Authentic Mexican Salsa Recipe: Salsa Roja de Molcajete (Handmade Mexican Red Salsa)

This is a classic version of the authentic Mexican salsa recipe known as salsa roja de molcajete. For the gringos, this is Mexican red salsa you make by using a molcajete (aka: a pestle and mortar.) You can prepare this salsa using a modern blender, but using the molcajete yields a different flavor that many seasoned authentic Mexican recipe lovers prefer, and that has a bit more texture. So you can make this same salsa these two different ways, and each method of preparation results in a different flavor of salsa roja! Here’s how to make this super popular salsa using a molcajete:

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients for this Mexican salsa recipe:authentic Mexican salsa recipe ingredients for this salsa roja made using the molcajete

5 chiles serranos
5 ripe tomatoes
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon salt

Cooking Directions for molcajete salsa roja:

First off, you can see how this salsa is made by watching this great little video on YouTube. Bonus points if you understand spanish!…

Using a comal or a flat iron pan, grill the chiles and the tomatoes for about 8 minutes or until they are tender. Make sure you flip them around once in a while so they don’t burn. When done, peel the tomatoes removing the black skin

In a molcajete, mash the garlic and chiles. Once those are fully mashed, add the tomatoes and smash them thoroughly, add salt, and stir and mix it all together. Serve it right in the molcajete or in a salsera (a salsa bowl).

cooked salsa roja in the molcajete bowl

This Mexican salsa recipe is super simple to make and salsa roja is served all over the pace in Mexico. Almost every single taco stand you visit will serve some variation of this red salsa!

As for recommendations on other authentic Mexican recipes to pair this Mexican salsa recipe with, salsa roja always goes great with carne asada tacos, tacos de carnitas, fajitas, black beans molletes, and really a pile of other traditional Mexican dishes… seriously, there are too many to list here! But this salsa roja is great with any Mexican quesadilla or any meat taco where you want to add some delicious extra flavor!

One thing to keep in mind: if you can make this salsa and then let it sit for upwards of a day, it’s going to taste better than if you devour it straight after making it. The extra time allows for the ingredients to interact with each other for a while and marinate and really bring out the flavors a lot better, so if you’re going to follow this authentic Mexican salsa roja recipe to the letter, you’ll let the salsa sit for at least a few hours before serving it. So try it out–I think you’ll love it!–and check back here again very soon for the next addition to the authentic Mexican recipes blog! -Carlos

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