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Chile Rojo Salsa
© Eric Wolfinger

Chile Rojo Salsa

  • ACTIVE: 15 MIN
  • SERVINGS: makes about 2 1/2 cups

Anna Zepaltas reserves powerful, complex-tasting red salsas for beef, pork, lamb or hearty mushroom tamales.


  1. 4 dried pasilla chiles (1 1/2 ounces), stemmed and seeded (see Note)
  2. 2 dried guajillo chiles (1/2 ounce), stemmed and seeded (see Note)
  3. 1/4 cup golden raisins
  4. 3 cups boiling water
  5. 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  6. 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  7. 1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
  8. 1 medium onion, quartered
  9. 1 garlic clove, smashed
  10. 1/2 cup water
  11. 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  12. Salt
  1. In a large heatproof bowl, cover the dried chiles and raisins with the boiling water; set a plate on top to submerge the chiles. Let stand until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain the chiles and raisins and transfer to a blender; reserve 1/4 cup of the soaking liquid.
  2. In a small skillet, toast the sesame seeds and cumin over moderately high heat until fragrant and golden, shaking the pan, about 2 minutes. Transfer the seeds to the blender. Add the tomato, onion, garlic, lime juice, 1/4 cup of reserved soaking liquid and 1/2 cup of water and puree until smooth. Strain the salsa through a fine sieve, pressing hard on the solids. Season the salsa with salt.
Make Ahead

The salsa can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.


Dried pasilla and guajillo chiles are available at Latin American markets, specialty food stores and some supermarkets.