Matbucha is a North African mild tomato sauce that is served cold as an appetizer to accompany bread. My recipe makes 3-4 cups, which I divide and freeze to be used as needed. I prefer using salt free crushed tomatoes. Always wear rubber gloves when peeling jalapenos to avoid an irritable burning sensation caused by the peppers’ heat. Keep the flame low and stir frequently to avoid burning the bottom of the pan and to keep the sauce from rapidly bubbling and causing explosive hot tomato splatters. Matbucha isn’t hard to make, it just takes patience. It’s worth the effort, the taste and quality of homemade matbucha are far superior to any processed and packaged sauce.


Hana Itzhaki
This mild North African tomato sauce can be used as a condiment on sandwiches or in a pita.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Condiment
Servings 8


  • 2 28 oz canned tomatoes crushed no salt added
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3-4 jalapenos
  • 1 ½ t. salt
  • ½ c. canola or vegetable oil


  • Pour the canned tomatoes into a large, deep sauce pot over a low flame and simmer for one hour, stirring every 8-10 minutes with a wooden spoon, scraping any bits that get stuck to the bottom.
  • Cut the bell pepper in half and remove the seeds. Place cut side down on a broiler pan lined with foil. Flatten pepper halves gently.
  • Place jalapenos on broiler pan with bell pepper halves. Broil until black and charred. (5-10 minutes for the bell pepper, 10-15 minutes for the jalapenos) The jalapenos will need to be turned over to evenly broil both sides half way through cooking.
  • Place the hot, charred peppers in a heat proof bowl and cover . Cool in the bowl until they are able to be handled, 10-15 minutes.
  • After one hour of simmering tomatoes, add salt and oil. Stir until oil has been absorbed, about one minutes.
  • Peel, seed and chop peppers into a ¼ inch dice. Add to tomato sauce, stir to combine.  Continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Cool and refrigerate. Serve with bread (challah or pita).


This can also be made in a slow cooker on low for 4-6 hours. Peppers still need to be cooked and added separately.
Keyword condiment, dip, kosher, parve

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