Tag Archives: Pumpkin Seeds

Botanas y Antojitos~ Favorite Mexican Snacks

 I remember on our many trips to Mexico how I loved visiting my Tia Minerva’s home. She would prepare these great dinners for us. But before the dinner, there was always a table full of botanas and antojitos. There were churritos, durritos, spicy peanuts, pepitas, spicy pumpkin seeds, pork cueritos in escabeche, Mexican cheese, tostadas and a variety of salsas . It was always very festive. I learned to make churritos as a kid, when my dad was testing out batches of homemade corn masa. For many years, he designed and repaired commercial size corn tortillas machinery. This required him to grind and test the masa and he would save out a small portion and prepare churritos for us. He would take an empty tin can and drill holes in the bottom, pipe the masa in and push the churritos out into the hot oil. My dad was fun that way, he was so creative and could figure things out like “Macgyver”  , LOL!  This blog post will be all about some of my favorite antojitos I enjoyed growing up and how you can prepare a homemade version.  

 

Churritos and Durritos. Two popular mexican snacks or antojitos
Churritos and Durritos. Two popular mexican snacks or antojitos


1 1/2 cups warm water or chicken broth
2 teaspoons annatto powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups masa harina
3 cups canola oil
Chile Limon seasoning like homemade or store bought, Tajin brand

 

Masa harina is great for preparing tortillas, tamales and churritos when fresh tortillaria masa in unavailable.
Masa harina is great for preparing tortillas, tamales and churritos when fresh tortillaria masa in unavailable.
I keep a box of diposable pastry bags in my pantry. They come in handy for a variety of recipes.
I keep a box of diposable pastry bags in my pantry. They come in handy for a variety of recipes. Insert pastry bag into tall glass, fold over rim of glass and fill with dough.
You can fry the churritos in one continuous string or cut in into segments with a knife.
You can fry the churritos in one continuous string or cut in into segments with a knife.

 

1. In a bowl, mix the water or broth, annatto powder and salt. Gradually add in the masa harina and mix until dough forms. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.

2. Fill a diposable pastry bag with masa and cut off the tip. In a heavy pan, preheat your oil to 350 to 365 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set near pan of oil. Now you can pipe in one continous piece of masa or you can pipe in a 2 inch section and quickly cut with knife. I tried both methods and the 2 inch section worked best for me.

3. Fry about 12 to 15 churritos at one time for 4 minutes or until crispy. Drain onto lined baking sheets and season with chile limon powder while they are still warm. Continue frying until they are all done. Cool completely before storing in an airtight storage bag. They will keep for 3 to 5 days at room temperature. Yields about 3 cups.

Durritos

 

Durritos come in a variety of shapes. They have the texture of pork rinds when fried, but are made from flour.
Durritos come in a variety of shapes. They have the texture of pork rinds when fried, but are made from flour.

 

4. The Durritos come premade in a variety of shapes. Only drop a few at a time into hot oil. They fry quickly! Remove from oil and season while they are warm. 

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Pepitas de Calabaza~ Spicy Pumpkin Seeds (In the shell) Recipe

Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

 

2 cups cleaned  and rinsed pumpkin seeds (fresh from your pumpkin)
juice of 2 small lemons or limes
2 tablespoons tamarindo concentrate
1/2 teaspoon chile de arbol powder or cayenne pepper
1/3 teaspoon smoked serrano powder or chipotle pepper
3 teaspoons Tajin chile limon powder
Salt to taste

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Spicy Pumpkin Seeds Mixed with Tamarindo Concentrate, Chile Powders, Lemon, Chile Limon and Salt
Spicy Pumpkin Seeds Mixed with Tamarindo Concentrate, Chile Powders, Lemon, Chile Limon and Salt

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Stir well and taste for salt. Spread out onto a lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little more chile limon powder. Bake  in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring and spreading back out evenly every 5 to 6 minutes. Make sure you really watch them those last few minutes or they will burn. They will crisp up as they cool. Cool completely and store in a loose covered container. *Too much moisture may cause them to mold because they are so fresh.

 

Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
Spicy Pumpkin Seeds~ Pepitas de Calabaza

 

Clamatongo estilo Batilongo.

Clamatongo Estilo Batilongo

 

This for me is more like a meal than an antojito. I saw a picture come down the newsfeed on Pinterest one day and I had to investigate!! Come to find out, there is a real place of business named “Batilongo”. You can get a generous cup full of some of your favorite Mexican antojitos. You can choose from a variety fresh fruits, peanuts, tamarindo, churritos and so much more. Lime, chile limon powder and salsa botanera are some of the key ingredients as well. And of course you know I had to add some things I like, chile de arbol powder, jalapeño, fresno and mango enchilado. Made for a super kicked up Bloody Mary!

Clamatongo Estilo Batilongo

Clamatongo Estilo BatilongoTips~ I ordered all of my favorites from MexGrocer out of San Diego. Excellent customer service, product delivered right to your door! 

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups clamato, if you don’t like clamato, substitute with spicy V-8
juice of 3 key limes
2 teaspoons chile limon
1 teaspoon chile de arbol powder
2 tablespoons Valentina hot sauce or to taste
salt to taste
1 cup jicama diced
1 cup english cucumber, diced
1 jalapeño, sliced
1 fresno, sliced
1/2 cup japanese peanuts
1/3 cup pulparindo or mango enchilado, diced small
more valentina and salsa chamoy
more chile limon
Adult Antojitos~Add 1/2 cup citrus vodka! Oh Man!

1. In a bowl, combine the clamato, lime juice, 2 teaspoons chile limon, chile de arbol, valentina and salt to taste. Then add in the jicama and cucumbers and hot peppers. Mix, cover and let marinate  for a few hours or overnight.

2. To serve, divide into two  to four dishes with the marinated mixture. Top with japones cocktail peanuts, mango or pulparindo, valentina and chile limon.

 Tips~Clamatongo Cocktail. If adding vodka, add it to the mixture after it marinates and before garnishing.

Clamatongo Estilo Batilongo

 

Clamatongo Estilo Batilongo

 

Recipe for Homemade Chile Limon Seasoning

Homemade Chile Limon Seasoning Prepared with Chile de Arbol
Homemade Chile Limon Seasoning Prepared with Chile de Arbol


2 cups chile de arbol (dried)
2 chipotle peppers (dried)
1 1/2 teaspoons sour salt (citric acid)
Kosher salt to taste (I added about 3 1/2 teaspoons)

 

Citric acid is readily available in large, well stocked markets.
Citric acid/ sour salt  is readily available in large, well stocked markets. It called sour salt, but does not contain sodium.
One of my favorite antojitos is homemade chile limon seasoning on fresh fruit.
One of my favorite antojitos is homemade chile limon seasoning on fresh fruit.

 

1. Remove any stems from dried chiles if they have any. Leave seeds in. Add the dried chiles to a skillet. Heat to medium/low heat and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, turning often. You just want the peppers to become slightly aromatic and dry out a little more.

2. In batches, grind the peppers to a coarse grind using a spice grinder or coffee bean grinder. I only use my coffee grinder for spices only.

3. Combine the ground up chiles with sour salt and kosher salt to taste. Keep store in an airtight container. Makes about 1 cup. My favorite way to enjoy the chile limon seasoning is on fresh fruit.

Tips~ I only use my coffee grinder for spices. They are fairly inexpensive, so I would suggest using it only for spices. 

Homemade Chile Limon Seasoning and Fresh Fruit!
Homemade Chile Limon Seasoning and Fresh Fruit!

Fruta Fresca

Fresh fruits, pineapple, watermelon, mango with cucumbers and jicama, lime juice, chile limon powder and hot sauce!

 

Dried Chiles~ Staples of a Mexican Kitchen

For as far back as I can remember, there were a few”must have” staples  in my Mom’s kitchen. Tomatoes, fresh chiles, onions, cilantro and a variety of dried chile peppers. What, no garlic? People are surprised when I tell them how fresh garlic was not used in my mom’s everyday cooking  as they had imagined. The fresh garlic was reserved for cooking frijoles or caldos (soups). I always assumed that it was because she was too busy raising eight kids, she did not have time to mince garlic, lol! Of course there was always that jar of garlic powder in the cupboard for guisados and rice. Since those days, I have learned to cook with fresh garlic and lots of it. One thing that was a constant was that storage container with half torn plastic bags of dried chile peppers, such as chile ancho and chile de arbol. The chile ancho was must for tamales, chile colorado and costillas de puerco. And with tamales, came the salsa de tomatillo, prepared spicy with the added chile de arbol.  For this blog post today, I want to share some pictures of the dried chiles I keep in my kitchen. Besides the few dishes I mentioned above, you can prepare a variety of sauces and salsa’s using the dried chiles. For the first entry, I prepared a spicy salsa recipe that was inspired and adapted from a bottle of hot sauce from my favorite Mexican chef Rick Bayless. It’s a Toasted Chile Salsa, which also includes toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and ajonjoli (sesame seeds). I have prepared many dried chile recipes and will add a few new ones to this post every month.

Dried chiles can be used in everyday dishes to add a little heat and rich red colors!
Dried chiles can be used in everyday dishes to add a little heat and rich red colors!

 

Toasted Chile Salsa

1/4 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup ajonjoli (sesame seeds)
24 chile de arbol, stems removed
2 chile guajillo
1/2 tablespoon Mexican oregano
2 cloves garlic, smashed
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1 key lime
salt to taste

 

Toasted Chile Salsa with pumpkin, sesame seeds, oregano
Toasted Chile Salsa with pumpkin, sesame seeds, oregano

 

1. Preheat a comal or griddle pan to medium/low heat for 5 minutes. Add all the chiles, pepitas and ajonjoli to the comal or griddle. When toasting chiles, seeds or nuts, you should never leave unattended because they can burn easily. Toast them for about 5 to 7 minutes, turning as needed. 

2. When the peppers become aromatic and blacken in some spots, they are ready. the sesame seeds and pepitas will also turn slightly brown in color.If you let any of them go too long, they will taste bitter. Before removing ingredients from comal, add the oregano for a minute. 

3. Transfer all of the ingredients to the blender. Add all of the remaining ingredients listed. Blend on high until smooth. You will have to psh ingredients down with a spatula a couple of times to make sure it all blends well. Taste for salt. If you want to thin out the salsa a little more, just add a little more water.

Dried chiles, herbs,nuts and seeds are all essential to an authentic Mexican kitchen.
Dried chiles, herbs,nuts and seeds are all essential to an authentic Mexican kitchen.

 

Salsa Ranchera Estilo La Costeña. I remember going home to L.A. and trips to the Giant Dollar store. Mom would purchase at least 10 jars of La Costeña brand Salsa Ranchera. Not many store bought brands she liked, but this one was delicious! This is my version of the Salsa Ranchera but with chile de arbol instead of jalapeños.

Salsa Ranchera

6 tomatillos, peeled and washed
4 chile ancho
12 to 24 chile de arbol depending on your heat level.
4 cloves garlic
1/4 of a white onion
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt to taste

*If using the fresh jalapeño, I would start with at least  4 to 5

Salsa Ranchera

Tips~For my version of this salsa, I prefer to use chile de arbol. I believe the bottled version they use jalapeños.

Salsa RancheraNot the best time for foods photos, in the evening…

Directions

1. Remove the stems and seeds from the chile ancho and just the stems from chile de arbol.

2. Add all of the ingredients, minus the oregano, cumin and salt, to a pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep for 20 minutes.

3. Drain the water and transfer to the blender. Add the oregano, cumin and salt to taste. Blend on high until smooth.

Salsa Ranchera

Chile de Arbol
Chile de Arbol is my favorite, go to pepper for many of my salsa recipes. It pairs well with tomatillos!

2Salsa Ranchera

 

Toasted Chile de Arbol Hot Sauce, a variation that is prepared with   mostly vinegar and water. I learned how to prepare an Asian style chile sauce a few years back and this is the same method I used to prepare this recipe. I did not add any sugar, but you most certainly can if you like it sweet and spicy. Besides just enjoying it as a hot sauce, I use this as a base for a spicy marinade on seafood or chicken with a little added oil , citrus and more garlic.

Chile de Arbol Hot Sauce. The vinegar will preserve this chile sauce for a few months.
Chile de Arbol Hot Sauce. The vinegar will preserve this chile sauce for a few months. The charred tomatillos gives this hot sauce a nice finish.



1/4 pound of Chile de arbol
4 cloves garlic, sliced
2 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
4 roasted tomatillos (I char them on the stove top in a little oil)
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt to taste…I used about 5 teaspoons
3 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons water to make a slurry

1. Toast the chile de arbol in a skillet and medium/low heat for a few minutes. Turn it often so it does not burn. You will have some dark spots and it will become aromatic. Remove from heat and transfer to the blender.

2. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the blender, minus the cornstarch slurry. Blend on high until mostly smooth.

3. Transfer hot sauce to saucepan and heat to medium. As soon as it comes to a low simmer, whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Stir well to combine and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Taste for salt. Let cool completely at room temperature before storing in an airtight container. It will keep in refrigerator for a few months.

Toasting the chile de arbol adds a nice smoky flavor. They toast quickly. I remove them from the heat as soon as they become aromatic.
Toasting the chile de arbol adds a nice smoky flavor. They toast quickly. I remove them from the heat as soon as they become aromatic.

 

Salsa de Aceite Estilo las Carretas~ Oil Based Chile de Arbol Salsa

I have prepared this style of salsa before many times, but really did not know the true name for it, lol! The other day while browsing through youtube, I came across a food video in Spanish and there it was! I like to add some vinegar to mine for that hint of acid that I love so much.

Salsa de Chile de Arbol con Aceite
1/2 cup oil, I used an olive oil and  canola blend, plus 1/4 cup separate

1/4 pound chile de arbol, stems removed

5 chile New Mexico or guajillos, stems and seeds removed
6 cloves garlic
1/3 cup cider vinegar, or more to taste
Salt to taste
*more oil if needed

Chile de Arbol and Garlic steeped in oil for salsa
Chile de Arbol and Garlic steeped in oil for salsa

1. In a pan, combine the 1/2 cup oil, chile de arbol, new mexico peppers and garlic. Bring up to temperature at medium heat. When the peppers become aromatic, lower heat and stir often. You want the peppers to become bright red and slightly soft. Do not let them get dark or they will be bitter. Remove from heat and let cool.

2. Transfer chile/oil mixture to the blender, add vinegar, another 1/4 cup oil and salt to taste. Pulse to blend, adding more oil if it’s too thick. Yields about 2 cups.

Salsa de Aceite Estilos las Carretas
Salsa de Aceite Estilos las Carretas

 

Chile Japones
Chile Japones is very similar to chile de arbol, a good substitute when chile de arbol is not available

 

Chile Pequin
Chile Pequin is one of my favorites, hard to find, spicy, adds great flavor and heat!

 

Chile Ancho
Chile Ancho is the pepper commonly found in most dark chili powders, mild most of the time.

 

Chiles New Mexico, California and Guajillos are very similar
Chiles New Mexico, California and Guajillos are very similar and mild, but add a great vibrant red color

 

Chile Pasilla tends to be one of the darkest in color
Chile Pasilla tends to be one of the darkest in color.

 

Chile Chipotle adds some good heat and smoky flavors to your recipes
Chile Chipotle adds some good heat and smoky flavors to your recipes