Salsa Oaxaqueña

Salsa Oaxaqueña

This intense salsa is made from smoked pasilla chilis.  The common pasilla is the dried form of the fresh chilaca chile.  In Oaxaca, pasillas are sometimes dried from the pasilla mixe chile, and almost always heavily smoked.  The resulting flavor is smokier and deeper than common pasillas. 
Oaxacan pasilla salsas often call for tomatillos, but in this case, we're using red sauce tomatoes, amplifying the umami, smokey character of the chiles.  


  • 1 lb sauce tomatoes, such as Romas, halved
  • 2-4 Pasilla de Oaxaca chiles (dried, smoked chilaca chiles)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lime
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Set over rack to uppermost position and preheat broiler on high
  2. Remove the stems and seeds from dried chiles.  Cover with water in a small pan and bring to a boil.  Once the water is boiling, remove the pan from the heat.  Cover with a lid and let the chiles soften for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place the tomatoes and onion pieces on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or a thin coat of oil.  Place the sheet under the broiler and allow everything to cook until nicely charred, about 10 minutes.  Once well darkened, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. 
  4. Remove the stems from the chiles, if needed.  Transfer the roasted tomatoes, onions, drained, rehydrated chiles, and the minced garlic to a food processor. Blend into a coarse purée.
  5. Transfer your salsa into a serving bowl. Season with the juice of the lime and salt to taste.  
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