Note: This makes about 4 cups. You may want to make extra sauce so that you have some left to top tamales with afterwards, if desired. A green sauce also can be used to top the tamales.

Red Chili Sauce for Tamales
(About 4 cups)

15 large dried chilies (such as Anaheim, New Mexico, California)
4-5 cloves garlic
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. olive oil, melted lard or shortening


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove stems and seeds from dried chili peppers.

Place peppers in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Roast in 350°F oven for 2 to 5 minutes or just until the peppers start to give off a sweet, roasted aroma. Be sure to check frequently to avoid burning the peppers.

Remove from oven and soak in enough hot water to cover for about 30 minutes or until cool.

Place the peppers and 2 1/2 cups of the soaking water into a blender. Reserve remaining soaking water.

Add garlic, cumin and salt. Cover and blend until smooth.

In a 2-quart sauce pan, stir flour into oil or melted lard over medium heat until browned.

Carefully stir in blended chili mixture.

Simmer uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. (If sauce is too thick, stir in up to 1 cup of the remaining soaking water, Ό cup at a time, until you achieve desired thickness).

Note: When working with chilies use rubber gloves to protect your skin. Avoid contact with eyes. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water to remove chili oil residue.