My choice of spice this week is Annatto seeds and powder which is Mexican spice to naturally color the dishes with beautiful red.I am posting a dish made with Annatto/Achiote powder to Kalyn's "Weekend Herb Blogging" and this week it's Becky from "Key Lime and Coconut"'s turn to host.Thank you Becky.
Annatto Seeds and Achiote/Annatto powder:
Annatto is a product of the Achiote trees of tropical regions of the Americas,used to produce a red food coloring. Annatto is commonly found in Latin America and Caribbean cuisines as both a coloring agent and for flavoring.Central and South American Natives used the seeds to make a body paint, and lipstick.For this reason, the Achiote is sometimes called the lipstick-tree!The annatto seeds dye the mixture red, and this gives the meat or vegetables it seasons a distinctive red hue.
Annatto powder is used in the dishes to give them a color just as we use Turmeric and Saffron in Indian cuisine.Annatto powder is my new found herb and I am thrilled to post this info and a dish made using Annatto spice mix "Recado Rojo".More info at WIKIPEDIA.
Arroz Con Pollo with Recado Rojo:Serves two
Arroz Con Pollo literally means " Rice with Chicken",a delicious one pot Mexican dish.I have made slight changes and made this dish using red powder or Achiote spice mixture called Recado Rojo mixed with Japanese Panko breadcrumbs for crunch and made yellow rice which is cooked with little Recado Rojo and Pimientos for that beautiful color. I served this dish with slices of Avocado and some Salsa! YUM!!:))
What is Recado Rojo?
Recado rojo or achiote paste means "Red paste" is a popular blend of spices from Mexico.Originally a Mayan blend, it is now strongly associated with the Mexican cuisine of Yucatan.
The spice mixture usually includes annatto, Mexican oregano, cumin, clove, cinnamon, black pepper, allspice, garlic, and salt.Info from WIKI.
This is how I make Recado Rojo powder:
Mix 1 tsp annatto powder,2 tsp cumin seeds powder,1 tsp dried oregano,1 tsp allspice powder,1/4 tsp salt,2 tsp garlic powder,1 tbsp Onion powder and 1 tsp chilli flakes or powder and store in a bottle.(Add 2 tbsp lime juice if you are making a paste)
Arroz Con Pollo, my way:
Take a boneless skinless Chicken breast and slice it across to make two thinner fillets.Add 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs for crunch to 1 tbsp spice powder and spread on a plate.Press the chicken until evenly coated.
Heat a pan,drizzle some oil or butter and cook the chicken both sides until done.Repeat with the other fillet as well.
How to make Yellow Rice:
Yellow rice which is a spanish rice dish colored by the same Recado Rojo spice mixture and cooked with some Pimiento.This is how I made this rice dish to serve with Chicken.(Yellow rice is also made with Saffron traditionally,but I added some Annatto spice mix)
How to make yellow rice:
Cook 1 cup long grain rice with enough water and 1/2 tsp Recado Rojo spice mixture and 1/4 tsp Turmeric for color and flavor until done as you make it in your way.When done fluff the rice with a fork,add 2 tbsp chopped bottled Pimientos,few cilantro leaves and adjust the salt.Add lemon juice only if you used the powder instead of paste.There you are,a perfect side dish for Mexican Chicken!!:))
Serve with Avocado slices and some salsa on top and enjoy the beautiful Arroz Con Pollo, my style!!:)
Achiote Plant and pod:(pics from Wikipedia)
A fruiting branch showing seed pod.
Half of a seed pod showing seeds inside.