March 19, 2016 — Breakfast

WDC’s Chipotle Chilli Sauce

  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 8 PEOPLE
  • medium

‘No need to buy chilli sauce now for our Mexican food. This sauce punches some power (but then again I’m a korma kinda guy), and can literally go on anything you wanna add some heat too. Perfect to accompany your food for breakfast, lunch and dinner!’

'Dad's finally shared the recipe for his chipotle sauce!'

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Share this yummy recipe with a friend on WhatsApp

Follow us on Instagram — @WhatDadCooked

What you need

4 dried chipotle chillies (or 4 chipotle chilli en adobo)

1 large onion

3 cloves garlic

Half a red pepper

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

6 plum tomatoes

1 tbs tomato puree

2 tbs sherry vinegar

1 tsp sugar

300ml chicken stock

3 stalks fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried

4 bay leaves


Dad's Recipe Tales

I’m delighted Mexican food is so widely available

When our family first arrived in the UK in the – we struggled to find and make Mexican food here. Living in California our street names, town names, and food was often Hispanic. So it was a real culture shock to have this influence removed from daily life. Our mother might make chilli with cornbread and beans – or put chilli con carne on top of a jacket potato. But we could not buy or make a proper corn tortillas. We had to wait until 1982, when ‘Old El Paso’ launched their products in Harrods. Later, on trips to America I would bring back suitcases of tortillas and freeze them – or have masa harina sent over in food parcels.

When we needed to satisfy our Mexican pangs we would take the family to the only two establishments I knew selling Mexican food in London at the time: Café Pacifico in Covent Garden and Chiquito in Leicester Square.

Café Pacifico’s interior was designed to resemble a Mexican cantina with stone floors, exposed wooden beams and rough stucco walls painted in ochre, accented with the deep red and green colours of the Mexican flag . It had a very exotic and exciting atmosphere and attracted young adults out for a good time. We would arrive early but soon the crowds would gather, the pitchers of Margaritas would start to flow and the music would get louder and louder. Much as we wanted to join in the fun – we began to feel awkward and conspicuous tending to our toddlers in the middle of a highly charged salsa party – so we would graciously slip out, leaving the revellers – and all that lovely Mexican food – behind…

These days I can thank the likes of Mexgrocer, and the Cool Chile Company delivering almost every imaginable Mexican ingredient to our door. Which now means the family can enjoy authentic Mexican food (and salsa music!) anytime – and in the comfort of our own dining room.

How Dad Cooked It

This chipotle chilli sauce is a brilliantly versatile sauce – the kind of thing I have always made for Mexican and Spanish meals or BBQ’s. Put it in your tacos, over Mexican rice, on top of an omelette tortilla, on top of fried eggs, with minced beef for a sloppy Joe or chilli con carne or as a marinade and BBQ sauce for chicken and ribs…


  1. Fry the dried chillies – if using. Remove the stalk from the chillies. Fry briefly on each side in a cast iron skillet without oil. Place in a mug and pour over 80ml boiling water. Leave to soften for 30 minutes.
  2. Fry the onions, garlic and pepper. Chop the onion, garlic and pepper. Fry the onions 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and peppers continue to cook for 15 minutes. The vegetables should be soft and cooked-down (but not burnt).
  3. Add the cumin. Cook for 1 minute
  4. Add the chillies. Drain the chillies retaining the water and add to the onions and stir for a minute.
  5. Cook the tomatoes. Chop the tomatoes and add to the onions and chillies. Fry for 10 minutes or until softened, add the puree, sugar and vinegar and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  6. Add the stock. Add the stock, oregano and bay leaves and simmer for 30 minutes with the pan lid ajar.
  7. Blend the sauce. Remove the bay leaves from the sauce and blend with a blender stick or allow to cool for 5 minutes and blend in a blender (put a towel over the lid of the blender in case of hot chilli explosions). Strain if a smoother sauce required.
  8. Finish and adjust the sauce. Generally the sauce will need a very good pinch of salt.
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