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All About salsa in Mexico

The title refers here to the sauce, or, to use the Mexican word, mole, not to the popular dance.

But a good salsa can make you want to move your body in an excited rhythm. To citizens of the U.S., salsa is nothing more than a mix of fresh chopped tomatoes with spices. But in Mexico, salsa recipes are as varied as the country itself.

The world of many salsas within Mexican salsa varieties

Like the word mole, salsa in Spanish also means 'a sauce'. But that plain word can describe a great many delicious varieties.

Salsa de Arequipa

It hails from the city in the Andes mountains that gave the sauce its name. Sometimes served with potatoes, it may also be made with eggs. Ajo chiles provide the nice 'bitey' spice of this special dish.

Salsa Cruda

It is just what the name suggests, plain salsa. But even plain it can be a delight. Made with uncooked chiles, tomatoes, cilantro and lime juice, add bell peppers for a little more zing. Chunky. Perfect just as it is.

Salsa Fresca

It is very similar. Chopped a little more finely, other vegetables such as carrots and onions can be added. For a truly small chunk fresca, make it pico.

Salsa de Mani

It is a delicious variation on the standard sauce, which uses a South American peanut sauce to turn it into a paste. Add a bit of jalapeño, then a 1/2 cup of chunky peanut butter then heat in a pan. Throw in some sautéed onions to add bite to the sweet flavor.

Salsa Roja

It is just what the Spanish name means: red sauce. It makes a delicious paste when the tomatoes are stewed and spiced up with pepper. A dash of tabasco from the Mexican state of the same name is a terrific addition. The great taste is universal.

Salsa Taquera

It may sound ordinary when translated to 'taco sauce'. But there's nothing mundane about the taste of this great dish. Smoother than standard salsa, it's made of cooked tomatoes, spiced with chiles, vinegar and garlic. While a native Mexican may not regard this as a true salsa, no citizen anywhere could argue with the results when it comes to flavor.

Salsa verde

Lest you think that all salsas are red because of the tomatoes, add to the list some Salsa Verde, or 'green sauce'. The name may be nothing special but the taste is. Use tomatillos as a base, then add ricado and chiles. Throw in a dash of cilantro and you have a thin salsa that pours like a dream.

This one deserves a few extra words because the ricado is itself a blend of seasonings that vary from region to region. Ground cinnamon, cocoa and oregano are commonly used. Add cumin seeds for a delicious variety. Throw in some basil for a different slant.

To each dish, its salsa

Whichever dish you're preparing you'll find a type of salsa that pairs perfectly. Whether fresh or cooked these sauces add spice to a meal. Which is to say, they add spice to life. What more could anyone ask?