Salsa de Chile Pasilla de Oaxaca – Version Two

The smoked chile pasilla de Oaxaca, or chile Mixe ( pronounced, mee-hay) is unique to the state of Oaxaca. It imparts a fiery, smokey flavour to salsas, chiles rellenos, and vinegary condiments for the table. Used in a cooked tomatillo salsa, it’s exquisite with grilled meats, served alongside chips or tostadas with fresh cheese, or even topped onto scrambled eggs nestled inside a hot corn tortilla.

I stock up on the chiles whenever I’m in Oaxaca, easily purchased in one of the many market places in the city or on the outskirts. I would recommend that you bring back some the next time you go to Oaxaca, because you are going, aren’t you?


The following salsa recipe is one of the easiest around, and was a table salsa used in a friend’s Oaxacan restaurant, where I helped out for a brief time. It was served with tlayudas, those large sized tortillas made with various kinds of corn masa, from golden yellow to deep blue, heirloom of course. Slow food at its finest. Carried in woven baskets expertly balanced on their heads, a coterie of women would drop by the restaurant once a week with their freshly made, still warm tlayudas for sale.

Salsa de Chile Pasilla de Oaxaca – Version Two
(Version One here)
Makes 2 1/2 cups
2 medium sized chile pasilla de Oaxaca
1 lb tomatillos, husked and rinsed
3 small garlic cloves, crushed
Salt to taste
Cook the whole chiles and cleaned tomatillos together in just enough water to cover. Bring the water to the boil and simmer until the tomatillos soften and change colour. Don’t let them fall apart.
The chiles will soften sooner than the tomatillos, so remove them with a slotted spoon to a plate to cool.
Once the chiles are cool enough to handle, make a lengthwise slit in the chile and scrape out the seeds and remove the stem.
Blend half the tomatillos, garlic and chiles, then add the rest of the tomatillos and blend until smooth. Add salt to taste.
Let the salsa cool down before serving at room temperature.


One Response to “Salsa de Chile Pasilla de Oaxaca – Version Two”

  1. Joseph Gertig says:

    Thanks for this recipe. It matches almost exactly ones I collected from three different cooking schools in Oaxaca. As you must know, finding miltomatillos (the small green and purple tomatillos found in southern Mexico) and often recommended in Oaxacan recipes are very difficult to find in the US, at least in the northeast. So your providing guidance for 1 lb of tomatillos is helpful. Similarly, here in Virginia I have been unable to find a source for pasilla de Oaxaca chiles until recently. Then I found a source and was able to buy them 1 lb bags. At $55.75 per pound they are expensive but authentic.I will share my source: Spices Inc at

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