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Tomatillo salsa for tacos: is it supposed to be watery?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I love "Taco night", and I usually make a tomatillo salsa verde... just tomatillos, garlic, coriander and salt in a food processor. Most recipes I find say you should thin it out with water. My issue is, the salsa is already watery before I add any water. So watery that putting a couple tspns of salsa in a taco means your taco will drip with watery salsa juices, which makes it a bit challenging to eat without making a mess. 

 

Is that normal? Is it supposed to be like that? I don't remember having those issues when going to a Mexican taco stand... not sure what to do about it. 

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 13

I wouldn't think there is a right or wrong to it, just preference.

 

That said, tomatillo salsa in my experience is usually less chunky and thinner than tomato salsa.

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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks Phatch.

 

I guess I'm just wondering how Mexicans eat their taco, with the salsa inside, and therefore dripping everywhere as they eat the taco... or dipping the taco in a bowl of salsa, or what? 

post #4 of 13

I don't know if this will reduce the water content, but when I make chile verde I cut about 2/3rds of the tomatillos in half and roast in the oven for about 15 minutes or so.  I wonder what a salsa made with roasted ones would taste?

 

mjb.

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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #5 of 13

I had the same experience last week... tomatillos, garlic, jalapenos, salt = very runny.  I was thinking next time straining out some tomatillo liquid (didn't have time this go around) and it was for shrimp enchiladas so I wasn't really as worried.  It was mostly noticeable when trying to eat with chips.

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by teamfat View Post

I don't know if this will reduce the water content, but when I make chile verde I cut about 2/3rds of the tomatillos in half and roast in the oven for about 15 minutes or so.  I wonder what a salsa made with roasted ones would taste?

 

mjb.

It tastes really good, sometimes I'll roast everything (tomatillos, garlic, chili) on the grill or in the oven before going into the food processor - however the watery issue is the same. 

 

And what I don't get is that most recipe recommend adding water.. so my guess is, it's supposed to be watery? 

post #7 of 13

Just made tomatillo sauce two days ago. I pan roasted the tomatillos, added lime juice, salt, cumin, green onion, cilantro( including stems), garlic and a serrano / jalapeno chili to the blender/ processor. Most recipe's call for some kind of liquid - water, chickstock etc. Roasting the tomatillos, in my case, released liquid. Runnyness depends on what you like though, but I would say it should not be too watery, not to thick so that it can't cover surface area without smothering it. Either way, the ingredients should be combined and not split? Emulsified, if you will (I used oil to pan roast them, which was transferred to the blender). Sometimes you can add some oil during blending to give it a sheen. It also depends if you want it as a condiment or a sauce, for enchiladas for example - in which case I would add stock to thin it out since it would be used as a sauce and cooked in the oven. I'm sure it's similar to curry or mole, where every family /cook, has their special technique, ingredients. Also, I wondered if adding ascorbic acid (ground up vitamin c tablet) keeps it bright green like it does with pesto - or does the lime juice do that?

 

If you're making taco's, lime juice and some other kind of liquid  will inevitably run down your hand and wrist if salt is added(like pico de gallo) releasing liquid from tomatoes.

 

It's supposed to be like that, no?


Edited by jake t bud - 3/26/13 at 9:36pm
post #8 of 13

I make a couple of different tomatillo salsas--both from an old Rick Bayless cookbook (Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen) and I never have a problem with them being watery--especially the one that is simmered. Usually I have to thin them with a bit of water after they've been in the fridge overnight. They get a pectin-like consistency. Especially the simmered salsa. The uncooked one does tend to separate a little but once I stir the liquid back in it's fine. They are both a little chunky, not the thin, liquid green salsa I see on taqueria counters or in the market.

 

Both of them start with roasted tomatillos & jalapenos or serranos, The uncooked one also has roasted garlic and raw, rinsed white onion in it, along with a little water to thin it. The cilantro is added last and is uncooked. This one doesn't keep long.

 

The other is made with sauteed onions and garlic which you pulse with the roasted chilies and tomatillos in the food processor until they are broken down but not smooth. Then you pour the mixture in a hot skillet and sear it, stirring it until it gets thicker and darker. Then you add chicken stock until it is fairly thin and simmer it, covered for 20 minutes or so. If it's too thin, uncover and let it reduce a bit. The cilantro is added last and is uncooked. This one is a much better keeper and supposedly freezes very well but I never have enough left over after I've eaten it for a few days on tacos and eggs and in a chicken and greens dish from the same Rick Bayless cookbook. It's addictive.

post #9 of 13
Quote:

The other is made with sauteed onions and garlic which you pulse with the roasted chilies and tomatillos in the food processor until they are broken down but not smooth. Then you pour the mixture in a hot skillet and sear it, stirring it until it gets thicker and darker. Then you add chicken stock until it is fairly thin and simmer it, covered for 20 minutes or so.

 

Yeah, I've done that as well. I guess it depends on what degree of freshness you want. I prefer the non-cooked method for condiment, cooked for sauce. Also, Rick Bayless rocks. Dude knows his Mexican food. I wish I were close to Chicago to try his restaurant

post #10 of 13

FF I wonder if it might have to do with the tomatillas that you are sourcing? I have made it many times, and as Jake mentioned I believe a KEY ingredient is lime juice, so that adds a little moisture on top of the tomatillas and I've never had an issue with the consistency. This is very similar to the issues you might encounter using roma tomatoes in pico de gallo. I split them and remove the pulp because there is a ton of liquid in there. I have never had to do that with the tomatillas that I purchase from our farmers market (they are pretty solid). I use poblano peppers along with 1 or 2 jalapeno because I don't like it too hot/spicy. Of course it's all preference but as far as the moisture content, I have no had an issue with it being too watery.

 

I just had authentic tacos tonight from a taco place where we have many migrant workers (I live in Florida!) and the only really runny taco was the chorizo (grease!), which is consistent at several other taco stands I've gone to. I used their salsa verde, it was not watery. Good luck with your pursuits but I like something I saw Ricky Skaggs say at a concert.. he mentioned that good fried chicken was "finger lickin' good" but his gramma made "elbow drippin' good" fried chicken! Grab yourself a bib and sweatbands for your wrists and go to town!

post #11 of 13

FF,

in the kitchen I currently work in the Mexicans make their salsa verde for huevos rancheros, fish tacos and enchiladas by first roasting the tomatillos, garlic and Serranos, put in blender, then cook it down a bit with chicken stock, celery and onions, reblend that and add cilantro...it's kept warm and is never watery.....they eat it ON their food not on the side.

 

joey

 

i don't know what recipe you use but you cannot go wrong with any Rick bayless recipe...as jake says, he knows his stuff!

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for all your feedback guys.

 

FWIW I went to my favorite fish taco stand in L.A. (they only serve TWO items: fish taco and shrimp taco) and I looked at the salsa bar: all of them were watery. The bowls had slotted spoons, so that the water could have a chance to drain before you put the salsa on your taco. And still, a nightmare to eat while staying clean. As eatshores said, the tacos were absolutely fabulous, they were "Elbow dripping good". lol.gif

 

So I'm guessing that's probably nothing unusual to have salsa be watery...?

 

PS: I understand the advice to roast the tomatillos and other ingredients first, but here I'm trying to make salsa verde crudo, which is with only raw ingredients - the flavor profile is obviously not the same. 

post #13 of 13

I'm a little late to the party, FF, but it sounds to me like you figured it out.  Salsa is supposed to be saucy and if it isn't dripping through your fingers and down your arms you just aren't really eating a taco!  Ohterwise, you might as well just slather onthat stuff that is "made in New York City".  ha ha ha.

 

I've tried tightening up tomatillo salsa with starch but it just doesn't taste clean enough. Never again will I do that.  I think some of the pre-made salsa does that... which is why I make my own.

 

Roasting the ingredients really helps, as does not following hte recipe with regard to the quantity of water but judging that based on the product itself.

 

BTW... where is your favorite taco place in LA?  We have so many good authentic ones... but I'm constantly having a craving for King Taco!

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