Classic Mexican Salsa

No overview of salsa can be complete without the classic cooked tomato salsa.

Tomatoes in Mexico come in two major varieties: xitomates, the red fruit we’re familiar with in Europe, and tomate or the smaller tomatillos, usually green but also orange and even purple and related to the cape gooseberry or physallis.

The same procedure makes red xitomate or a green tomatillo salsa.

The tomatoes are poached or chargrilled on a dry skillet along with fresh chillies. These are then pounded and added to finely chopped raw onion, garlic and green herbs such as coriander, parsley or epazote.

The recipe below uses a blender or food processor for quick results.

The traditional Aztec blender is the stone molcajete which is used to both prepare and serve the salsa

mexican tomato and chilli salsa

Spicy Tomato Salsa

Prep Time 8 mins
Cook Time 7 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course salsa, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Caribbean, Latin American, Mexican


  • 6 medium tomatoes
  • 1-3 fresh jalapeno or serrano chillies
  • half a white onion
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • small bunch of fresh coriander
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • place the tomatoes and chillies in a pan with enough water to cover. Bring to the boil and poach gently for 7-10 minutes
  • Finely chop the onion, garlic and coriander
  • remove the tomatoes and chillies from the pan and keep back the simerring liquid.
  • Skin the the tomatoes and place them with the chillies into  blender or food processor. Blend briefly, then add the remaining ingredients and blend some more to achieve a coarse or smooth salsa depending on yor taste. You can thin your salsa with a little of the simmering liquid. Finally season to taste
  • Alternatively use a molcajete to create a chunkier texture.






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