Some people may not know this, but there are a number of varied "salsas" in Mexican cooking.
The most popular, and the one that we are most familiar with particularly in the UK or the US, is the Mexican salsa, which is red in colour and contains tomatoes as the main ingredient.
In Spanish, "salsa" means sauce and can be used to describe any type of sauce that is served with food, whilst in the English language, "salsa" refers to the tomato-based spicy condiment that is served as a dip with Mexican food.
Mexican salsa is very easy to prepare and can be made in a matter of minutes. It can be served as an appetizer and is also very popular at parties or even as a snack to be eaten at home whilst watching the television.
Mexican salsa is traditionally served with tortilla chips, bread sticks, pitta bread, and raw vegetables or as a spread for tacos, fajitas and quesadillas.
Salsa is not usually cooked, although there are some recipes that call for the chillies and tomatoes to be grilled or charred to give a smoky flavouring.
There are variations on how to make Mexican salsa and it generally depends on where in Mexico the cook is from. A person from the north of Mexico may use several different ingredients to someone from the south of Mexico, however the basic ingredients are red tomatoes, onion, Serrano chillies and salt and pepper.
In some recipes cilantro or coriander
is often added, as is garlic, red or green peppers, jalapeno peppers and lime juice. The salsa can be prepared in a blender or more often than not, the ingredients are all chopped and mixed together by hand.
Many people assume that Mexican salsa is very hot and spicy. This can be true, although some salsas are extremely mild in taste. When preparing your own salsa at home, for a hot and spicy version, just add extra jalapeno peppers or extra chillies.
Below are a number of recipes for Mexican salsa, ranging from the very mild to the very hot.