Kitchn Love Letters

I Live in Mexico and This Is the Jarred Salsa I Stock in My Pantry at All Times

published Jan 31, 2022
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Credit: Minette Hand/Apartment Therapy

As a Mexican, I feel that a small pinch of spiciness increases the subtle flavors of my dish. For me, this means having salsa on hand to add to my breakfast, lunch, and dinner — no meal is off-limits. While fresh salsa is the ideal topper to a plate of scrambled eggs or a slice of pizza, making it regularly from scratch is not an easy chore. And often, sourcing and preparing the fresh tomatoes, chiles, and onion takes more time and effort than I’m willing to spend.  

Instead, I reach for the next best thing: a jar of salsa macha, conveniently stored in my pantry. Unlike tomato-based jarred salsas, salsa macha is similar to chile oil and made primarily with dry chiles, seeds, nuts, and a lot of oil. For this reason it also has a longer shelf life.

Because it’s made of almost 80% of chiles, it’s a common belief in Mexico that eating salsa macha requires a certain level of bravery or high tolerance for spice. But this is not always true, nor is it the case with my favorite brand, La Comandanta, which has an excellent balance between flavor and spiciness.

Credit: Ubish Anzaldo

Buy: La Comandanta Salsa Bien Macha, $19.99 for 7.9 ounces

The website says it best: La Comandanta Salsa Macha is the sauce of sauces. Made with high-quality ingredients from small-batch producers, this salsa is just the right amount of spicy: medium hot, not too smoky. The three Mexican chiles (arbol, chipotle, and mulato peppers) are seasoned with soy oil, peanuts, salt, and garlic, and combined with pumpkin and hand-roasted sesame seeds, which gives each bite a nice crunch.

That added texture is just another reason this salsa is so versatile. Beyond pizza, I eat it with chilaquiles (or anything with eggs; scrambled, fried, you name it!), salads, steak, and seafood (especially ceviches with white fish). It also goes amazing with any preparation with cheese. Basically, it’s hard to find something I don’t enjoy eating this salsa with. 

Credit: Ubish Anzaldo

If you want to take your time with this jar, I have good news for you: It lasts for a considerable amount of time. There have been instances when I’ve had the same jar for months and the flavor was just as good as when I first opened it. You don’t need to store it in the fridge — even after it’s been opened — unless you live somewhere where it gets very humid. Just keep it in a cool, dry place and away from the sunlight. Basically, any cabinet in your kitchen should be fine, as long as it’s within arm’s reach!

Have you tried this salsa macha? Tell us about it in the comments below!