Annatto is popularly cultivated plant species in the Americas, especially in Mexico. It is generally used for seasoning and colouring in the kitchen, but in addition to these culinary contributions, annatto has some great health benefits too.
It is a diuretic that helps improve kidney health and the urinary tract, it is used against digestive problems and is also a natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, to mention but a few of its health benefits. Including it in your cooking can bring these benefits closer to home and because its flavor is so unique, every meal using Annatto will be delicious and unforgetable.
Today you can buy ready-to-use Annatto liquid, but you can also prepare it at home:
- 4 tbsp. of annatto seeds
- 1/2 tsp. of Cumin
- ½ tsp. of Black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. of Allspice
- ½ tsp. of Oregano
- 3-4 Cloves
- ¼ tsp. of Salt
- ¼ tsp. of Nutmeg
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 2 lemons
- 1/3 cup of Orange juice
- 1/3 cup of White vinegar
- 2 habanero chilis
- Put all the spices together and grind to a fine powder using a processor or a mortar and pestle.
- Blend or process the previously cleaned chilis (seeded and deveined), along with the spice mixture, lemon juice, orange and vinegar.
- Process until a paste is formed that can be compacted. Add more juice if it is too dry.
“Cochinita pibil” (pork)
- ½ kg of pork chop
- ½ kg of pork leg
- 1 tbsp. of annatto paste
- ½ cup. of Vinegar
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 6 grains black pepper
- ¼ tsp. of Cumin
- ½ tsp. of Concentrated meat stock
- 1 cup of sour orange juice
- Salt (sufficient amount)
- Banana leaves
- Mix the vinegar and annatto then blend with garlic, pepper, cumin and broth.
- Add the orange juice mixture and season with salt.
- Marinate pork in this mixture in an airtight container and let stand overnight, or for at least 2 hours.
- Place the banana leaves in a container or in a pressure cooker trying to cover all areas.
- Place meat and marinade in the pot or container and bake or cook under pressure until the meat is tender.
- Serve with red onion and beans.
Tascalate (Annatto drink)
- 250 g of toast
- 60 gr. of cacao beans
- 10g of cinnamon
- 5 g of annatto seeds
- 150ml sugar
- Water or milk
- Peel and roast cacao beans.
- In a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients until completely ground.
- Mix with milk or water.
- Serve hot or cold.
Custard with Annatto
- 250 ml. of Milk
- 250 ml. of Cream
- 8 Yolks
- 150 gr. of Sugar
- 5 g. of annatto seeds (milled)
- 1 vanilla bean
- Split the vanilla bean in half
- Infuse the milk with the vanilla and annatto, add half the sugar and heat without letting it boil.
- Blanch the yolks with half the sugar and temper the milk mixture by adding a little to match the temperature and then completely empty in the cream.
- Return to very low heat until slightly thickened, stirring constantly and later, strain the preparation.
- Cook in a bain-marie in ramekins or ceramic containers for 25-30 minutes at 110°C
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.