Medium-Hot Cooked Red Salsa

Medium-Hot Cooked Red Salsa

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.
  1. Do you love an excellent hot salsa, one that accentuates the flavor of good Mexican or other Latin-American food without burning to a degree that you can no longer taste the food? I have had chunky salsas, watery salsas, many variations of green and red salsa; some were very good with tortilla chips; some of the milder salsa verdes were good with less spicy Mexican dishes. However, when I have a burrito or taco I want a nice bite to it, but I don’t want to be overpowered. Most of us who like spicy food prefer a medium-hot salsa, and this recipe fits the bill perfectly.

    Unlike most salsa recipes, this is a cooked, pureed salsa, so it takes some time to prepare, but it is very much worth it, and the leftover (there will be leftover salsa) freezes and thaws well and can last in the freezer for a year, maybe more. If you want to make the salsa milder, cut down on how many Japanese chilies you use; to make it hotter, add a couple Serrano (of if you like it really hot, habañero) peppers to the mix.


    It may seem odd that Japanese chilies are the main ingredient for an “authentic” Mexican salsa, but I swear that the guy who gave me a version of this recipe was Mexican through and through. These peppers have a nice kick—unlike jalapenos, whose heat comes on slowly and lasts forever—but the burn fades rapidly.

    This recipe will yield about 3 quarts of one of the best pureed red salsas you’ve ever had.


    For this, you will need:

    • 3-4 cups dried Japanese chili peppers (enough to fill a cookie sheet completely without overlapping)
    • 3 cups tomatillos, washed and halved (about 10; remove the stem spot on top)
    • 3 cups tomatoes, washed, halved (about 8; remove the stem spot on top)
    • 2 cups red onion, quartered (2 medium large)
    • 1 cup garlic, peeled, cleaned (whole cloves)
    • 2-3 Tbs. chicken bouillon (to taste; may add more at the end)
    • 3 tsp. salt (to taste)
    • The juice of 2 large limes
    • Filtered water



    1. Remove any stems from the chilies; spread them on a cookie sheet and place in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes, or until they start turning a dark brownish-red (you will smell them roasting; this can be overpowering, so make sure the kitchen is well ventilated, and monitor the peppers closely so they don’t burn).
    2. Place all of the ingredients except the lime juice into a large pot. Add enough water so that the vegetables are submerged. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and let it simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, or until the veggies are tender.
    3. Stopper the kitchen sink and place the pot in the sink. Add enough cold water to the sink (outside of the pot, naturally) to match the level of the salsa and let sit for 15 minutes to cool. Stir the salsa from the edge of the pot inward every 5 minutes or it will take much longer to cool.
    4. Once the salsa is only warm, ladle it into a blender. Fill the blender ¾ full and blend, starting at low speed and working your way up steadily until it is set on puree. Puree the salsa for at least 30 seconds, and then pour into a large bowl. You will have to repeat this process a few times.
    5. Because you will not puree the ingredients equally in each batch, stir the salsa thoroughly, adding the lime juice as you do. Taste. If it isn’t savory enough, add more chicken bouillon (to do this at this stage, ladle a little salsa into a small bowl and mix it with the bouillon thoroughly before adding it to the rest; heat the small bowl up in the microwave if there are bouillon clumps to help them dissolve). If it is bland, add a little salt. If it lacks tang, add more lime juice. If, God forbid, it isn’t spicy enough, just cook up a couple Serrano or habañero peppers in the microwave with a little water, toss them in the blender with a little salsa, puree and add it to the batch.


    I like my red salsa a little on the runny side, so you may want to add more water in the end. After adding the water, taste it and adjust the salt-bouillon-lime if needed.

Leave a Reply