Tag Archives: mexican food

Salsa Macha

salsa macha

Salsa Macha

This salsa is from the state of Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico, a gateway for immigrants since the 16th century. In fact, this is where Hernan Cortes landed in 1519 and this is also where African slaves arrived in Mexico to work on sugar plantations, gold and silver mines, or to become domestic servants in Mexico City.

Africans introduced, among other foods, their native sesame seeds and peanuts, which are native to Brazil but brought into Mexico via African slave ships. 

Salsa Macha is a marriage of Mexican chiles with African sesame seeds and Spanish olive oil. True fusion cuisine, which is what Mexican food is. 

This sauce is amazing on eggs, steak, or just plain baguette. FYI: Macha is the feminine version of the word macho. If you’re a woman and you grow hairs on your chest after eating it, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

3 ounces combination of dried morita and guajillo chiles
2 1/2 cups olive oil
1/3 cup roasted and salted peanuts
5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
3 tablespoons roated sesame seeds
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons piloncillo or brown sugar
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Stem the chilies, then break or cut them open and remove the seeds. Tear into pieces and set aside.

Set a saucepan over medium-high heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the garlic cloves. Stir and fry for one to two minutes, until they start to gain color.

Add the chiles, peanuts, and sesame seeds fry for about two minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool then carefully transfer all the contents from the saucepan into a blender.

In a small bowl, mix the vinegar, salt and brown sugar, then add to the blender. Process until everything is chopped into finely chopped, but not pureed. Pour into a jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

Makes about 3 cups

Adapted from Pati’s Mexican Table

Cochinita Pibil

cochinita pipil

Cochinita Pibil

A traditional slow-roasted dish from the Yucatan peninsula, Cochinita Pibil is a combination of Mayan and European influences. For many years, the Peninsula was isolated from the rest of Mexico but its ports were in constant exchange with Europe. This mix resulted in dishes such as this one which combines pork introduced from Spain with pre-Hispanic condiments and cooking techniques.

Traditionally cooked underground over hot stones (the word pibil is Mayan for “pit”), its main seasoning is achiote or annatto, a tree native to Central America and Mexico which was known for its therapeutic properties as an anti-inflammatory and healing agent. Its was used also used by the ancient Mayans as a dye for textiles and for body paint.

For the pork:
3 pounds pork butt
2 tablespoons seasoned achiote paste
1 cup bitter orange juice (you can substitute ½ cup orange juice and ½ cup lime juice)
5 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons dried oregano
salt and pepper
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 large banana leaf, about 4 feet long

To make the marinate, mix the achiote paste with the bitter orange, oregano, salt and pepper and set aside.

Cut the pork into pieces and place in a large Ziploc bag or glass bowl. Pour the marinade over the meat, making sure it is all bathed. Add the chopped onion and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.

Prepare the banana leaf. Remove the center core from the banana leaf, rinse, dry, and cut the leaf into two 2-foot sections. Toast on a skillet and use the leaves to line a slow-cooker – lay one down the length, the other across the width.

Lay the meat and onions over the banana leaves and pour in the marinade. Fold up the banana leaves to cover everything, roughly encasing the meat. If it doesn’t encase the meat completely, add a few more leaves.

Place the lid on the slow-cooker, turn to low, and cook for 6 hours. (If you don’t have a slower-cooker, cook the meat in a Dutch oven at 300° F for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.)

Remove from the meat from the slow cooker and shred. Place in a large serving dish. Spoon off any rendered fat from the juices and add 1 cup of sauce to the shredded meat. Mix well. Discard the onions and the banana leaves. Serve warm with corn tortillas and pickled red onion.

Though not entirely authentic, I love it with Pineapple Habanero Pico de Gallo, but leave out the red onion if you’re serving the pickled kind.

Here’s a quick and easy version for the pickled red onion (cebolla en escabeche):
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 red onion, thinly sliced

Whisk the water, vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl until the sugar and salt dissolve. Thinly slice the onion and place in a glass jar. Pour the vinegar mixture over the onions and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour before refrigeration. Drain before serving.

Serves 6

Picture courtesy of my amazing cousin, Boni Carmona.

Cur-ATE: Dining in Colonial Mexico

painted in mexico portrait

Cur-ATE: Dining in Colonial Mexico

Tuesday 3/13 at 6:00pm


Explore the groundbreaking special exhibition Painted in Mexico, 1700–1790: Pinxit Mexici in and after hours tour. Discover the developments that occured in 18th century painting, while weaving in the fascinating culinary history of the time. After the tour, enjoy a four-course meal inspired by the exhibition by Chef Fernando Darin. ($100 members; $110 non-members)

Wine, beer, and cocktails will be available for an additional cost.

register here



image: Juan Patricio Morlete Ruiz (Mexico, 1713–1772), Portrait of Doña María Tomasa Durán López de Cárdenas (Retrato de doña María Tomasa Durán López de Cárdenas), c. 1762, oil on canvas, 40 3/16 × 33 1/16 in. (102 × 84 cm), Galería Coloniart, Collection of Felipe Siegel, Anna and Andrés Siegel, Mexico City, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA/Fomento Cultural Banamex, A.C., by Rafael Doniz

Cacao: The Story of Chocolate (Talk and Tasting)

codex zouche

Cacao: The Story of Chocolate (Talk and Tasting)

Sunday 1/14 from 4:30pm to 7:30pm

Getty Center

Discover the rich history of cacao from its origins as a frothy, bitter beverage prized by ancient Mesoamerican societies, through its introduction into the 16th century courts of Europe, and to the bean-to-bar craft traditions practiced in Los Angeles today.

Join Maite Gomez-Rejon of ArtBites, professor Sarah Portnoy and Patricia Tsai of Chocovico in exploring the global journey of cacao as well as the traditional practices and more modern inventions that inform the art of chocolate making.

After the talk, indulge in the ancient flavors of cacao beverages, sample flights of artisanal chocolate and enjoy chocolate-inspired desserts. Compliments the exhibition Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas. Tickets: $45 or $65 with wine/champagne/port pairing (21 and over for pairing option). Complimentary parking.


image: Codex Zouche-Nuttall, page 26, 1450 (obverse), Mixtec (Ñudzavui) culture; deerskin, gesso, pigment. The Trustees of the British Museum, London, UK, MSS 39671. Image © The Trustees of the British Museum / Art Resource, NY