Salsa Macha

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Salsa Macha

Salsa Macha is a very thick and unusual salsa that comes from the state of Veracruz. Located along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, it has been for centuries, a gateway for waves of immigrants from all over the world into Mexico (like my paternal grandparents).

Veracruz, being such an important channel for exchange and always immersed in flux, has seen some of the most interesting combinations of ingredients, cooking techniques and traditions. Salsa Macha is an example.

It is made by frying dried chipotle chiles (mainly the morita kind) in a generous amount of olive oil, along with garlic cloves. The last two ingredients courtesy of the Spanish conquest, for sure. Then it is seasoned with salt. Some versions add fresh chiles such as serranos or jalapeños into the mix. Many times peanuts are added and sesame seeds too.

This one here, is my preferred version, and I take the liberty of adding a joyous amount of vinegar and some brown sugar or piloncillo to balance it off. This combination pleases me so much, that I spoon it on crusty bread with much joy.

Since it has a lot of olive oil, the chile paste will sink to the bottom after it rests for a few minutes. You can choose to stir it up and eat it well combined, or you can let it settle, and use the flavored oil.

Salsa Macha

p.s. The name is a funny one, because macha, is the femenine of the word macho. So it can translate as being a masculine female salsa. Macha can also translate as brave, so you can take your pick!

Salsa Macha
Print Recipe
3 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 ounces dried chipotle chiles stemmed, seeded torn into pieces, about 1½ to 2 cups
  • 2 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 1/3 cup raw unsalted peanuts or unsalted other nuts you may prefer such as pecans or pine nuts
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
To Prepare
  • Set a large heavy skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the garlic cloves. Stir and fry for about one minute, until they start to gain color. Add the chipotle chiles and peanuts, stir and fry for about two minutes. Add the sesame seeds, stir and continue to fry for about a minute. Remove from heat. Carefully transfer all the contents from the skillet into the jar of a blender. Let cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the salt, sugar and vinegar. Process until smooth, starting with low speed and building up to high speed. Pour into a container, let cool and refrigerate if the salsa will not be used that day.
Ingredients
  • 2 ounces dried chipotle chiles stemmed, seeded torn into pieces, about 1½ to 2 cups
  • 2 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 1/3 cup raw unsalted peanuts or unsalted other nuts you may prefer such as pecans or pine nuts
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
To Prepare
  • Set a large heavy skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the garlic cloves. Stir and fry for about one minute, until they start to gain color. Add the chipotle chiles and peanuts, stir and fry for about two minutes. Add the sesame seeds, stir and continue to fry for about a minute. Remove from heat. Carefully transfer all the contents from the skillet into the jar of a blender. Let cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the salt, sugar and vinegar. Process until smooth, starting with low speed and building up to high speed. Pour into a container, let cool and refrigerate if the salsa will not be used that day.

  • Kim

    This looks so rich and inviting. I bet it packs a nice little punch that will wake up the taste buds and have them begging for more!

    • Pati

      You will LOVE it Kim! Great to see you yesterday in Winchester!

  • Ramon Sandoval

    What about replacing the Chipotle chiles with Chiles de Arbol?

    • Pati

      Yes you can! In fact some people use Chiles de Arbol, but beware of the heat….

  • Celia

    sounds delicious but does it really take 2 and a half cups of oil? just want to be sure because I really want to make this salsa

    • Pati

      Yes it does!

  • Gary Castagnola

    Here in the Los Angeles area, folks that refer to chipotle chilies understand generally they are smoked jalapenos. Your recipe suggests they are a different pepper. I have never seen chipotle except the canned variety, even in several latino markets just a few blocks from where I live. Could they be known also under a different name?

    • Pati

      Exactly Gary, they are dried and smoked jalapeños. There are two kinds of the dried chipotles: mecos and moritas. Either can be turned into a Chipotle in adobo.

  • This is one of the best things I’ve made or eaten all year. Can’t wait to share it with everybody. ¡Gracias, Pati!

    • Pati

      Que gusto, Robert!

  • Celia

    Pati, made salsa macha for Thanksgiving and the whole family loved it. We also love you, your show, your accent and your recipes. I have never had one fail me, on the contrary, your recipes take me back to my childhood. muchisimas gracias

    • Pati

      Gracias a ti!

  • Holy taste explosion of flavor Pati! I got so inspired by your show that I ran out and got the cookbook this Christmas. As apart of my resolutions to do more healthy but satisfying cooking for my family in 2014 I am finding great ideas in your blog and book! Living in Austin, Tx we have many of the ingredients for your style of recipes. I made the salsa Macha with chiles de aboles and fresh roasted peanuts (shelled by my 3 yr old). I have never made latkes before! Wow I just love you used sweet potatoes in these. Thanks to the creama we could handle the heat of the salsa. Wow such a party in the mouth!

    • Pati

      Yey Cara, so happy to hear!! I also get the help from my littlest boy to shell the peanuts, though he eats half as he goes along… Thank you for buying the cookbook: I hope you enjoy cooking from it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

  • Will G

    The name of the sauce is a misnomer. The reason it is “Macha” is because the word “Salsa” is feminine, anything else and it would not be proper Spanish. In other words, “Macha” does not mean feminine, the word is adapted to describe the sauce. Nevertheless, I am going to try this soon it looks really good. I make an “Asian” version of this using dried Chile de Arbol and I use Peanut Oil instead of Olive Oil, much like what you find at Chinese restaurants. Grind the dried Chiles and fresh garlic in a food processor and pour hot oil (Smoking hot) over the mixture. Let it sit a couple of hours and you are done. Thanks

    • Cara

      Are you Mexican? How do you know the nuances of Mexican culture for this word? Pati is a well-educated bi-lingual cultural and political analyst. Are you going by a literal translation? And why peanut oil? Peanut oil is so unhealthy especially when you heat to smoke point. The Omega-6 oils oxidize so easily and become unhealthy and plus it’s probably GMO. High quality EVOO and/or coconut oil instead would be the more healthy fat option. Her recipe is amazing and tried and tested. Why not try it as she wrote it! ???

      • Will G

        Yes I am Mexican, and I have spoken Spanish all of my life. If you would not be so quick to judge comments posted on this blog you would take time to read. I was not offering a way to change Pati’s recipe I was mentioning an “Asian” version of this sauce which I make.. This after all is a discussion, isn’t it? And as for using EVOO, the smoking point of it is way too low. EVOO is ideally used for dressings and such. Pati’s recipe calls for regular olive oil which has a higher smoking point.. Next time read and be informed before you post!

      • Allison K

        Coconut oil has a low smoke point similar to EVOO. Will G is correct–‘regular’ olive oil or peanut oil are better choices as their smoke points are a full 100 degrees higher.

        Here is a site with a great chart for reference:
        http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/05/cooking-fats-101-whats-a-smoke-point-and-why-does-it-matter.html

  • Raquel

    How hot is this salsa on a scale from 1-10?

    • Pati

      About a 4…

  • I made this with raw sunflower seed kernels I toasted, as I am allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. Superb! I thought I might share in case others have similar allergies. 🙂

    • Pati

      Yes! Thank you for sharing.

  • Rebeca Cabanillas

    Dear pati’s Mexican table I began to watch you’re show recently on create tv . But as a home cook myself I felt that each of the recipes that were being presented were simple and that anyone can put it together. I was hoping to see more changeling recipes something that would wow all the viewers who enjoyed watching this show .I understand that every chef has their own style. I would like to challenge you to take Mexican cuisine to a whole different level surprise us with something different.

    Thank you
    Rebeca Cabanillas

    • Pati

      Thank you for the challenge Rebeca: I am up for it, wait for Season 4!

      • yolanda kyle

        Mexican coooking is nice, simple, yet elegant and delicious.

  • Dear Pati,
    I love your show so much. You make Mexican cooking sound so simple and fun. Your recipes are fantastic.
    The first time I watched your show, I had difficulty understanding your accent, but I got used to it quickly. Mike needs to have more patience, or is he just a hostile, intolerant person? Anyway, I like you, your show, and your wonderful recipes.

    Carmell Waters

    • Pati

      Carmell,
      Thank you so much for your kind message, and thank you so much for having the patience to get used to my accent! Thanks so much for taking the time to write and I hope you enjoy all my episodes: more new coming your way!

  • Pati, your recipes take me back to my mom’s home cooking, and I am enjoying the visit. Thank you so much for the pride you show in our Mexican heritage and in our most flavorful dishes. Love your show!!

    • Pati

      Thank you, Connie!

  • Steve Bolstad

    Pati,

    I love your speech, your show and your food! You are one of my favorite PBS shows to watch and much more genuine than anything on Food Network! Thank you for offering these experiences!

    Steve Bolstad

    • Pati

      Steve,
      Thank you so very much for your kind words. They mean a lot!

  • Jennifer

    Pati, your great and so is your show. I was disgusted at some of the comments. People will always have something negative to say and 90percent don’t have the courage, talent or knowledge to do what you do.so kudos to you!!!!
    Love ya Pati

    • Pati

      Thank you, Jennifer!

  • Pati,

    When you say to use 1 1/2 to 2 cups of dried chipotle chiles, how do you measure them? Do you tear them up to make 2 cups? Could you use Ancho chilis?

    • Pati

      Hola Barb, Thanks for you message! If you are measuring the dried chipotle chiles in cups then, yes, I would tear them up and then measure. You may try it with ancho chiles, but you will get a very different flavor with the anchos.

  • Guillermo

    Hola Pati hace unos dias que veo tu programa y me parece estupendo… Gracias por tus recetas.

    • Pati

      Me da mucho gusto que te guste, Guillermo, gracias por verlo.

  • Roxana

    Pati,
    I just finished making the salsa macha. Wonderful. I was afraid that it would not taste good, but
    I was pleasantly surprised and I love it. I hope my guests for tonight dinner enjoy it too. Thank you very much and I will continue to use your recipes. I bought one of your cookbooks and I proudly
    display it in my kitchen.
    Roxana

    • Pati

      Hi Roxana, I hope your guests enjoy it, too! Thank you for trying the recipe and THANK YOU for getting my cookbook!!

  • karen

    Ola patii…me guzta mucho tu programa me guzto tu zalsa veracruzana la voi a preparar thank u kisses..

    • Pati

      Gracias!

  • hayde

    Hola Pati me encanta tu show!
    tengo una pregunta si no encuentro dry chipotle puedo usar de lata?

    • Pati

      Hola! La salsa macha en verdad se hace con chiles secos, no en adobo. Si no encuentras Chipotles secos, busca Chile de árbol o Chile ancho… Te va a encantar. Saludos!

  • Tomas

    Superb..used a combo of Guajillo’s and 5 or 6 whole arbol’s and was just perfect heat..about a gringo “5”. Also substituted a bit of lime juice for the some of the vinegar and it added a fresh touch.

    • Pati

      Tomas, So happy you tried this salsa!

  • Made the salsa and loved it. Served it at open h
    ouse this summer and the crowd loved it !!! Making a batch tonight. Also, how long can you store it?

    • Pati

      For a VERY LONG TIME… Months, really. Keep it in the fridge.

  • Regina L.

    Wow! I mean wow! I just made your salsa macha recipe for my staff. It is absolutely delicous. We fried fresh chips, and also made guacamole. We piled the guacamole and topped it off with a mound of salsa on our plates. Everyone is loving it! Thank you Pati for the great recipes. Haven’t found one yet that wasn’t a hit!

    • Pati

      Hola Regina, Thank you for making it! I’m sooo happy everyone enjoyed!!

  • Pati,

    Great looking recipe. What are some of the ways you would use this salsa? Since it is from Veracruz, are there any fish recipes you could recommend? Thanks for sharing–

    • Pati

      Hola Eric, I like it on fish tacos, made with a white fish like cod, haddock, or tilapia.

  • Kimberly Dawn

    Hi, Pati. You are a beautiful cook inside and out, putting fun in the kitchen like it should be. I like watching your show and learning new things to cook for my family as well as all the interesting things about Mexico. In this salsa recipe, would it be totally different to use fresh chilis from the garden or do you need to dry them first? I have recently discovered how easy and wonderful to make an orange-red chili sauce (like a sriracha) and I thought I would try this salsa.
    Today your shrimp ceviche cocktail had me drooling. : )
    Blessings to you and yours.

    • Pati

      Hola Kimberly, So happy to hear you enjoy the show – thank you for watching! The chipotle chiles are dried and smoked jalapenos, so no fresh chile that really compares in flavor. I do have many other salsas that would work great with fresh chiles from the garden, such as…
      Salsa Verde: https://patijinich.com/2009/04/cooked_salsa_verde/
      Habanero Salsa: https://patijinich.com/2010/01/spicy_habanero_salsa/

      • Kimberly Dawn

        Oh, ok. I see what you mean with the smoky flavor. I look forward to trying salsa verde and habanero salsa (taking the advice on removing seeds, ha). Love all the cilantro you cook with. It’s an addictive flavor and healthy.

  • Adriana

    How do stem the dry Chile’s?

    • Pati

      Just snap the stem off, super easy.

  • Pingback: White Large Limas with Salsa Macha | Rancho Gordo: Experiments in my New World Kitchen and Garden()

  • Victoria

    Have you ever added napoles to this recipe? or to any salsa recipe?

    • Pati

      You can add ANY salsa to no pales!

  • gloria

    This is a delicious salsa! I decided it would taste good with a pan-fried Tilapia filet topped with the Salsa Macha. What do you think, Pati? All I can say is that it blew my taste buds away with so many delightful flavors and some heat! Definitely a keeper!! I also will try this Salsa Macha with a pork loin or a turkey breast, both stuffed and rolled up. I can already tell they would taste fabulous!

    • Pati

      I think that is a great idea, Gloria! Some warm corn tortillas on the side and you can also tuck the fish into some tacos…

  • Cecilia

    I new to this salsa, do you serve on top of food, or can you have it as a dip. sounds delicious.