Pepita-Sesame Salsa Macha

Classic salsa macha is a combination of dried chiles, garlic, and peanuts. For her version, des Jardins pairs sweet guajillo chiles with sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds, giving this salsa a subtle nuttiness and crunchy texture. Serve this versatile condiment with tortilla chips, or spooned over quesadillas or the Achiote-Marinated Quail with Grilled Peaches.

Pepita Sesame Salsa Macha Recipe
Photo: Aubrie Pick
Total Time:
15 mins
8 to 10


  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds 

  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

  • 1 cup neutral oil (such as canola, grapeseed, or pure olive oil), divided

  • 10 medium-size dried guajillo chiles (about 1 1/4 ounces), stemmed and seeded

  • 4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced (about 2 1/2 tablespoons)

  • 3/4 cup raw pepitas (about 4 1/8 ounces)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt


  1. Combine white and black sesame seeds in a large skillet. Cook over medium-low, stirring often, until fragrant and lightly toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from skillet, and set aside.

  2. Heat 1/2 cup oil in skillet over medium until hot. Fry chiles in 2 batches, turning often and watching carefully to avoid burning, until just starting to crisp in spots but not blackened, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer chiles to a medium bowl. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, 30 seconds to 1 minute and 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer garlic to bowl with chiles.

  3. Add pepitas to skillet. Cook over medium-low, stirring often, until mostly golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and discard cooking oil.

  4. Process chiles, garlic, 1/2 cup pepitas, and remaining 1/2 cup oil in a blender until mixture forms a coarse paste, about 20 seconds, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Add remaining 1/4 cup pepitas, and pulse until coarsely broken, 5 to 8 times. Stir in toasted sesame seeds and salt.

Make Ahead

Salsa can be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

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