Salsa Brava

This Mexican chile pepper is called “Chilaca” when used fresh. In California the Poblano chile is often called Pasilla. Since most of these are bought and distributed from California this mislabeling often carries over into the supermarkets nationwide causing alot of confusion. This chile is very mild and is usually consumed in the dry form to make the famous Mexican ‘mole’ sauces.

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6 tomatoes, charred or broiled, until skin blisters
1 medium onion, chopped coarse
1 dried passilla chile
3-4 serrano chiles, charred and skinned
3 Tbsp. cilantro
salt to taste


Toast the passilla chile in a heavy skillet until it is softened and releases a toasty smell. DO NOT BURN. If you burn, throw it out as it will be bitter. When the pepper is cool enough to handle, break into pieces and discard the stem and any seeds in the chile.

Place the chile pieces in a cup of boiling water and let steep for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare your tomato by removing the charred skins and squeezing out the seeds. Chop the onion. Remove the charred skin from the serrano chiles, leaving a little skin and seeds. Place the soaked pasilla into a food processor with 2 Tbsp. of water and puree for 20-30 seconds. Next add the tomato pieces, onion pieces and serrano chiles with some seeds. Roughly puree, using the off/on pulses.

Simmer the salsa in a 2 quart saucepan for 10 minutes to remove the raw flavor. Place the salsa in a bowl and allow to cool. Stir in salt to taste and add the cilantro.

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