If there's one thing that really takes Mexican cuisine from good to exceptional, it's a good sauce. Delicious Mexican sauces are easier to make than you might imagine. Here are four restaurant-quality Mexican sauces you can make at home and use to top everything from tacos to fajitas.
Fresh Tomato Salsa
This smooth, saucy salsa has quite a kick. You can tone down the spice by using fewer jalapenos if you prefer.
- 10 very ripe, medium tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 3 jalapeno peppers, with seeds
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
Slice the tomatoes in half. Remove the seeds and stem portions. Place the tomatoes, along with the other ingredients, in a food processor. Process until smooth. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving; this will allow the flavors to develop.
Pineapple Pico De Gallo
Pico de gallo is a cross between a sauce and a salad. Traditionally, it includes fresh serrano peppers, cilantro, chopped tomato, lime juice and onion. This version calls for pineapple to add a unique, sweet flavor. If you're not a fan of spice, this is a somewhat milder, yet exceptionally flavorful sauce to enjoy on your Mexican cuisine.
- 3 ripe, red tomatoes
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
- 1/4 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
- 1 tablespoon serrano pepper, chopped
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- a pinch of salt
Remove the seeds and stem ends from the tomatoes, and the dice them finely. Combine the tomatoes with the other ingredients, and place the mixture in the refrigerator for an hour to let the flavors develop. Give the sauce a stir before using it, and enjoy!
If you're not a fan of cilantro, this sauce may make you change your mind. The creaminess of the sauce pairs wonderfully with the freshness of the herb.
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, packed
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor, and process until smooth and green. Taste the sauce, and add additional salt to taste if needed. Use immediately. Store leftovers in the refrigerator; you may need to give the sauce a quick stir if the liquid begins separating out.
Hot Pepper Sauce
Bottled hot sauce has nothing on this homemade hot pepper sauce. Combining serrano and jalapeno peppers gives it a balanced spiciness. It's the perfect consistency for drizzling over your entire meal.
- 10 serrano chile peppers, chopped roughly and stems removed
- 5 jalapeno peppers, chopped roughly and stems removed
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, sliced thinly
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup white distilled vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, and add the onions, peppers and garlic to the pan. Saute until the vegetables have begun to brown. Add all of the other ingredients except for the vinegar, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat, and let the mixture cool to room temperature. Transfer the mixture to a food processor, and process until smooth. While the food processor is running, drizzle in the vinegar. Taste the mixture, and add more salt if needed. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and use as needed.
Have fun experimenting and using them to dress up various dishes will remind you of food that tastes like Mexican food near Tucson Arizona.