Salsa Macha Two Ways

© 2012

Whoa! Big, bold flavors. Meats broiled to perfection. Last night’s dinner was sooo good Baby Lady is still talking about it today. According to Baby Lady there are some dishes you fix that will stay with you for a long time and this is one of them. If you liked the post on Tacos de Pescado al Mojo de Ajo (Fish Tacos with Garlic Salsa), then you will love this recipe.

Today’s post is about a salsa, Salsa Macha (“Macha” being the female form of the adjective “macho.”). Now you may ask, what is salsa macha. Salsa macha originated in Veracruz, Mexico. Traditionally, it is made with comapeño chiles, a fiery hot, small, orange chile that is unavailable outside of the region. Comapeños are so rare, that even within Mexico, they are virtually unknown to people outside the central highlands of Veracruz. They are hand picked in the wild by marchantas who sell them every weekend at the local mercados in a couple of small towns. Because they are so difficult to find, chile de arbol and chile tepin are substituted in their stead. Prepared traditionally, however, for my palate, this is just too hot. So, we took a page from Baja and toned it down some while adding some more flavor. While you don’t get the intensity level from the perfection of clean heat in the traditional salsa macha, you get a salsa that will knock your socks off! You get the flavor of the garlic coupled with the spicy fruitiness of the chiles and the flavor of the nuts. It still has a considerable amount of heat and is not for the feint of heart. Yet, if you want more heat, add more chile de arbol.

Salsa macha also varies in texture from a dry and chunky topping to be sprinkled on foods to a more fluid version that can include nuts and hefty amounts of oil similar to an Asian chile oil. Our version is more liquid without chunks of nuts and chile. It can be served as an accompaniment for everything from roasted/grilled meats to toasted bread to eggs. It’s incredibly versatile which is why I had mine with broiled lamb loin chops while Baby Lady had hers with a pork chop. The flavors were simply stellar. We also had it for breakfast this morning in a breakfast egg, bacon and onion taco that was incredible but that is a post for another day. Today is all about salsa macha with broiled meat 2 ways.


  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
  • 2 Tbsp blanched hazelnuts
  • 2 Tbsp blanched Marcona almonds
  • 1 Tbsp walnut pieces
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and cut into small pieces
  • 2 Pasilla Negro chiles, stemmed, seeded and cut into small pieces
  • 4 chipotle chiles, stemmed and cut into small pieces
  • 6 chile arbol, stemmed and cut into pieces
  • 1 Tbsp cider vinegar mixed with 1 tsp of salt to dissolve sea salt
  • 2 cups olive oil


Pour 2 cups of olive oil into a 2 qt pot. Add the nuts, garlic and sesame seed.

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Heat over medium-high heat until the garlic and sesame seeds turn golden colored, roughly 5 – 7 minutes.

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Once sesame seeds and garlic turn golden, remove from the heat and add the chiles, salted cider vinegar and spices.

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When the mixture has cooled to room temperature, pour it into a blender or a food processor.

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Now you have a choice. You can either blend to a chunky style or you can blend into a puree. We prefer blending to a puree.

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Viola! It’s done. Aint it purty? 2+ cups of salsa macha. Baby Lady says it’s enough salsa macha for everyone.

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Now, for the rest of the story and the easiest part of the meal. Have the pork chop and lamb chops at room temperature. Turn the broiler on and allow to heat for 5 minutes. While the broiler is heating, Place pork chop on grill. Smear 1 Tbsp of salsa macho on top of pork chop.

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Put the pork chop under the broiler roughly 4 – 6 inches from the heating element or flame and broil for 4 minutes. In the meantime, smear 2 tsp of salsa macha on each lamb chop.

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After 4 minutes, remove broiler pan from broiler. Turn pork chop and smear an additional 1 Tbsp of salsa macha onto the top of the pork chop. Put the lamb chops on the broiler grill and return to broiler for another 4 minutes.

After 4 minutes, remove from broiler and turn lamb chops adding another 2 tsp of salsa macha to each one. Return to broiler for 2 more minutes.

After 2 minutes, remove from broiler and turn pork chop. Cook for 2 more minutes and remove from broiler and allow to rest for 3 minutes. The pork chop will be a perfect medium well and the lamb chop perfectly medium rare. Serve & enjoy!

© 2012

18 thoughts on “Salsa Macha Two Ways”

  1. I dunno, Richard. Once again you’ve shared a recipe that has more chilis in it than many of my dishes have spices. I’m certainly tempted to taste it but I think anything more than that is impossible. Bear in mind that beads of sweat will dot my brow when I eat a shrimp cocktail. A 4 chili sauce would require a change of clothes. 🙂

    1. Hi, John. I think this recipe will be a little too hot for your tastes. 😮 Baby Lady thought it was mild while I thought it was spicy but not overly spicy. You can tone this down considerably by reducing the chipotle chiles from 4 – 2 and by omitting the chile de arbol altogether. The ancho chile and passilla negro are very mild chiles.

  2. Thank goodness there is a range of peppers with different heat profiles to mix and match. This salsa sounds excellent if you have a cold and need to give the cold its eviction notice. 🙂

    1. Thank you. 🙂 That’s a very sweet thing to say. We’re glad you like our blog and hope to see you around. If you do try the recipes, please let us know what you think.

  3. Very intriguing! Looks wonderful, but I’m sure it’d be way too hot for me and I won’t be able to find those chiles around here. Perhaps I can make a wimpy version with just one type of chiles?

    1. Hi, Stefan. Glad it piqued your interest. Inasmuch as the original salsa macha is made with only 1 chile, you should be able to make a milder version with a different chile. Now, remember, you are going to end up with 2+ cups of salsa regardless of the number of chiles you use. Given the sheer volume of salsa involved and you ability to control the heat level due to the volume, you should be able to achieve a mild version using multiple chiles. I like multiple chiles because it gives you a greater depth of flavor and character. Insofar as what is available, dried chiles preserve well, can be shipped are inexpensive. What are the regs in NTL for importing foods like dried chiles? They are available online in numerous places.

      1. I’ve noticed that many online stores don’t ship abroad, many not even to all US states. But I can find a number of different chiles here, and I like your suggestion of making the salsa with multiple and then just using less to control the heat. I can see why using a blend of multiple chiles will give more depth.

  4. Hi!! I’m a mexican searching for this recipe and it looks really easy, But I’m a little lost in translation… What does a stemmed chile is?
    I’ll try to make the salsa macha :D!!
    Thanks a lot!

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