4 large tomatoes, chopped
½ white onion, roughly chopped
3 dried chillies de árbol or pequin chillies
½ garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon table salt
50g coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (if making cooked salsa)

Salsa roja can be served fresh or cooked. I prefer the fresh version, but I recommend eating it on the day it’s made, as the tomatoes are delicate and start to collapse into a liquidy mess after a few hours. Chillies de árbol and pequin chillies are very hot, but you can add more if you prefer an even spicier salsa.

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1.Heat a comal or heavy-based frying pan over high heat.
2.Add the tomato and onion and cook, stirring frequently, for about 7 minutes until slightly charred.
3.Place the dried chillies in a small saucepan.
4.Cover with 250ml water and bring to the boil over high heat.
5.Cook for 5-8 minutes, until the chillies are soft.
6.Set aside to cool for 5 minutes, then remove any stalks.
7.Place the charred onion and tomato in a mortar or blender and add the garlic, chillies and their cooking water and the salt.
8.Pound with a pestle or blend the ingredients to a chunky salsa.
9.Stir through the coriander and transfer to a serving bowl.
10.To cook the salsa, heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
11.Add the salsa and cook, stirring, for 7 minutes or until heated through and slightly reduced.
12.The salsa is ready when the colour changes to a dark orange.
13.Set aside to cool before serving.

Recipes extracted from
Comida Mexicana by Rosa Cienfuegos
RRP $55, published by Smith Street Books,
Photography ©Alicia Taylor
Food Stylist ©Deborah Kaloper
Illustrations by Evi O

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