Molcajete preparado translates to prepared molcajete. Before I get too far into the blog post, let’s not forget the main use for the molcajete is to prepare delicious traditional and authentic salsa recipes! Who doesn’t want to experience a hot lava bowl filled to the rim with spicy salsa, shrimp, carne asada, nopalitos, queso and longaniza? Lol! Ok, it’s not for every cook, but I felt I had to challenge myself. This recipe definitely requires multi tasking. Are you ready to take on the challenge?
What did I do before video?
I don’t know! Producing videos can be a bit intimidating, to say the least. Used to feel like a goal that was so unattainable and difficult. Definitely not a professional by any means, but I have come a long way from those first videos, lol! Heck, some 20 second videos on some social media platforms go viral and change people’s lives from one day to the next! That’s not happening here, ha, ha, ha! My main goal, as I have stated before, is to share good content that is informative and helpful.
Now that you have learned to cure and season your molcajete, use it!
What’s holding you back from using your molcajete. Nine out of ten times, I use my power blender when preparing salsa recipes. A couple of reasons I choose the blender over the molcajete are, I need bigger quantities of salsa, I need a extra smooth salsa, I am in a hurry and or my wrists hurt bad! On good days though, I will take the time to prepare a small bowl of spicy molcajete salsa for tacos. Definitely worth it. Molcajete salsa is meant to be enjoyed that day, in my opinion. Once you transfer it to a storage container, it’s not the same, lol! Just kidding!
If you really want to impress your dinner guest, serve them up a hot appetizer in the molcajete!
Serving food in the average size molcajete is best suited for 2-4 people. All if the food has to be prepped and cooked ahead of time or while your molcajete has had a chance to really get hot. Good at multi tasking? This recipe is ideal for an out door grill where you can grill a variety of different ingredients at the same time. After the molcajete has been heating for more that 40 minutes, you can start grilling the vegetables, nopales and lastly the thin bistecs or shrimp to finish. I use a large inexpensive resin tortilla warmer to keep my cooked ingredients in. Everything stays warm and doesn’t dry out. When my molcajete is ready, I begin to assemble. Best to place hot molcajete on a sturdy wooden cutting board before filling it.
Take your time and don’t rush the process!
Whatever you do, don’t attempt to rush heating up the molcajete. Let it heat up gradually to ensure that it’s going to be hot enough all the way through to keep the food warm. Don’t overcook the ingredients because they will continue to cook once you add them into that extra hot(temperature wise) salsa. I don’t recommend adding uncooked meat or seafood to the hot salsa in the molcajete, unless you tested it before. Never add cold salsa to a hot molcajete or it may crack. So many things to remember, lol! You will do just fine.
Smoother salsas work best when preparing a molcajete preparado.
A thinner salsa that flows well works best. Remember the salsa will continue cooking in the molcajete and it will become slightly thicker.
I tend to favor a spicy tomato chile de arbol salsa for a beef molcajete and a spicy salsa verde with seafood. It’s really up to you. If you are looking for a more mild salsa, it’s easy. Add less chile peppers and bump up the tomato or tomatillos in the recipe.
Medium to large shrimp are just the right size for this recipe. You could always decorate the rim of the molcajete with some over sized grilled shrimp to really make an impression.
Simple salt and pepper on a thin beef steak(bistec) like diezmillo(chuck steaks), espaldilla(beef shoulder) or cecina works and cooks ups quickly. Add more flavor by brushing on a spicy adobo before you grill or pan sear your thin steaks. The color of the adobo bright red to a dark rust depends on what kinds of dried chile pods you use.
If all you have is nopales in a jar, use them!
Grilled nopales are my absolute favorite! There was a time I couldn’t get fresh nopales and I used the big jar of previously cooked nopales in all of my recipes. Can’t find spring onions(cebollitas), larger green onions will work. Any of your favorite grilled vegetables will work. Example, bell pepper, zucchini, asparagus, red onion, corn and more.
- Large Molcajete should hold at least 2 or more cups of liquid
- griddle or comal
- 4 spring onions trimmed, sliced open
- 2 serrano pepper
- 2 jalapeño pepper
- 2 large cactus paddles(whole nopales) or 4 small ones
- 6 oz Semi soft queso panela or shredded Chihuahua cheese
- Salt and pepper
- avocado oil
- 1 lb tomatillos
- 1/4 section white onion
- 2 serrano peppers stems removed
- 2 jalapeño peppers stems removed
- 2 cloves of garlic
- handful of cilantro
- 3/4 cup cooking water
- Salt, to taste
Pan Seared Shrimp
- 1 lb med or large shrimp peeled and cleaned
- 1 tbsp chile cascabel powder or mix 1/2 chile ancho and 1/2 chipotle powders
- 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- avocado oil
Stove top grilled ingredients
- First! While your grill pan preheats at medium, prep your ingredients. They should be sliced and diced to desire size. Slicing the bottom of cactus paddle prevents it from curling up while it grills. Also adding a light sprinkle of salt onto cactus(nopales) ahead will pull out some of the baba(sticky liquid) from the cactus before grilling.
- Lightly coat the vegetables with oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Place on hot grill pan and avoid touching them for 3-4 minutes or until you see some grill marks, Don't overcrowd the pan or the vegetables will just steam. Turn as needed. Place in shallow baking pan or on a plate. Loosely cover with foil. Set aside. if you have a lot of vegetables, you may have to cook them in batches.
- Remember, multi tasking is the key to finish this recipe in a timely manner! Transfer peeled and washed tomatillo to a pot with the onion. Cover with water. Bring to a light boil and cook just until tomatillos turn color 3/4 of the way.
- Preheat a small skillet to medium for a few minutes. When ready brush lightly with oil. Place the jalapeños and serranos in skillet. Roast for 20 minutes, turning as needed.
- Drain out 3/4 of the water from the tomatillos and transfer to the blender. Also to the blender add the roasted chile peppers, garlic, cilantro and salt to taste. Blend on high until mostly smooth. Taste for salt. Transfer to medium pot. Set aside.
- Hold off cooking the shrimp until the molcajete is hot enough. After about 45 minutes or so. Season the cleaned shrimp with seasoning listed. Drizzle with enough oil to coat evenly. Set aside.
- Preheat skillet to medium/high heat for a few minutes.
- Add a single layer of shrimp in preheated skillet. Drizzle 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of oil over shrimp. Turn shrimp as needed. This is a quick cook. About two minutes. Very important that you don't overcook the shrimp. Transfer the shrimp to a resin tortilla warmer(if you have one) or covered dish. Set aside.
Assemble the molcajete
- Take the reserved salsa in a pot and heat on medium/high. After a few minutes, salsa will begin to lightly simmer. Reduce heat to low.
- Using two thick pot holders, carefully flip the extra hot molcajete over onto a thick sturdy board. If you are adding some ingredients to the bottom(sauteed onion, roasted poblano strips, cheese), add them now.
- Pour in just enough salsa to go up 1/2 of the way up the molcajete. Add the previously cooked meat or seafood in the center. If adding longanizo or chorizo, add it to one side. Fill spots with semi soft cheese(panela or queso fresco or melting cheese), cebollitas, drape nopales over the side. Top with grilled chile peppers(chiles toreados), fresh avocado or your favorite grilled ingredients. The ingredients in the center will be extremely hot! Serve with warm corn or flour tortillas and extra salsa. Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as an appetizer.