In Mexico, bottled hot sauce is used everyday to spice up street fare such as potato chips, fruit cocktails, popcorn, and other fried foods sold as snacks in plastic bags. It is also used in some seafood cocktail preparations and alcoholic drinks.
Even though nowadays there are many bottled salsas on the market, some street vendors still make their own salsa, and they know their customers and how spicy and flavorful they like their salsa. Some street vendors are very proud of their salsa creations and take it as something that distinguishes the products they sell from others.
In my case, I like to make my own sauce to recreate the flavors of the snacks and late-night street food offered in my hometown. It is a very common sauce offered as a topping at the stands that sell a type of spicy fritters called “churritos” (not to be confused with “churros”). It is also used for subs or hard-roll sandwiches.
You can use this sauce immediately, although the flavors will be better about two weeks later. This sauce can last stored in your refrigerator about 6 months. Enjoy!
- 20 Arbol peppers (About 10 grams), seeds removed*
- 3 Guajillo peppers (About 15 grams), deveined and seeds removed
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 cups of water
- ⅓ cup white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground Cumin
- ½ teaspoon thyme*
- ½ teaspoon marjoram
- 1 clove
- 6 peppercorns
- Salt to taste
- *You can adjust the spiciness of the sauce according to your personal taste; Arbol peppers are hot, while guajillo peppers are very mild.
- ** If you don’t have the thyme and marjoram, you can still have a great salsa by just using the cumin and oregano.
- Place the arbol peppers, guajillo peppers, and garlic in a saucepan with the water. Turn the heat to high, and once the water starts boiling, turn the heat down and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until peppers are very soft. Due to the fumes, the peppers will give off, make sure your windows are open or turn on the exhaust fan.
- Remove saucepan from heat and allow to drop to room temperature. Once it has cooled, place the peppers, garlic, spices, dried herbs, vinegar, and one cup of the cooking water into a blender. Puree until you have a very fine texture.
- Pour this mixture into a glass container using a strainer, to remove any pieces of pepper skins left.
- Pour the mixture into the saucepan again, turn to medium-high heat, and gently simmer for about 5 minutes. This is just enough time to reduce the salsa to the desired consistency and allow the spices’ flavors to blend. Again, don’t forget to have the windows open and/or the kitchen exhaust fan on.
- Allow to cool. Pour the sauce into a sterilized bottle and secure with an airtight cap or lid.