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Salsa

Why is my salsa not hot?

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Why is my salsa not hot?

jay138 | Nov 3, 2015 07:19 PM

I absolutely love arbol + tomatillo salsa, but the place I used to get it closed down. Now when I make it at home the flavor is right, but the heat just seems too weak even though I use lots of hot chiles. I made this one today and it wasn't nearly as hot as I was expecting:

I roasted all of these ingredients:

Six medium sized tomatillos
Three large cloves garlic
1/4 small white onion
A ton of dried arbol chiles, about 2 oz, had to be at least 30-40 arbol chiles
1/2 oz dried and smoked piquin chiles (eg, two bags of them from my local grocery store)
a little bit of water for spoonable consistency
salted to taste

I removed the seeds from the arbol since there are so many of them. I have never found seeds to be the hot part of chiles, it's always seems it's the ribs that are always hot if I eat an habanero or a serrano raw. So I didn't think twice about shaking out the seeds from the arboles.

I just briefly roasted the chiles until they became aromatic, but roasted the tomatillos until they were nice and charred with an olive color instead of green. After blending to a thin consistency I filtered it through a sieve, and added back 1/4 of the pulp for texture. It made my kitchen into mess to breathe in thanks to the fumes from the arbol and piquin, but the salsa was only maybe medium heat. E.g., if I put a couple of spoons of it on a chicken taco it wasn't hot at first but had some lingering heat. But what I was really going for was a madman salsa that just grabs you by the, well, you know, right away. Would this actually be a very hot salsa if I left all the pulp in? Or if I didn't empty the arbol chiles of their seeds? I mean cookbooks say using half the amount of arbol I use as well as the same amount of tomatillo should give a very hot salsa, but I'm not getting that. I love the sweet flavor of arbol with the tart flavor of the tomatillos, as well as the smoky flavor of the piquin, it's out of this world with these three strong flavors together as well as all that garlic. So I don't want to add habaneros and their floral aromas to this salsa. But I want heat. Where am I screwing up?

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