February 2008

Salsa Negra
Chef Carmen “Titita” Degollado of El Bajio – Mexico City, Mexico
As Presented at the 2007 StarChefs.com International Chefs Congress

Carmen “Titita” Degollado, world renowned icon of Mexican cuisine and guardian of tradition at her restaurant El Bajio in Mexico City is an authority on the mother salsas, some of which – Salsa Fresca and Salsa Verde – have successfully crossed the border to become familiar American condiments. One of her specialties, Salsa Negra, differs in technique with a deep black color, tongue-enveloping heat, and a savory flavor imparted by fried chilies and garlic. Although less common in the US, Salsa Negra has a definite place at the root of Mexican culinary heritage.  

Step 1: Fry chilies in oil until puffed.

Step 2: Fry garlic in the same oil.

Step 3: Soak chilies and garlic in water for 5 minutes.

Step 4: Puree the chilies, garlic and water in a blender.

Step 5: Fry the puree in the same oil until it becomes a paste.

Step 6: Season with piloncillo and salt.

*piloncillo is unrefined Mexican cane sugar.

Carmen Titita Degollado's Salsa Negra on StarChefs.comSalsa Negra
Chef Carmen “Titita” Degollado of El Bajio – Mexico City, Mexico
Adapted by StarChefs.com

Yield: 4 Servings


  • 1 quart corn oil
  • 200 grams dried black chipotle meco chilies
  • 200 grams garlic cloves
  • 1 quart hot water
  • 50 grams piloncillo
  • Salt

In a medium sized pot, heat oil and fry the chilies until they puff and darken in color. Remove the chilies, add garlic and fry until golden brown. Remove the garlic and reserve frying oil. In a bowl filled with hot water, soak the garlic and chilies for 5 minutes. Transfer chilies, garlic, and water to blender and puree. Pour 1 cup of reserved oil back into the pot over low heat. Add the puree and fry while stirring constantly, until it becomes a paste. Add piloncillo and salt. Allow to cool.

*chipotle meco is a dried, brown chipotle.