De árobl salsa roja

illustration of three red chilli peppers

This is the salsa we make at home when we want something tasty that goes with loads of things. It’s great on eggs, steamed potatoes or with tortilla chips. You can make it as hot or as mild as you want by adjusting the amount of chilli in it – using 5 grams of dried de árbol chillies makes a medium-hot salsa (well, it’s medium-hot to me anyway!). The secret is to cook it in a small pan with a tight-fitting lid; trust me on that.

Serves 4–6

2 tsp olive oil
450g medium-sized ripe vine tomatoes
5g dried de árbol chillies
2 spring onions, ends trimmed
1 large garlic clove, peeled and left whole
1 vegetable stock cube
1 small bunch of fresh coriander
flaky sea salt, to taste


Heat the oil in a small non-stick frying pan (one with a tight-fitting lid) over a high heat. Add the tomatoes, chillies, spring onions and garlic. You might need to cut the spring onions in half so that they fit in the pan, but everything else goes in whole. As soon as it starts to sizzle, cover the pan with its lid and lower the heat to medium.

Set a timer for 20 minutes and resist the temptation to lift the lid during this time. This is super important, as the condensation that builds up inside the pan goes into the lid and then drops back into the tomatoes, showering them with moisture and giving your salsa the right consistency.

Once the timer goes, your tomatoes should have burst a little and be fully cooked. Transfer the contents of the pan, including every bit of juice and oil, into a blender or food processor. Add the stock cube and the coriander (stems and all) and blend everything together until you have a smooth, creamy salsa. Check for seasoning and adjust as necessary. I never add salt to this salsa until I taste it first, as some stock cubes can be quite salty.

This salsa lasts for a week in the fridge, covered. I don’t particularly like freezing tomato-based salsas, as the texture is never right afterwards, so if you have leftovers, think of creative ways to use it in your meals. It’s so good, you won’t have a problem!

From Blasta Books 1: TACOS by Lily Ramirez-Foran

Illustration by Nicky Hooper

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