An essential element of Mexican cuisine, hot peppers, or chiles, can be used and purchased either fresh, canned or dehydrated (secos). In fact, chile seco is a term used for a broad variety of peppers that are allowed to mature and dehydrate. Enter any Mexican supermarket and you’ll find a variety of dry chiles, among them morita, chipotle, pasilla, piquín, cascabel, guajillo, pulla, rata and mulato. Some are spicier than others and each has a distinct flavor.

Making delicious salsas at home with dry chiles is easy; we offer you three different recipes to add to your repertoire. You will quickly find that the recipes can be personalized by using different chiles, so feel free to experiment and enjoy Mexico’s spicy flavors!

Chile Morita Salsa

20 g chile morita, seeded • 150 g tomatoes • 300 g white onion, sliced in four • 3 garlic cloves, peeled • Salt to taste.

1. Toast the peppers in a frying pan on a medium flame turning them frequently, allowing their flavors to emerge. Set aside.
2. Combine the tomatoes, onion and garlic, and toast in the same pan.
3. Blend together in a blender until a thick consistency.
4. Add salt to taste.

Chipotle and Cola de Rata Salsa

8 cola de rata chiles • 4 chipotle chiles • 6 serrano chiles • 5 garlic cloves, peeled • 150 g peanuts • 2 boullion cubes • Water • Salt.

1. Fry the chiles in vegetable oil until they are soft.
2. Blend all ingredients with the bullion cubes adding water and salt to taste.

Cola de Rata Salsa

8 cola de rata chiles • 3 tomatoes • 1 garlic clove • 1/4 white onion • Water • Salt.

1. Boil the tomatoes until soft.
2. Fry the chiles in vegetable oil until soft.
3. Blend all ingredients together, adding salt and water to taste.

Acknowledgments: Carmen Porras (El Arrayán), doña Amalia Flores Solorio (Baby Banana) and doña Elena Grana Almada.