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Salsa Macha

Salsa Macha is such a beautiful thing. Of all Mexican salsas, this one is very special. Made with just a few ingredients but packing a lot of heat and flavour makes it a perfect last touch to your favourite dishes. Chilli-oil based salsas are common in many cuisines and the way to make them and the ingredients used can be varied but the essence is similar. This particular recipe includes peanuts, a lot of garlic and a lot of de Arbol chillies, making it not only a powerful and delicious salsa but also a fantastic condiment that can be used in many, many ways. Expect a lot of recipes where we use this salsa!

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Salsa Macha

-1 ½  to 2 cups extra virgin olive oil

-12 garlic cloves

-12 de Arbol chillies

-½ cup salted peanuts

-3 tbsp sesame seeds

-salt to taste

1 In a saucepan, add the olive oil and heat it up slowly using medium to low heat. 

2 As the oil reaches temperature, add the garlic cloves, peeled,  and let them cook slowly. We don’t want anything but small bubbles to appear around the garlic. Think of it as a confit. 

3 After the garlic has been cooking in the oil for at least 8-10 minutes add the Arbol chillies and pay close attention to them since they won’t take too long to be ready. The chillies will swell up and change their colour to be very deep red. They shouldn’t smoke or turn dark. After 3-5 minutes, they should be ready to be removed from the pan.

4 The garlic is ready to be removed once is nicely light-golden all around. Place them in a blender, pour the hot oil and cool them down for at least 15 minutes before blending.

5 While the oil, chillies and garlic are cooling down, add the salted peanuts to the same pan and toast them for a few minutes. We are just looking for them to be fragrant and slightly toasted. Set aside about two tablespoons worth of peanuts for later.  Remove them once ready and do the same with the sesame seeds. They will only need seconds to be ready. Remove and set aside too. 

6 Add to the blender the toasted peanuts and one tablespoon of sesame seeds. Blend until everything comes together. The mixture should have a lot of texture from the chillies, seeds and peanuts. Add salt to taste at this point. 

7 Mash the remaining peanuts in a mortar or roughly chop them with a sharp knife. 

8 Pour the salsa macha in one or two jars and add the remaining sesame seeds and distribute the crushed peanuts on top. 


Notes:

- Salsa Macha is such an amazing flavour bomb. It is spicy hot, it has amazing texture and flavour. 

- There are many ways to make it and this is just one of them. Some people use more oil. Some people use neutral oil instead of olive oil. Some people add different seeds or none at all. The main ingredients are oil, garlic and chillies and from there one can easily adapt this salsa.  

- Even when de Arbol chillies are the most common ones to be used in salsa macha, a combination of two or more chillies can also be used. The sky’s the limit!

- This salsa goes a long way. You can keep it in a sealed jar for weeks and even months. It can be stored in a dark dry place or even better inside the fridge. Just remove it ahead of using it so the oil comes down to room temperature. 

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Enjoy!

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