Salsa Macha

Larry White

Salsa Macha
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Salsa macha is probably the most versatile Mexican salsa that you’ve never heard of. Its origin is up for debate, but legend has it that Chinese settlers either brought the technique for this salsa with them to Mexico in the late 1800’s, or that they discovered it from the Mexican people and incorporated it into their cuisine. The Chinese version of salsa macha that is very popular these days is called “chili crisp”. Both of these salsas/sauces are oil based with the main components usually including sesame seeds, peanuts and garlic.

One of the reasons that this salsa is so versatile is that you can swap out the varieties of nuts and dried chilis to pair with whatever you're putting it on without sacrificing its essential characteristics.

Changing out ingredients may remove you from the realm of traditional preparations, but without innovation, salsa macha may not be here today. So if you like things on the smoky side, incorporate dried chipotles into the mix and if you like some extra heat, add what many believe to be the riginal chili used, the arbol. I like to change out the nut varieties depending on what protein I’m eating it with. The nuts I commonly use are peanuts, pecans, cashews and pistachios.

Cooks Notes:

●     This being an oil based salsa, it will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks if stored properly. Store in a jar with a tight fitting lid and try to keep the oil level above the other ingredients.

●     The olive oil will naturally separate from the other ingredients as it sits. Simply stir with a spoon to reincorporate before eating.

●     This salsa is great on waterfowl, pork, fish, shellfish and vegetables.

●     Feel free to change out the dried chilis and nuts listed in the ingredients list to your liking.

Servings: 2 cups


●     1 ½ cups olive oil

●     ½ cup raw peanuts

●     ½ cup garlic cloves, peeled

●     2 ounces dried chilies, roughly chopped (mix of chipotle andguajillo)

●     2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds

●     3 tablespoons white distilled vinegar

●     1 tablespoon brown or coconut sugar

●     ¼ cup water

●     Salt to taste


  1. To a small pot over medium low heat, add the olive oil. Once the oil starts to lightly shimmer add the peanuts and garlic. You’re looking to slowly cook the garlic and peanuts until they are golden in color. This will take around 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add the sesame seeds and chilis and cook for about 2 minutes. Stir if needed.
  3. Add the vinegar, sugar and water to the pot.
  4. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool off enough so that it is safe to place in your blender or food processor.
  5. Pulse in your food processor or blender while seasoning with salt and adjusting as needed. The texture should be coarse and thick. It will last covered in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks as long as the oil level remains above the other contents.


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About the author

Larry White

Larry White is a hunter, avid outdoorsman and former restaurant chef whose life revolves around food and being in wild places.

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