I am currently in mourning.  My favorite neighborhood Latin happy hour joint recently closed, without any notice.  My husband and I were there on a sunday and when we came back 2 days later, there was a note on the door thanking customers for 8 years of patronage.  My heart felt like it literally stopped. We even had our “we just got hitched so it’s time for a margarita” party there after we got married at the Beverly Hills courthouse.

Where else can we get a potent $5 margarita available 7 days a week accompanied by chips and an off-menu garlicky-habanero secret salsa called “Diablo”?? I usually dipped a tiny corner of the chip into the green pot of fire, but hubby practically drank the stuff.  Were we increasing our metabolism each time we ate this hot-as-hell sauce?

While it’s  said that spicy food speeds up metabolism, this small boost in heat generation is temporary.  But, if you enjoy spicy food and add that extra dash of Tabasco or chile powder to your meals on a regular basis, every little bit counts in the long run!  Spicy food may also aid in weight loss by  creating a greater sense of fullness following a meal. Personally, I’m more interested in the evidence from cancer researcher Michel Wargovich Ph.D, showing that chiles  enhance the bioavailability of antioxidants. Essentially, the chiles enhance our bodies ability to absorb and use the antioxidants in food.

To lessen the lack-of-Diablo-salsa void, I’ll make a big batch of red chile sauce that we can use with entrees or even to dip chips in.  In addition to chiles, my red chile sauce also contains oregano, which ranks as the herb with the highest amount of antioxidants.  It’s thought that herbs and spices may inhibit carcinogens that build up when grilling and charring meat. When cooking with dried herbs, which are more potent than fresh ones, be sure to rub the leaves between your fingers to release the oils.

The garlic and onion in this sauce not only add to the sauce’s complex flavor but add their own anti- inflammatory, cardioprotective qualities. The synergistic addition of the olive oil helps our bodies better absorb the fat soluble vitamins E and A found in the chiles.

This sauce is quite spicy, but the flavor mellows a bit when it’s cooked. For a less spicy sauce, be extra diligent in removing the seeds from the chiles. I recommend wearing gloves so your hands don’t end up burning!

The other night I sautéed lean ground turkey, then simmered it in the chile sauce for tacos.  I’ve also added it to the sautéed veggie base of a latin style chicken soup. Or, use as an enchilada sauce, chilaquiles sauce, on top of carne asada, grilled chicken, omelets, roasted potatoes or whatever else you want to add a deep chile flavor to!

red chile sauce


Red Chile Sauce

Yield: About 2 cups

This deep red chile sauce not only tastes amazing on EVERYTHING, but it also contains some pretty powerful ingredients: chile, oregano, garlic, onion and olive oil. Enjoy with chips, cooked with enchiladas, chilaquiles, chicken, beef or in any other way you can think of!


  • 4 dried whole Ancho or California chiles
  • 4 dried whole chile de Arbol
  • ½ raw large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 heaping cup)
  • ½ red bell pepper, roughly chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground ancho chile powder
  • kosher salt to taste (about 1-1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup of the reserved chile soaking liquid


  1. Soak the chiles in hot water until soft (about 15 minutes). When chiles are soft and pliable, remove the stems and seeds. It is highly recommended that you wear gloves! Do not rinse the chiles under water! Roughly chop the chiles. Reserve the soaking liquid.
  2. Place the soaked chiles, bell pepper, garlic powder, oregano, chile powder, and salt to the bowl of a food processor or high speed blender. Blend until ingredients are as smooth as possible.
  3. Add the oil, vinegar and reserved chile soaking liquid to the sauce and blend until well combined.





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