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Annatto Seeds

Annatto seeds come from the tropical achiote tree. Their taste is nutty and mildly peppery. As a paste they add depth to Mexico’s spicy cochinita pibil and to many Caribbean dishes.

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Used extensively in Mexican kitchens, annatto seeds are often used to make achiote oil, which is used in rice dishes and stews. To make achiote oil, cook annatto seeds in hot oil until their skin dissolves. Once the oil turns bright yellow, discard the seeds and use the oil for cooking. The seeds can also be made into adobo paste - grind them with garlic and any variety of chili pepper. Annatto seed makes a much cheaper substitute for saffron's golden coloring; but it does not replicate saffron’s distinct flavor.

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