Making My First Salsa Molcajeteada

After a lot of hard and probably excessive work on my part to cure my molcajete, today was finally the day to try to make a salsa in it. I opted for salsa verde because it’s my favourite and the ingredients are inexpensive enough that if my curing failed and the salsa turned out gritty, then it wouldn’t be a huge waste.

First up was to roast the veggies I was going to use. I don’t know if I ever mentioned this, but I had the propane tank regulator changed a few months ago and it completely changed my life. My range went from barely adequate to incredible as it now gets up to proper temperature! So I can use the comal that came with the range to generate the Maillard reaction in a range of delectable things. You can see here tomatillos, a Serrano pepper (the smaller one), a jalapeño (top right), and half of a white onion.

Once everything was beautifully charred and softened, I transferred the tomatillos to the molcajete, but I did some additional prep on the chiles and onion to make them easier to salsify, cutting them into chunks. I also still have some tastebuds left, so I removed the seeds and white pith from the chiles, knowing that I was going to get plenty of heat just from the tasty flesh. You can see some cilantro peeking through, and there’s also garlic at the bottom. I added salt, the juice of half of a large lime, and a little water. I was just going off various salsas I’d seen made and ingredients on the bottle of my favourite brand (Herdez), not following any particular recipe.

I started to grind. It was work!

The sauce started to liquify. I wanted it a little chunky, so this was about perfect. I ground maybe a minute more, but you could still pick out all the ingredients.

Taste test was astounding — no grit and no seasoning adjustment needed! But it was hot — just at my limit of tolerance for food coming out of my own kitchen!

After I devoured some of the sauce with a packet of Salma crackers (they taste almost exactly like corn chips, but are healthy!), I shredded a pork chop onto my hot comal and added some Chihuahua cheese until both were browned and caramelised. A wheat tortilla heated up on the other side. I piled my hot pork and cheese onto the tortilla, added a generous portion of my salsa verde, and topped the whole lot with a dollop of sour cream. Delicious!

6 thoughts on “Making My First Salsa Molcajeteada

    • I ground tons of rice and salt into it until there was no more stone dust (the rice stayed white), rinsed and brushed well between grinds, and also finished with a grind of garlic and chile pepper that I let sit for several hours. Final rinse, and then ready to test! I probably did two more rice grinds than I really need to, but I’d heard so many horror stories of gritty first attempts at making salsa that I wanted to be sure the molcajete was ready.

      Where did you get yours? There is such a black market for fake molcajetes that are not food safe that I was terrified of going shopping. Even Mexicans get taken, it’s that bad/common. So I was thrilled to get mine as a gift from someone who got it from an area where molcajetes are made. I finally figured out why my friend’s friend was giving them away and why I could trust it was real — it’s obviously hand-carved. The evidence for that is it’s not perfect and one of the legs is slightly off from where it should be, meaning that unless I set the molcajete just so on the counter, it tips over when I start grinding. I love that it has a little quirk. 🙂

      • OH oh. I can’t remember where or when I got it. Probably on one of our first trips down, maybe near Mazatlan. It may be fake. I probably did not spend very much on it.

        • If you can ever find it again, please send me a picture. Very curious. 🙂 I’m told that one like mine, which is a large model (way bigger than I would have bought had I shopped) goes for about 600-1,000 pesos, depending on the type of stone and where you’re buying it. Mine is grey rather than black, which made me think at first that it was fake, but there are grey ones; they’re just rarer. So I don’t know if that brings the price up or down. Anyway, it’s fabulous and I’m so lucky! 🙂

  1. There is no way I spent 1000 pesos or anything near that. Maybe closer to 200. I bought two, one for Brooks as well. I just took it down and looked at it a little more critically. It is black or maybe a really dark grey but scratch marks are white. Maybe where the paint has scraped off exposing concrete? You have turned me into a Doubting Thomas. I will email photos

    • The little ones would go for maybe 200-400. And you would get colour variation with real stone. Best way to know for sure is if you manage to cure it. If even after several rice grinds you still have grit, then you have a fake. Hard to tell from a photo, but some other clues are if it looks too perfect, as that would indicate it was moulded rather than carved. My issue with the legs on mine was the best proof that I had the real thing. Another is if you start to grind it when doing the first cures and you get a smell like sulphur after rinsing. Mine actually smells like wet pavement, which I learned is primarily made of basalt… which is what real molcajetes are made of. I’m getting curious now! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *