Chile-Lime Sauce (Chile-Limón)

In the beautiful area around Lake Catemaco, chile-limón is one of the most popular sauces for seafood. It is served with freshwater and saltwater fish as well as with shrimp and langoustines. At its simplest, the sauce consists of jalapeños pounded with salt and lime juice in a mortar. Some people add tomatillos and cilantro. Zarela Martinez loves every version! Make it as complex or basic as you like; if you leave out the tomatillos and cilantro, the yield will be cut in half.Plus: More Seafood Recipes and Tips

2 cups


  • 1/2 pound tomatillos, husks removed

  • Salt

  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice

  • 1/2 small onion, coarsely chopped

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 4 jalapeños, seeded and coarsely chopped

  • 4 cilantro sprigs

  • 3 garlic cloves


  1. In a small saucepan, sprinkle the tomatillos with a pinch of salt. Cover with water, bring to a boil and cook just until the tomatillos change color, about 5 minutes. Drain and let cool. Transfer the tomatillos to a blender, add the remaining ingredients and puree.

Make Ahead

The sauce can be refrigerated overnight.

Serve With

Snapper in Chile-Lime Sauce (Pescado en Chile-Limón).

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