Yes, I said seis – not cinco.
On Cinco de Mayo my family and I pretended we were Greek, instead of pretending we were Mexican. We celebrated Easter for a second time by going out for a wonderful Greek dinner at one my parent’s favorite restaurants, Oceanos. While our dinner was really delicious and lovely treat from my mom and dad, it didn’t stop my husband from craving Mexican food we traditionally eat on Cinco de Mayo.
I promised that I would make it up to him by making some sort of taco dish on Monday, Seis de Mayo. Recently, Skinny Taste posted a recipe for an Adobo dry rub, courtesy of Aaron Sanchez, a prominent Food Network personality and renowned chef. It would be perfect for either chicken or steak tacos! As soon as I saw it, I “pinned” it for later and told myself that I needed to make the spice mix soon. After all, this blog is titled Serif and Spice!
I love spice mixes. There are some decent store bought mixes available, but the best spice mixes are the ones you create yourself. The benefit of making them yourself is that you can adapt the blend to your tastes and needs. Want something spicier? Add more spice. Don’t want all that sodium? Cut out the salt entirely or limit it. Plus, if you happen to have all the ingredients on hand, the blend is much cheaper than store bought.
This Adobo seasoning blend combines two types of dried chiles, Pasilla and Ancho, plus other spices like cumin, coriander, paprika, oregano and garlic. Pasilla chiles, also called Chile negro, are a dried chilaca peppers. Often dubbed “little raisin,” the taste is smokey and almost raisin like. An Ancho chili is a dried Poblano pepper. Ancho chiles taste very similar to Pasilla’s but are rated just a touch higher on the Scoville heat scale, both of which are still less spicy than a Jalepeno pepper.
This spice mix has a wonderful smokey depth of flavor, thanks to the peppers themselves, and because of toasting some of the spice seeds before grinding them. Skinny Taste instructs to take out the seeds of the dried peppers. This will keep the heat level fairly minimal. Generally, the heat from a pepper comes from its seeds and ribs. I followed this step, but wished that I had left the seeds in. I wanted a little more spice from the over all product and I plan to add a little cayenne or chipotle pepper powder to my leftover mix. So if you like spicy food, include the seeds of at least one of the peppers when you grind them up.
Aaron’s Mexican Dry Adobo Seasoning
(Makes about a 1/2 cup)
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 dried pasilla chile, stemmed, seeded, deveinied and torn into small pieces
- 1/2 dried ancho chile, stemmed, seeded, deveinied and torn into small pieces
- 2 tbsp dried whole Mexican oregano
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp sweet Spanish paprika (I used half sweet/half smoked)
Note: I couldn’t find mustard seeds at the store and used 1 tsp of ground mustard instead. I bet it would have been even tastier if I was able to find them.
Step 1 – Measure onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and oregano. Place in a small bowl, reserve. Measure cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, pour into dry skillet. Break apart dried peppers, de-seed if desired, add to skillet with spice seeds.
Step 2 – Toast cumin , coriander, fennel, mustard, and peppers in a dry skillet over low heat, stirring constantly till spices become aromatic (about 3 minutes). Do not let burn. Transfer mixture to a bowl to bring back to room temperature.
Step 3 – When spices are cooled, grind to a powder using a spice grinder or mortal and pestle (a spice grinder would be much faster). Combine with spices in reserved bowl and mix well. Store in an air tight container for up to one month.
Also note: This recipe has no salt in it. If using as seasoning on meat, I’d advise salting the meat first and then apply the dry rub. The right amount of salt will help bring out the flavors in your dish.
As I said above, I made tacos for dinner. I used the dry rub on my chicken before I baked in the oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, then shredded it.
Our tacos were soft gluten free corn tortilla’s, shredded chicken, chopped avocados, sauteed red onions and green peppers, topped with feta cheese and a drizzle of saracha hot sauce.