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Roasted Tomato and Arbol Chile Salsa

Total time 25 mins

Makes 1 1/2 cups (serving size: 2 tbsp.)

Lupe Romero Vidal and her best friend, Chabela Cortés García, live in a 300-year-old hacienda in the countryside of Hidalgo, Mexico. They make this spicy red salsa in a deep lava-stone molcajete (mortar).


  • 9 or 10 dried arbol chiles
  • 2 peeled garlic cloves
  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt

Nutrition Information

  • calories 5.3
  • caloriesfromfat 7.4 %
  • protein 0.2 g
  • fat 0.0 g
  • satfat 0.0 g
  • carbohydrate 1 g
  • fiber 0.5 g
  • sodium 128 mg
  • cholesterol 0.0 mg

How to Make It

  1. Heat a cast-iron skillet over low heat. Add chiles and garlic. Toast, turning often, until chiles are a shade darker and garlic is lightly toasted, about 4 minutes. Transfer both to a bowl.

  2. Increase heat to high. Add tomatoes and toast, turning occasionally, until blackened on several sides, about 10 minutes, transferring to a bowl as done.

  3. To make the salsa in a mortar, put toasted garlic and salt in a deep mortar (molcajete) and pound to a coarse paste, pushing down with the pestle and then rocking it back and forth a few times before pounding again. Add toasted chiles and coarsely crush, then pound in toasted tomatoes one at a time. Add salt to taste. To make in a blender, add all ingredients at once and pulse until coarsely puréed.

Cook's Notes

Nutritional analysis is per serving with salt.