Whenever I visit family back in California, one of my first shopping stops is the local Mexican supermarket.
The food I cook most while there is Mexican food, so I stock up for the days I’m there and also purchase lots more ingredients to bring back to the UK with me.
One of the essential ingredients I buy is achiote (also called annatto) seeds to make this achiote paste recipe.
What is achiote paste?
You can use this achiote paste recipes in lots of different Mexican and Latin American dishes. Achiote comes in both seed and paste form. I purchase the seeds to make my own paste.
Making your own achiote paste you will get much better results that anything you can purchase in paste form.
Although achiote (annatto) is not used much in other cuisines, it’s natural food colouring can is used to colour butter and cheeses among other things.
What does achiote paste taste like?
Try this achiote paste recipe and you are in for a delicious flavour that is often lacking in Mexican food cooked outside of the Americas.
It has an earthy, somewhat nutty flavour. It can often taste slightly sweet too. Although I have tried substitutes, there really isn’t a substitute for the real thing.
How long does this achiote paste recipe keep?
Go ahead and make this whole batch. I think you might even double the achiote paste recipe the next time you make it when you see how good it makes your Mexican food taste.
You can keep your finished achiote paste in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three months to use as and when you need it.
If you love Mexican food, you might like to try some of these recipe too…
- 2 whole cloves
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- ¼ cup achiote (annatto) seeds
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 5 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup (70ml) distilled white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- Place the cloves, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and black peppercorns in a dry frying pan and roast them over medium high heat until warm to the touch and fragrant. About 30 - 40 seconds should do.
- Pour into a pestle and mortar and pound to a fine powder.
- Add the achiote seeds and pound them into a powder too.
- Now add the garlic and salt and pound some more until you have a fine paste.
- Stir in the vinegar, lime zest and lime juice and continue working with your pestle into the paste.
- Store in the fridge for up to three months in an air-tight container and use as required.
This can all be done in a spice grinder too.
I hope you try this achiote paste recipe. If you do, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.