Salsa Puya

Courtesy of Lucinda Hutson, ¡Viva Tequila! Cocktails, Cooking, and Other Agave Adventures, (Copyright © 1995 and 2013 by Lucinda Hutson) used by permission of the University of Texas Press. For more information visit

Salsa Puya is as ubiquitous in Jalisco as Tabasco is in Louisiana. This fiery brick-red hot sauce, bottled in Jalisco, gives this region's sangrita its unique flavor. It's also sprinkled on meats and tostadas and all sorts of botanitas (snacks). The puya chile, related to the guajillo, is a dried, blood-red chile about four inches long, tapering to a curved tip. Its flavor is decidedly tart, almost limey, with a piquancy that assaults the back of the tongue.

Look for puya chiles in specialty Mexican markets or substitute combinations of other dried red chiles such as chile de árbol, guajillo, New Mexico, or cayenne. When you can't make your own, use commercially bottled table sauces such as Valentina or Tamazula, imported from Mexico, and readily found in Latin American markets.

Super easy

Salsa Puya


For 1 Batch(es)


  • 2 ounces puya chiles (approximately 30)
  • 1 1/2 cups very hot water, to cover
  • 1/4 cups mild fruity cider vinegar or part rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt

Salsa Puya Directions

  1. Briefly toast chiles on a hot comal, or griddle, turning continually; take caution not to burn them! Remove stems, seeds, and veins. Place chiles in a small bowl, cover with water, and let soak about 30 minutes.
  2. After soaking, place chiles in a blender with just enough soaking water (about ½ cup) to make a thick sauce. Add vinegar, onion, oregano, and salt, and puree. Strain through a sieve and keep refrigerated. (It will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for more than a week and can be thinned with a few tablespoons of water, as necessary.)

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