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Salsa Verde Cruda & Salsa Brava | Raw Salsas

Gabriela Cámara

Lesson time 14:21 min

Gabriela demonstrates how to prepare the two raw salsas found on every table at Contramar: salsa verde cruda, a vibrant tomatillo and avocado salsa, and salsa brava, a spicy mix of onions and habanero peppers.

Gabriela Cámara
Teaches Mexican Cooking
Celebrated chef Gabriela Cámara shares her approach to making Mexican food that brings people together: simple ingredients, exceptional care.
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[MUSIC PLAYING] GABRIELA CAMARA: Salsas are fundamental for Mexicans. Salsas, I would say, are a signature stamp of cooks, of families, of places. Usually when you go to people's homes, they have a sauce that is their home sauce. They have a sauce that their grandmother made or that their aunt made or that has been in the family for generations somehow. And I feel the same thing about restaurants. Restaurants have their sauces. And you go to a restaurant or to a taco stand because they have a particular sauce that's very telling of a certain way of cooking or of a certain tradition, a certain family, or a certain locality. [MUSIC PLAYING] So I'm going to tell you how to make Salsa Verde Cruda, and this is one of my favorites. It's one of my staples at the restaurant and I love it. You don't cook anything in the salsa, everything is raw. And this is why it's called Salsa Verde Cruda. Cruda means raw, and this is exactly what it is. So we start with tomatillos. I prefer small tomatillos because the flavor is more concentrated and they're not bitter. And I have some tomatillos here that I want to show you with the skin. This is how they grow. So they grow in the plant, this is the little stem here. And they usually are covered in the skin. If you find them like this, covered, you just clean them. And you do not need to rinse them before you use them. So now what we're going to do is just finish peeling these. And we are going to prepare this very simple sauce by just putting everything in the blender. So here we go. The tomatillos have a very sticky sort of gel. It's a light resin that comes from that tomatillo. It's just enough that it that it gets your fingers dirty. So I will open the blender, put the tomatillos in here. And I put them whole, again because they're of a very small size. The second ingredient that we're going to use is this onion. And I'm going to again, chop it roughly just so that it goes into the blender and disintegrates easily. And we're going to put all these clean cilantro leaves. So again, we're going to do onion, tomatillos, cilantro, Serrano chiles. I'm going to destem them and just cut them in half so that they blend easy. Then, garlic, and I'm just to take the part that might not blend easy, cut it in half. And the secret of the sauce is to put lettuce. And I like to use Little Gems or cogollos in Spanish. And it's a very crunchy variety of lettuce. You can use Romaine. Sometimes when you're making salad and you leave the center of the lettuce, this is how I started making this sauce. I use the center of the lettuce to put into a green sauce just to give it a little bit of freshness and crispiness. And now I use Little Gems just because they're delicious and easy to find and it's a good way of using up everything and not wasting. So here we have a beautiful avocado. I'm going to use only half of it. And usually I don't need to make sure that it's beautifully peeled, but wh...

Savor every moment

A “star of modern Mexican cuisine,” Gabriela Cámara brings her local, sustainable twist to time-honored traditions. Now the chef of Contramar shares the richness of her culture through the art of food. Learn step-by-step recipes—for dishes of her own design, like tuna tostadas, and staples like tacos al pastor, salsa, and tortillas—and delight loved ones with your own delicious renditions of Mexican favorites.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I love cooking and want to expand my knowledge. This was my favorite of the cooking classes so far. This class and Thomas Keller's first one are my top 2. Gabriela is a GREAT teacher. Thank you!

Very thorough and informative class. Chef is very personable and very knowledgeable in Mexican cuisine. Every dish she presented was perfectly executed and presented in a manner that enabled me to replicate with ease.

Already made homemade salsa the al pastor tacos! Can't wait to make my own masa!

The importance of good ingredients and traditional methods for these Mexican dishes was a real highlight.


A fellow student

The Salsa Verde Crudo turned out really well. And was amazing with the Al Pastor recipe. Beware! This recipe makes a large amount of salsa. I needed to scale back. Also, my Black and Decker mixer couldn't handle the whole Tomatillos. I recommend cutting them in half for easier processing. I also added more garlic to the recipe and a heavier dose of lemon salt to brighten and lime juice.


I made the salsa verde cruda and it was so great. I followed the recipe exactly except I did not add water. I measured everything on a scale. We had a lot with the full recipe so we shared it with neighbors and even the kids loved it! I halved it the second time and it still made a good amount and tasted great. So far we've been able to keep it up to a week without browning in airtight containers in the fridge.


I made this salsa and it turned out beautifully. I have two comments however, the first is; I think it depends on the type of blender you have if you can get the cilantro leaves to complete dissipate. I have just a little Black and Decker thing and while they mostly blended in, it took me a long time of blending to get that consistency. Second, she says "no liquid only from the liquid from the tomatillo" but the workbook says to add 140ml water. I put everything in the blender including the water because that is what the workbook said but then I watched the video again to make sure I wasn't supposed to de-seed the pepper and she said no other liquid so mine came out a little runny from the added water. I went ahead and added the other half of the avocado to thicken it up and really is a beautiful sauce that holds a ton of flavor.

Alicia L.

Easy salsas that seems great and easy to make. A little scared of habanero, but we'll see.

A fellow student

Has anyone made the Salsa Bravas? I tried to make it but I feel like the recipe proportions are off. It looks like it's using alot of Habaneros and Oregano. It calls for 18 grams of dried Oregano. I think that's like half a spice jar!

Jamie W.

Agree with onion measurement comments below. That being said, the salsa verde cruda is the best fresh tomatillo sauce I've found. The creamy avocado perfectly balances the acidity of the tomatillos. Absolutely delicious! My family keeps finding new things to put it on!


I think there is a typo in the workbook for the recipe on the Salsa Verde Cruda - it calls for only 20g white onion, and by my visual assessment, 1/4 of a medium onion is far more than 20g. I tried making this recipe by the book and it came out with a very profound cilantro flavor and the onion was almost indistinguishable. Should the onion perhaps be 200g? This would be approximately 1/4 by weight relative to the tomatillo.

A fellow student

I have been trying to rewatch this lesson and several others and cannot get them to come up - very frustratinf!!!

Muindi K.

Wait, shouldn't you slice the tomatillos in half to make sure that they are not rotten inside, before blending?

A fellow student

Loved the lesson and particularly Gabriela's passion. Unfortunately being in Australia it is going to be a bit challenging getting hold of some of the ingredients, tomatillos in particular, but I guess this just means I need to do my research and probably take a trip out to one of our better markets. Really looking forward to making the salsa.