The recado rojo is important to the local specialty, pollo pibil (chicken wrapped in banana leaves and steamed or baked). Fish and pork can be cooked in the same method, and the mixture gives depth to soups and stews.
- 11⁄2 tbsp achiote seeds
- 1⁄2 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1⁄2 tbsp black peppercorns
- 1⁄2 tsp cumin seeds
- 3 whole cloves
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 hot red chile pepper (optional)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1–2 tbsp wine vinegar or bitter orange juice
Directions: grind the first six ingredients to a powder in an electric spice grinder. Achiote seeds are very hard, so it’ll take some time. Crush the garlic with the salt in a mortar, then step by step work in the ground spices. You can add hot red chile pepper. Moisten with the bitter orange juice or vinegar so that you’ve a smooth paste. Form the paste into small disks or balls and let them dry, or put the paste into an airtight jar. Whether dried or as a paste, the recado will preserve for several months if fridge. To use, mix with more bitter orange juice.