tear off the stems and any woody part from the dried chiles.
  2. Shake out all the seeds, and tear them up (like you are ripping up an evil credit card) and place them into a heatproof bowl.
  3. Cover torn chiles with the 4 cups boiling water (make sure they are covered well- add more boiling water if needed).
  4. Weigh the top of the chiles down with a heatproof plate (just to make sure they stay submerged).
  5. Allow them to soften in the hot water for about 1 hour.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chiles from the water, but do not discard the water (set it aside for now).
  7. Place the softened chiles in a blender or food processor, along with the chopped 1/2 onion, salt, garlic, red wine vinegar, and lime juice.
  8. Puree mixture until smooth, adding 3/4-1 cup of the reserved soaking liquid to get the consistency you like (discard any liquid you don't need or save it to cook with rice).
  9. Pour pureed salsa into a bowl, and stir in the minced chiles (protect your hands if you want with gloves while mincing) (use habanero, jalapeno or whatever kind you like or have) and chopped cilantro.
  10. If you have not protected your hands with gloves while mincing the hot chiles, wash them several times with dishwashing liquid to help remove some of the volatile oils.
  11. And don't rub your eyes.
  12. The salsa may get hotter as it sits for awhile with those minced chiles, so consider that when deciding how many chiles to use.
  13. Adjust seasonings for salt (if necessary) and serve with warmed chips or over food.
Most Helpful

Great recipe and really Mexican. I very seldom ran into tomatoes in salsa in Mexico. Or if they were there they had only a slight tomato taste. I also made it without the vinegar and it's great.

Merle 1 March 15, 2010

I am IN LOVE with the flavor of this recipe! The only reason it gets a four instead of a five is because HOLY COW, girl! You must have taste buds of steel! I didn't add the jalapenos nor the habenero, and it was more than "mildly spicy." (I did allow a few seeds from the dried peppers to sneak their way in...maybe that's why?) I also left out the cilantro because I wanted to use this as an enchilada-type sauce, and cilantro wasn't a flavor I was looking for. I added close to 3 cups of liquid to make it more pourable, and saved 1/2 cup amounts in snack-sized Ziplocs and froze them to take to work with my homemade frozen veggie lunch wraps. Froze well! The vinegar separated a tiny bit, but a quick stir and it was good to go. I am not in love with how much prep work went into the chiles, but the flavor, I have to admit, makes up for it. I'll probably make and freeze in large batches in the future so I don't have to hassle with the prep as often. I will certainly serve this as table salsa as well, with the cilantro and less liquid...about a cup was a good consistency for me. My dad and I have always loved chile-based salsas, but I've never had one quite this good (I think it's the lime...could be the vinegar, too...). Thanks a trillion, Sue. You're the best! :-)

Are-Oh-Be-Why-In May 22, 2009

Absolutely AWESOME! the flavor compliments fish tacos amazingly. My wife and I almost went through a whole bag of chips in one meal with this recipe too. Great Recipe, keep up the great work.

Cooking for Pleasure April 05, 2009