If you love the smoky flavor of chipotle pepper, then you will love this salsa. Chile Morita Salsa is a brick red spicy salsa recipe made from dried morita chiles, roasted garlic, and charred tomatoes. Vegan and gluten-free!
Recipe first published January 27, 2016. Last updated June 29, 2022.
Of all the dried chiles in Mexican cuisine, morita chiles may be my favorite and this Salsa de Morita is the perfect way to let them shine.
I know saying I have a favorite dried chile is a bold statement considering there are over 200 varieties of chiles at last count and that was an educated guess. Every village has its local chile and I most certainly haven’t tasted them all.
But the allure of these particular dried peppers is real. They add a sweet, spicy smokiness to any Mexican dish and are particularly good in soups, stews, and sauces like this easy salsa recipe. Let’s find out more!
what are morita chiles?
Dried morita chile peppers have a complexity and depth of flavor that speaks to my heart and, in my opinion, are irresistible. If you are interested in this kind of stuff Diana Kennedy wrote a great article about the most popular dried chiles for Food & Wine that is worth checking out.
In Mexico, Morita chiles (meaning little blackberry, in Spanish) are most commonly used in Veracruz and Puebla and are like the Cinderella to chipotle chiles’ step sister. In fact you may see them labeled chipotle morita chiles sometimes—they’re that close.
They are a type of chipotle pepper, in that they are a variety of smoked jalapeño peppers but are made from the last jalapeno peppers on the vine— the very ripe, dark red jalapenos— so therefore, are smoked for less time to prevent them from disintegrating.
The result is a dried chile with a matte red color that keeps a bit more of its original jalapeño character; fruity flavor, and less of a smoke bomb. Chipotles mecos get all the love but moritas are the real beauty. They can be ordered from online retailers or found in most Mexican grocery stores.
They also make a killer salsa.
Are Morita Peppers spicy?
The simple answer is, yes. The taste is not fiery hot but a subtle heat that builds with a fruity, smoky aftertaste. In Scoville heat units or SHU they are the same as a jalapeño or chipotle meco (since they are all varieties of the same thing) ranging from 4,000-9,000 SHU.
If you are a fan of canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce then you have eaten morita chiles. These are the smoked pepper most commonly used for making chipotles en adobo.
Ingredients To Make Chile Morita Salsa
- Dried morita chiles
- Cherry tomatoes. In the fall and winter cherry tomatoes tend to have more flavor, but in the summer use a ripe, juicy garden tomato instead.
- Garlic clove
- Kosher salt
how to make salsa morita
Morita chile peppers are pretty tough, so need a bit of soaking in a bowl of boiling water. If you like your salsa smoking hot leave the seeds in, otherwise remove the stems and seeds while they’re still dry.
Soak chiles and char veggies. While the chiles take their hot water bath put the garlic and tomatoes under the broiler to get lightly charred. You can also char them over medium high heat in a cast iron skillet.
Blend. Everything goes in the blender or food processor. Make sure you save the soaking liquid from the chiles to thin out the salsa if it is too thick. Season with salt too—a good pinch will do.
Then as the Brits would say, “Whizz it up!”
Other vegetables you can add would be
- Roasted Tomatillos (add 3 or 4 to the pan with the garlic and tomatoes).
- Use tomatoes, onions and garlic (add 1/2 white onion to the pan and char with the tomatoes and garlic).
more salsa recipes to try
To satisfy my constant chile craving, I like to always have one or two homemade Mexican salsas on hand. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Tomatillo Pico de Gallo
- Grilled Pineapple Salsa
- Salsa de Cacahuate (Peanut and Chile Salsa)
- Radish Pico de Gallo
- Grilled Tomato Salsa
- Tomatillo Avocado Salsa
there’s just no substitute for an authentic mexican salsa recipe
Drop everything and go find a bag of dried morita chiles to make this salsa—stat! Let me know when you make them by snapping a pic and tagging me on Instagram @holajalapeno and #holajalapeno so I can see or leave me a comment below (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating) ! Also, sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!
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