How to Make Hogao (Colombian Creole Sauce)

5 from 3 votes
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How to make hogao, a simple tomato, and onion salsa/sauce (Colombia Creole sauce). This hogao colombiano requires just 4 ingredients and under 10 minutes to prepare – perfect for dipping and as a base to other sauces and dishes!

Hogao Colombian Salsa in a bowl

You can’t have tostones (fried green plantain) without hogao for dipping. However, this Colombian creole sauce is good for more than just that. Use this hogao sauce as a base to tons of Colombian dishes or use in place of raw tomato and onion salsa (like Pico de Gallo). Plus, it lasts longer, too – since there are no raw ingredients!

What is Hogao?

Hogao is a Colombian sauce made from tomatoes and spring onions (or round onions). Described as a variant of Spanish soffrito (an aromatic mix of vegetables used as the base to many dishes), this simple tomato and onion sauce also makes up a base for tons of Colombian recipes. However, it can also be served as a condiment/dipping sauce.

Colombian salsa Hogao in a pan

Like many traditional recipes, there are tons of versions of this sauce. Some including extra vegetables, different herbs, and spices, adjusting the spice level, etc. Some rely on practically just tomato, scallion, and salt. Others add in garlic and paprika, and some add extra herbs like cilantro or parsley.

Traditionally, Hogao is cooked down into a sauce consistency. In fact, the name comes from the verb “ahogar”, which means to drown – describing the low and slow cooking process. However, for this version, I’ve kept things a little “brighter” with a chunkier salsa-like consistency, perfect for enjoying with patacones/tostones. (Both versions are mentioned below!)

I actually decided to share this recipe alongside tostones as part of my international breakfast series. For more global breakfast inspiration, you might like Turkish menemen (tomato scrambled eggs), Mexican huevos rancheros, French oeuf cocotte (baked eggs), Indonesian nasi uduk (coconut milk rice), and British baked beans!

The Ingredients

Ingredients for Hogao Colombian Salsa
  • Tomatoes: make sure to use the best and ripest tomatoes that you can find. I used vine-ripened tomatoes.
  • Onion: I used white onion for this recipe, though you can also make it with scallions (spring onions) instead.
  • Olive oil: or another neutral cooking oil – like avocado oil or coconut oil.
  • Chili powder: while not traditional, a little chili powder is a must-add to this simple sauce if you like a little heat.
  • Salt: adjust the amount to personal taste. Alternatively, you could use a little bouillon powder.

Optional Add-ins and Variations

  • Green onion: you can add between 3-4 green onions (scallions), finely chopped. Alternatively, swap out the regular onion entirely for green onion.
  • Garlic: adjust the amount to personal taste (I recommend between 1-3 cloves, minced).
  • Cumin: around ½ tsp works wonderfully – but adjust to personal taste.
  • Paprika: popular in Dominican Republic salsa, you can add a little, to taste.
  • Cilantro/Parsley: for extra flavor, you could add around ¼ cup of either parsley or cilantro to the hogao. I recommend adding it in the last 2 minutes of cooking.

How to Make Hogao?

Step 1: Prepare the ingredients

First, wash the tomatoes well. Then peel the onion and finely dice the tomatoes and onion. 

Chopped tomatoes and onion

Step 2: Sauté the hogao colombiano

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Then add the onion and sauté for a few minutes, or until the onion becomes translucent.

Then, add the remaining ingredients and stir, cooking for a further 2-3 minutes to soften the tomatoes. Mix occasionally while cooking.

If you want more of a sauce texture, you can cook it for up to 15 minutes, until very soft. Add a splash of water/stock if preferred for a slightly thinner sauce.

Finally, allow the hogao colombiano to cool down before enjoying it!

Steps for cooking Hogao Colombian Salsa

How to Store?

Store: allow the hogao to cool. Then store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Freeze: when cooked down into more of a sauce consistency, this hogao freezes very well (otherwise, the texture may be impacted upon thawing). Allow it to cool and then freeze in airtight containers (or freezer-safe bags) for up to 2 months.

Reheat: if you want to enjoy it warm, simply heat it on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Plantain chips and red salsa

How to Serve?

I prepared this hogao sauce specifically to serve alongside plantain chips (patacones con hogao) with several other dips/sauces, including guacamole, Pico de Gallo (a raw salsa), and garlic sauce.

However, here are some other ways to enjoy this simple hogao colombiano:

  • Dip: use to dip other recipes too, like yuca fries, platanitos, or even tortilla chips.
  • Spoon some over arepas.
  • Serve alongside bandeja paisa.
  • Enjoy with tamales or empanadas.
  • Use it as a base (like sofrito) to various dishes.
  • Serve with eggs: this hogao sauce pairs wonderfully with egg dishes like French baked eggs, scrambled eggs, omelettes, fried eggs, etc.

More Related Recipes

If you try this hogao recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

How to Make Hogao (Colombian Creole Sauce)

5 from 3 votes
By: Samira
How to make hogao, a simple tomato, and onion salsa/sauce (Colombia Creole sauce). This hogao colombiano requires just 4 ingredients and under 10 minutes to prepare – perfect for dipping and as a base to other sauces and dishes.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 
 

  • 6.5 oz tomatoes 3 medium-sized; freshest, ripest tomatoes you can find
  • 4.5 oz onion 1 medium-sized or 4-5 scallions (green onion)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder optional

Check the notes below for more add-ins and variations

    Instructions 

    Step 1: Prepare the ingredients

    • Wash the tomatoes well. Peel the onion.
      Finely dice the tomatoes and onion. You should have about 1 cup of each.

    Step 2: Sauté the hogao colombiano

    • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Then add the onion and sauté for a few minutes, or until the onion becomes translucent.
    • Add the remaining ingredients and stir, cooking for a further 2-3 minutes to soften the tomatoes. Mix occasionally while cooking.
      If you want more of a sauce texture, you can cook it for up to 15 minutes, until very soft. Add a splash of water/stock if preferred for a slightly thinner sauce.
    • Finally, allow the hogao colombiano to cool down before enjoying it!

    How to Store?

    • Store: allow the hogao to cool. Then store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
      Freeze: when cooked down into more of a sauce consistency, this hogao freezes very well (otherwise, the texture may be impacted upon thawing). Allow it to cool and then freeze in airtight containers (or ziplock bags) for up to 2 months.
      Reheat: if you want to enjoy it warm, simply heat it on the stovetop or in the microwave.

    Notes

    • Use high-quality ingredients: this hogao recipe is so simple that it’s imperative that you use the freshest ingredients available for the best flavor.
    • Adjust the texture: the best way to do this is to simply adjust the time cooking the tomato and onion salsa. When lightly sautéing, it will have lots of texture. However, if you plan to simmer it in the pan for longer, the tomatoes will break down into more of a sauce, and the flavors will fuse more into a single sauce rather than as separate ingredients. The version you prefer is up to you! Make sure to also finely dice the pieces so they aren’t too chunky.
    Optional add-ins and variations:
    • Green onion: you can add between 3-4 green onions (scallions), finely chopped. Alternatively, swap out the regular onion entirely for green onion.
    • Garlic: adjust the amount to personal taste (I recommend between 1-3 cloves, minced).
    • Cumin: around ½ tsp works wonderfully – but adjust to personal taste.
    • Paprika: popular in Dominican Republic salsa, you can add a little, to taste.
    • Cilantro/Parsley: for extra flavor, you could add around ¼ cup of either parsley or cilantro to the hogao. I recommend adding it in the last 2 minutes of cooking.
     
    Check the blog post for lots of serving suggestions!
    Course: Appetizer, Condiment, Side
    Cuisine: Colombian, South American
    Freezer friendly: 2 Months
    Shelf life: 1 Week

    Nutrition

    Calories: 84kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Sodium: 299mg, Potassium: 161mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 459IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 13mg, Iron: 1mg

    Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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