Salsa de Molcajete

Salsa De Molcajete


Roasted tomatoes and jalapeño peppers add incredible flavor to this simple Mexican salsa.
  • Serves: Makes 1 1/2 cups
  • Active Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Views: 44,625
  • Success Rating: 99% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Making the Salsa

• 6 medium tomatoes (or tomatillos)
• 1 jalapeño
• 1 to 2 cloves fresh garlic
• 1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)


Preheat a cast-iron skillet over high heat until it starts to smoke. Roast the tomatoes and jalapeño in the dry skillet until charred, turning occasionally until most sides are blackened. Place into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam and loosen the skins.

Using a mortar and pestle, grind the peeled garlic and the salt until it forms a paste.

Once the jalapeño is cool enough to handle, peel the skin off and remove the stem. Peel the tomatoes. The skins can be left in for added color and flavor, but some find them hard to digest. Roughly mash the jalapeño with the garlic. Add the tomatoes and pound again, keeping the salsa somewhat chunky. Taste the salsa for seasoning and serve.

Chef's Notes

Tailor this recipe to your liking, by simply adding more or less of each ingredient.


  • Tom W
    Tom W
    It would have been sweet if y'all could have used a real molcajete. They say that when one is used, they become seasoned to what you've prepared in it. Is this true? If so, it seems like it could add another layer of flavor to the salsa based on what you had previously prepared in it.
  • Joe T
    Joe T
    Definition from Wikipedia: For those who didn't know, a molcajete is a stone tool, the traditional Mexican version of the mortar and pestle tool, similar to the south american batan (stone) used for grinding various food products. It looks like this: (cut and paste into browser). Anyone used one that can aswer Tom's question?
  • Divina C
    Divina C
    I am not Mexican but I agree with Tom. I can compare Molcajete with a Chinese tea pot, especially sand pottery ones. You only wash them with warm water after each use since you will want the molcajete to absorb only the flavors you like, not dishwashing liquid. It's the same thing with Chinese tea pots. It's a bad technique to wash them with dishwashing liquid, washing tables or even bleach, as the tea essence in the pot can be damaged.
  • Gena G
    Gena G
    I leave the skin on and add a table spoon of white vinegar. I will tray your way though! Eugenia
  • Sergio iván G
    Sergio iván G
    I have made this salsa so many time in many ways. As a Mexican immigrant to Canada, i have found my self in the necessity to improvise new ways to make things with different tools. I don't have a Molcajete, or a mortar and pestle, but i have a blender which i use all the time to make my salsas. When i make the Molcajete style salsa i can still accomplish the same flavors in the blender but not the texture or consistency, which matters only in certain occasions and dishes. If i feel like having the same (or near the same) chunkiness of molcajete, i take a bottle of beer and smash the ingredients in a glass bowl, or I do the same with a fork. Of all the time i had have Molcajete salsa made whit real and different Molcajetes, the only difference in flavors come form the way and time the ingredients are roasted, the quantity of garlic or salt, or the amount of skin of the tomatoes and chile, never from the molcajete. To live in Canada and not have the molcajete did not stopped me from making this salsa and have a gentle but sinful party in my mouth. I think the only real difference is in our imagination. I miss making tortillas in a huge "Comal", i miss watching Mexican soap operas, I miss the smell and flavors of the "Mercado Juarez", I miss watching Rambo with Spanish subtitles, I miss so much so many flavors and food from Mexico that i had to learn another way, a different way of reaching the same flavours with different tools, and those, the tools(and what they mean for us) should not stop anybody or make any difference if we cook to remind ourselves the places and times we want. With Molcajete or not, the salsa will find the way to that place in mi mind: Sneaking "Tacos de Huevo" (hegg tacos) in to the film theater to watch Rambo II. Wile everybody is eating Popcorn and hot dogs, i am filling my tacos with "salsita de molcajete" and taking a big bite, wile Rambo, as always, is jumping away from a huge fire wall. By the way, i think Rambo would use his elbow and a monkey skull to make his molcajete salsa, with tree or four chiles, not one. And Rambo would not care neither about my English grammar, why should you?
  • Elarhy D
    Elarhy D
    Is true that a molcajete tend to keep flavors, if you do a salsa and then a guacamole the last one is gonna end up spicy. That is why in mexico molcajetes are "cured", that is to be a while working with rice or dough so the holes in the stone do not acumulate to many food or water, and is you inted to use it several times in one day to keep watch of what was prepared before. And about the salsa itself i do it with dry aji, coriander , onions, "chile de arbol" or change the tomatoes for green tomatoes.
  • Sean B
    Sean B
    This salsa is amazing! I left the charred skins of the tomatoes on and it gave the salsa a very fire roasted flavor. Being from the southwest I also left all the seeds in the jalapeño because I prefer my food a little spicier. Excellent recipe, and a definite addition to my recipe collection.
  • Jose P
    Jose P
    Well, Even tough I don’t have experience working with a Molcajete, I KNOW there is a big difference when using it or not. Now a second factor for achieving the best salsa is by Grilling the ingredients in Mezquite Charcoal. ( Now fortunately for me, I am Mexican and Live in Mexico :D So I have both a Molcajete in my nearest store for about 12-16 USD and Mezquite available. Now in my shopping list. Sonora ( A NorthWest State in Mexico) is characterized for regularly using grills and charcoal for The Traditional “Carnes Asadas” (Grilled Meat) and if you add the “Salsa Tatemada” wich is a grilled Molcajete Salsa, and of course making your tacos with Homemade Flour Tortillas (Southern Mexican states prefer Corn Tortillas), you'll enjoy a great Sunday with the Family and Friends. Do recommend to try a Molcajete…and grill if possible.
  • Jeremy C
    Jeremy C
    i bet your fingers were burning under the nails later that night, i dread breaking jalapeños and handling spicy peppers, is their anyway to prevent this besides latex gloves?
  • Dara M
    Dara M
    This is going to change the way that I make salsa forever! I am far from being a salsa afficianado, but this looks great.
  • Swati B
    Swati B
    I was trying to put this video up on my blogger blog (with full credit to of course) but I kept getting an html error saying that a tag within a tag is not allowed and so the message cannot be embedded. It's such a shame because my friends have been asking for a superb salsa recipe and I have been trying to get more of them to join Rouxbe so I decided to share this recipe.
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    You can embed the preview and that should work watch the full recipe I think they would have to click through to Rouxbe. Thanks for spreading the word :-)
  • Swati B
    Swati B
    THe following part comes highlighted and says that the "EMBED" tag is not enclosed.
  • Alberto M
    Alberto M
    I´m mexican and my mom just uses 6 or 7 chiles and 3 or 4 tomatoes, if you like it hard and extreme follow the really mexican style. (-:
  • Jennifer K
    Jennifer K
    Where I live I have never spotted a cast iron pan. Would it work to oven roast the tomatoes and jalapenos or broil them?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Yes you can Jennifer. I have broiled them in the past. Cheers!
  • Bryan L
    Bryan L
    I have the great and good fortune (blessing really) to be married to an extraordinary woman of Mexican/Native American descent; she has instructed me in the "proper" way of curing the Molcajete. I say "proper" because there are as many variations (I have discovered) in the methods as there are states or regions in Mexico - and there are indeed many. It is important to note also that a Molcajete is not a mortar and pestle per se; it is unique in that it is ONLY made from lava rock and is rustic to the extreme. I have a number of mortar and pestle made of various materials (ceramic, fine sandstone, metal) but only one molcajete - and it looks like it was made by Fred Flintstone. Because it is SO rustic, it takes a bit of preparation prior to first use. 1. Place about a quarter cup of coarse salt in the bowl of the mocajete and grind into the coarse surface until very fine. Brush out and repeat three or four times being sure to grind the entire inner surface. 2. Place about a quarter cup of whole dried corn in the bottom (I can get this at my local Mexican market - if you can't find it locally you might just try popcorn, but I haven't actually done that). 3. Using the Tejolote (pestle) grind the corn into the bowl, being sure to get the sides as well as the bottom. The corn should take on the consistency of flour between changes, so this is going to take some time. Repeat this three or four times. 4. As you are grinding away the salt and then the corn, the Tejolote will also begin to take on the unique shape of your Molcajete. You will see that the grinding has become a part of the stone as well as the action of your hand - the result is a tool unique to you. 5. This isn't required, but it's what I do. After I have swept out the salt and corn sufficiently, I take a few tablespoons of toasted cumin seed and a few large cloves of garlic and grind it well into the stone. I then rinse the Molcajete well with cool water and set to completely dry. There is also a lot concerning the daily use of the Molcajete, but I've rambled on enough at this point. Anyone who has questions, I'd be happy to respond.
  • Faith B
    Faith B
    The garlic and salt as a base set the flavor for me. I like the juiciness of the tomatoes. I did not add any more salt because it seemed like the garlic really enhanced the taste of the salt. I like the salsa. Now I want to obtain a real Molcajete!

Leave A Comment

Please login or join the Rouxbe community to leave a comment.