Peanut and Chile Salsa

 I am going to tell you a secret about myself. I think I may be the only person in the whole wide world that suffers from this ailment. At least I don’t know anyone else who does. I don’t like salsa. Mostly because I don’t like chunks of tomatoes, peppers, or onions, which are pretty essential to salsa. Up until maybe 10 years ago the thought of going to a Mexican restaurant gave me serious anxiety. Going to a new Mexican restaurant actually still does give me anxiety. You just never know what you are going to get. Even the simplest dishes like chicken tacos have surprised me. I can’t even count all the times I have ordered enchiladas and then refused to eat them. And why when I order something “plain, cheese only,” does it still come covered in lettuce? The only item I have had a 100% success rate with is the chips. I always like the chips. Of course, I eat them plain, without salsa though. I order things “plain” a lot. We had been to this local Mexican restaurant, Mago, a bunch of times but I had never tried the salsa. I don’t like salsa, remember? They bring a tray with 3 different salsas. One time we went I must have been feeling VERY adventurous because for whatever reason, I tried one of the salsas. And I liked it. But I had never seen salsa like this before. It wasn’t chunky. It wasn’t green. It wasn’t even tomato-y. It kind of looked like queso, which is probably why I decided to try it. It was creamy and orange and it was SPICY! And I loved it. But was it really salsa? I decided to do some research and I think that it was a peanut and chile salsa.Although this recipe from the New York Times is not exact, I think it is very similar. It turns out there is no cream or cheese in the salsa. Tricked me though. I made the recipe with 6 de arbol chiles and it wasn’t quite spicy enough so next time I will use 8. The salsa is very thick, but it is good on chips and I also made some tilapia and served it with this salsa. Make sure to really process the peanuts so that it is very smooth. This salsa is really nothing like the salsa you usually see in restaurants. Like I said, it is smooth, creamy, and spicy. So, if you are feeling really adventurous give it a try!


Here is what you’ll need

Brown the chiles

Place them in a covered bowl of water for 15 minutes

Char the tomatoes

Remove the stems from the chiles and brown the garlic

Place everything in the food processor

Sear the salsa and add the chicken broth

No chunks of tomatoes, onions, or peppers! Perfection!


Peanut and Chile Salsa

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Side Dish


  • 8 de arbol chiles
  • 1 1/4 lb fresh tomatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground clove
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 cup chicken stock
  • salt to taste


  • Pre heat the oven to broil.
  • Place 6-8 chiles in a dry skillet and allow them to brown.Remove from stove and place in a bowl of warm water and cover for 15 minutes.
  • Broil the tomatoes for about 6 minutes per side or untilthey are lightly charred.
  • Heat about ½ tablespoon canola oil in the skillet on low.Brown the garlic clove on all sides until soft. This will take about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the tomatoes from the oven and allow them to coollong enough to handle. Once cooled, core the tomatoes and add to the foodprocessor along with the chiles, cinnamon, clove, garlic, oregano and peanuts.Process until smooth.
  • Heat a large pot over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon on oil.
  • Once heated add a spoonful of the salsa. If it sizzles addthe rest of the salsa. If it does not, wait for it to heat and try again with aspoonful of salsa. Heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the chicken stock and heat another 10 minutes until itthickens.
  • At this point the salsa will really be splattering.
  • Cook it uncovered, on low, and stir often. Add a little salt to taste. 
  • Serve with tortilla chips, fish, or chicken.
Keyword salsa