Know Your Regional Mexican Sauces?user rating
Mexican cooking is experiencing an awakening similar to what occurred with Italian food decades ago. We are beginning to understand and appreciate the diversity of the cuisine, and therefore desire Mexican products that are authentic and original.
More stores and restaurant menus showcase an assortment of Mexican-style sauces and salsas that represent preference, heat levels and flavors from various regions-from the Pacific Coast to the Central areas to the East and Gulf Coasts. Sauces like salsa roja made with guajillo chiles, roasted tomatillo, roasted garlic and pears; pibil sauce made with fruit juices, garlic, cumin and achiote seasoning paste; salsa chipotle and mole made with tomatillos, onions, bananas, toasted sesame seeds, chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate are becoming favorites.
Here are some of Mexico's traditional sauces:
Green tomato sauce: Featuring Serrano chilies, it's the most popular Mexican table sauce. It is typical of Central and Northern Mexico. All the ingredients are raw except for the green tomato, which is usually, but not always, cooked before using.
Salsa de jitomate Sonorese: Featuring Anaheim chiles, it's a mainstay from Sonora in the northwest. Unlike Mexican sauces that are high on the heat scale, this sauce is a rather soothing accompaniment to the Carne Asada Sonorense-a huge piece of steak cooked over a wood fire.
Salsa de Jitomate Veracruzana: From Veracruz in the southeast along the Gulf of Mexico, it's made with jalapeños. Today cooks use a blender, although traditionally the salsa would have been made in the molcajete, a mortar.
Salsa de Jitomate of the Yucatan: A simple tomato sauce that is served mainly with papadzules and pan de cazon and frijol con puerco (beans and pork).
Sauce of Many Chiles: Popular in Mexico City, it's made with cascabel chiles, morita chiles, chiles de arbol, chipotle chile and guajillo chile. This sauce is ideal to serve with broiled meats, sopes or other antojitos.
Chile de Arbol Sauce: From the southwest in Jalisco, it's a fearsomely hot uncooked table sauce that is used as a condiment with broiled meats and eggs, in soups, or as a topping for antojitos.
Red Serrano Chile Sauce: From Nuevo Leon in the northeast, it's quite spicy and very colorful.
Pico de Gallo: A fresh tomato relish containing finely chopped ingredients and seasoned with chile, also features peaches in the State of Mexico, where Peach Pico de Gallo is a known tradition. Peaches grown in this central valley, which are small and firm, are ideal for this recipe. It is served as a relish with rice dishes and in soups.