Citizens – the fiery spirit that burns within the heart and soul of your beloved Leader – the spicy Suzerain who ALONE is TFD! – demands that I now share a deliriously delicious recipe that I’ve modified to include the flavors of 2 of my favorite regions of Mexico! Both Veracruz and Yucatan are represented here – but let me educate you specifically on the achiote-heavy cuisine of Veracruz!
The cuisine of Veracruz is the regional cooking centered on the Mexican state that stretches over most of the country’s coast on the Gulf of Mexico. Its cooking is characterized by three main influences, indigenous, Spanish and Afro-Cuban, due to its history, which included the arrival of the Spanish and that of slaves from Africa and the Caribbean.
These influences have contributed many ingredients to the cooking including native vanilla, corn and seafood, along with rice, spices and tubers. How much the three mix depending on the area of the state, with some areas more heavily favoring one or another. The state has worked to promote its cuisine both in Mexico and abroad as part of its tourism industry.
Here, I’ve tweaked the classic Veracruz recipe for deviled shrimp that is a hallmark of the state to include not just the classic chipotle, but also a goodly hit of Yucatecan recado rojo paste as well in place of the far-simpler achiote seed sauce that typically flavors the dish. Recado rojo paste is the key seasoning in Yucatecan roast pig but I’ve adapted it for use in this recipe.
Recado rojo or achiote paste is a popular blend of many different spices. It is now strongly associated with Mexican and Belizean cuisines, especially of Yucatán and Oaxaca. The spice mixture usually includes annatto, oregano, cumin, clove, cinnamon, black pepper, allspice, garlic, and salt. The annatto seeds dye the mixture red, and impart a distinctive red-orange color to the food.
The paste is dissolved in either lemon juice, water, oil, or vinegar, used as a marinade for meat, or rubbed directly upon it. The meat is then grilled, baked, barbecued, or broiled. Sometimes, it is added to corn dough to create a zesty flavor and color in empanadas and red tamales.
By adding the classic chipotle flavor and vinegar found in the Veracruz recipe, I’ve created a unique hybrid recipe that stays true to the Veracruz original, but with far more complexity of flavor.
Once you make the achiote recado rojo, this dish is very quick to come together and cooks in minutes. You’ll have leftover paste to store in the freezer for whenever you want to make this delicacy again – and I’m quite sure you will!
I call for Mexican pineapple vinegar in this recipe – you can buy it here or just use our favorite type instead.
Enjoy this most splendid achiote-based recipe at your next meal, my Citizens! 🙂
Battle on – the GeneralissimoPrint
- 1 cup achiote seeds
- 1 cup juice of naranja agria (Also known as Seville or sour orange. Substitute: 2 parts lime juice, 1 part each orange juice and grapefruit juice)
- 12 whole allspice berries
- 4 Tbsp. whole, fresh Mexican oregano leaves or 2 Tbs. ground dried Mexican oregano
- 1 tsp. cumin seed
- 1 tsp. coriander seed
- 1 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns
- 20 cloves garlic, ½ peeled and roasted over an open flame, the rest left as is (TFD change – original recipe was all roasted) (TFD Note: Asian supermarkets frequently sell already peeled garlic cloves in bulk – these will make your life much easier)
- 2 Tbsp. Maggi Seasoning (TFD change – original recipe used coarse sea salt)
- ½ tsp. freshly-grated nutmeg (TFD addition)
- ¼ tsp. freshly-ground cloves (TFD addition)
- ½ cup additional juice of naranja agria
- 2 Chipotles in Adobo or to taste, TFD prefers Herdez brand plus sauce from jar as needed
- Pineapple vinegar (preferred) or use your favorite type
- Shrimp, preferably wild Mexican shrimp
- Lard (preferred) or oil
- Cilantro and chopped avocado for garnish
- For the Chipotle Achiote paste:
- In a spice mill or coffee grinder dedicated to the purpose, grind the achiote seeds in batches until fine. Transfer to a fine sieve held over a plate or bowl; tap and shake the sieve until all that remains at the bottom is coarse residue that looks like sand.
- Return the residue to the grinder and repeat the process one more time. Continue until all of the achiote has been ground. Discard any residue that will not pass through the sieve.
- Cover the ground achiote seeds with the 2 cups of sour orange juice, and stir to mix thoroughly. Allow to stand at room temperature as you continue with the remaining steps.
- In a cast iron skillet over high heat, quickly and lightly toast the allspice, whole oregano (if using ground oregano, add in the next step) coriander seeds and cumin until fragrant and just beginning to smoke. Immediately remove them from the skillet and allow to cool 2-3 minutes.
- Place peppercorns and the toasted spices in the spice grinder, and process until it becomes a fine powder. Strain powder through a sieve held over a plate as you did for the achiote seeds; repeat and discard any residue that remains.
- In a blender, process garlic, chipotles, as much sauce from the can as you prefer, Maggi seasoning and the remaining ½ cup sour orange juice until puréed.
- Add the achiote paste and the ground spices and all remaining ingredients – process until you achieve the consistency of a very smooth thick paste, about 3-4 minutes. You will probably need to do this in a few batches.
- Divide paste into equal pieces, wrap each portion well with plastic wrap or place in resealable plastic bags. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 3 weeks. Chipotle Recado Rojo may also be frozen indefinitely.
- Combine shrimp with some vinegar and as much paste as needed to create a smooth liquid. Let marinate in the fridge for 1 hour.
- In a large, heavy saucepan or a wok, heat some lard or oil until smoking hot. Add the drained shrimp (reserve the marinade) and cook until almost done. Add the reserved marinade, cook the shrimp until done.
- Garnish with cilantro and avocado and serve immediately.
- Category: Recipes
Citizens, please note that I can no longer afford to absorb the nearly $1000 per month it costs to keep the site running smoothly, including marketing expenses, etc.
You can make a difference!
Please consider making a one-time donation to help keep the site live and the posts coming – click here to PayPal Me a tip!
You can also show your support by listening to our podcasts, liking them, and sharing as you see fit – try them out here.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?