Memelas Oaxaqueñas con Salsa Roja de Molcajete—Thin Oaxacan-style Sopes with Stone Ground Salsa

Yields 24 memelas and 1 cup/237 mL salsa


  • ¾ cup/177 mL Salsa Roja de Molcajete (recipe follows)
  • 1 lb/454 g fresh masa
  • 2 tbsp/30 mL canola oil
  • 1 oz/28 g all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp/2 g Kosher salt
  • 1 oz/28 g asiento (lard), optional
  • 1 cup/118 mL refried beans
  • 8 oz/227 g crumbled queso fresco

Salsa Roja de Molcajete

  • 2 jalapeño chiles
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 tsp/2 g Kosher salt, plus more as needed


  1. To prepare the salsa, heat a comal over medium-high heat. Dry roast the jalapenos and tomatoes until they are soft and blackened on all sides, about 15 minutes. Roast the garlic, removing from the heat when the papery skin begins to brown. Discard the skin and return the garlic to the comal. Roast until the garlic is blackened, about 10 minutes.
  2. When they are cool enough to handle, remove and discard the stem of the jalapenos, and remove the skin. Slice them in half. Remove the skin and eyes from the tomatoes.
  3. Transfer the chiles and garlic to a molcajete. Add salt, and grind using the tejolote, until a paste forms. Add the tomatoes one at a time and grind the mixture until the salsa is smooth. Season with salt, as needed, and set aside.
  4. To prepare the memelas, combine the masa, oil, flour, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until a dough forms, about 2 minutes.
  5. Divide the dough into 24 portions and roll into balls. Place the dough on a parchment-lined sheet tray or wooden bench and cover with a damp towel.
  6. Pre-heat a comal over medium-high heat. Shape each ball of dough into an oval, and place in a plastic-lined tortilla press. Press the dough, turn the tortilla 180°, and press again. The resulting tortilla should be 1/8-in/.5-mm thick.
  7. Peel the masa ovals from the plastic rounds. Place the tortillas on the comal and cook just enough to set the dough, about 1 minute per side.
  8. Transfer the tortillas to a work surface and, using your thumbs, gently press a thin rim into the edges of the tortilla, so that the outside of each tortilla is slightly raised, like the crust of a pizza.
  9. Spread the mamelas with a thin layer of asiento, if using, then top with beans, cheese, and salsa. Serve immediately.
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