(Mexican Yucatecan achiote spice paste)
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Recados are Mayan spice pastes particularly popular in the Yucatán region of Mexico. A deep brick red, recado rojo is the most common, and is an essential ingredient of the region's famous slow-roasted pork dish, cochinita pibil.
Use recado rojo as a flavoring rub for pork, chicken and fish. Premade recado rojo can be bought at Latin markets in brick-shaped packages.
Makes about 1/2 cup
- Annatto seeds -- 2 tablespoons
- Peppercorns -- 1 tablespoon
- Whole cloves or allspice berries -- 5 or 6
- Mexican dried oregano -- 2 teaspoons
- Cumin seeds -- 2 teaspoons
- Cinnamon -- 1 teaspoon
- Salt -- 2 teaspoons
- Garlic cloves -- 8 to 10
- Sour orange juice or vinegar -- 1/4 cup
- Place all of the spices and the salt into a spice or coffee grinder and process until the spices are fully pulverized. This may take some time, as annatto seeds are very hard. Pass it through a sieve if necessary to remove any grit.
- Place the garlic and sour orange juice or vinegar into a blender or small food processor and process until smooth.
- Place the spices into a bowl and stir in the garlic puree until the paste is smooth. Set aside for at least a few hours before using to allow the flavors to meld.
- Rub the recado onto meats, poultry, fish or seafood a few hours before roasting or grilling it. Recado can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks.
Recado Rojo Variations
- For an even deeper flavor, you can first toast the whole spices in a hot, ungreased skillet for a few minutes, stirring until they release their aroma.
- For convenience sake you can use all ground spices. Grind up the oregano with your hand as much as possible to break the large flakes down into a powder. Ground annatto seeds can sometimes be found in Latin markets under the name achiote molido.
- If you want, eliminate the cumin and cinnamon. Or add ground coriander.