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Yucatecan achiote paste: Pasta de achiote by Karen Hursh Graber © 2001

Also known as recado colorado in the Yucatan, where it originated, this Yucatecan achiote paste is a marinating paste that can be used on chicken, pork or fish. Although the base for achiote paste is sold under several brand names, ready to be mixed with orange juice, this homemade version has a much fresher, livlier taste and keeps for months in the refrigerator. Annatto seeds are sold in Hispanic grocery stores and are also available on line. See The Mexican Kitchen: A Taste for All Seasons for a complete list of Internet and mail order sources for Mexican ingredients, herbs and spices.


  • 1/2 cup annatto (achiote) seeds
  • 10 large garlic cloves, roasted on a comal or griddle until charred, then peeled
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 whole allspice
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 cup bitter (Seville) orange juice, or use half sweet orange juice and half vinegar

Grind all of the ingredients except the orange juice in a spice mill or food processor.

Add the orange juice, a little at a time, until a thick paste is formed.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Link to source article
Winter sunshine: Mexican ways with citrus


Published or Updated on: January 1, 2001 by Karen Hursh Graber © 2001
Contact Karen Hursh Graber

Follow Karen as she travels through the Central Mexican state of Puebla, meeting local cooks, tasting the food, and collecting recipes. With over 75 recipes, plus sections on ingredients and cooking techniques, the book takes the reader on a journey through one of Mexico's oldest and most renowned culinary regions. It can be ordered online.

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