Recipe of the Month:Salsa de Tomate Casera

by Simone Riddle

It’s back to basics in Xelawho’s kitchen for this month’s recipe. Everyone knows how to make a tomato sauce, right? But do you know how to make it estilo chapin? Like many dishes in the Mayan culinary repertoire, there is a unique way to create a salsa de tomate, and it doesn’t begin with frying an onion. Master this one and you will look legit, fijo.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can use it as a base to add to pizzas, pasta, frijoles blancos, fish and even on top of your eggs for breakfast.

1lb of tomatoes (approx.. 5-6 tomatoes)
1 red bell pepper (chile pimiento rojo)
2 cloves of garlic
1 ½ onion, halved
half a jalapeno chili
½ inch of chile guaque (optional)
½ inch of chile pasa (optional)
2 tbs of olive oil
1 tsp of salsa inglesa (optional)
a couple of springs of thyme (tomillo)
Start by giving all the vegetables a wash
Add the tomatoes, peeled garlic, the red pepper, the halved onion, chile guaque, chile pasa and the sprigs of thyme to a large pan, fill the pan with cold water to almost cover the vegetables. Cover, bring to the boil and cook until the vegetables are soft
Remove the sprigs of thyme and blend the vegetables, adding some of the liquid to help blend more easily
Pour the blended mixture back to the pan, mix and add salt and pepper to taste
Next, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Once hot, add the remaining half of onion (chopped) and to begin to fry. Add the finely diced jalapeno chili if you like your salsa to have some kick. Fry for a couple of minutes to soften
Carefully pour the tomato sauce into the frying pan, adding the salsa inglesa and stir before simmering for another 5-10 minutes to let the flavours infuse
Check again for seasoning and it’s ready, simple.
Watch out for next month’s recipe, which will use this salsa as a base – so get practicing!

Book your cookery class with Asociación de Mujeres del Altiplano (AMA) where Women Circle members offer traditional Mayan techniques. Check out their website ( for more information.

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