Once in while you have to leave the blender and food processor on the counter and just get your hands dirty! Lol! Well, dirty in a good way. Preparing salsa in a Mexican molcajete is a process. It really is not something that you can rush through. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t do without my blender or processor, but on special days I bring out the molcajete. And maybe this was not a special meal, but just to experience the process on how the salsa comes together is worth it to me. It has it’s unique flavor that only the molcajete can give. One thing for sure is that your molcajete must be polished and seasoned before you use it. There are some great insructional videos on YouTube on how to do this. And always opt for a larger molcajete if you are thinking of purchasing one. In honor of Earth Day today, I wanted to share this process with you. Bring on the homemade chips! Happy Earth Day!
Salsa de Molcajete
- 6 to 8 chile serrano stems removed
- 3 to 5 cloves garlic
- 1 medium white onion quartered
- 7 or 8 roma tomatoes
- 1 poblano
- 1 chile chilaca or Anaheim Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon more or less of dried chile piquin
- Juice of 2 key limes
- Salt to taste
- First thing you want to do is decide how you will cook your ingredients. I chose to roast and char mine in an outdoor charcoal grill. You could char on the stovetop in a pan or under the broiler.
- Once the ingredients are cooked, you must prep them. Preparing salsa de molcajete is a process. Not one you can rush, unless you have years of practice and a big molcajete, lol!! Remove stems, skins and seeds from larger peppers. If you choose to, you can remove seeds from smaller peppers as well, it's up to you. Roughly chop the peppers, onions and tomatoes and keep them separate. This will make it easier to process them in the molcajete.
- Start with the smaller ingredients, like the garlic and serranos. Add a little bit of kosher salt. Using the wider bottom of the tejolote or pestle, push the ingredients against the walls of the molcajete and grind down into the center. This will help break them down. Next, the spices with the larger peppers, add the lime juice. Then process the onions and tomatoes. As you grind them down, transfer them to a bowl. Taste for salt. Place enough salsa to fill molcajete, reserve the rest. Yields about one quart of salsa. Serve with your favorite Mexican meal.
*I was in such a hurry to finish the salsa, I forgot to get a picture of the tomatoes after I ground them down, lol!!