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.
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!
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- 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
- 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.