Large recado rojo red achiote pasta recipe

Recado Rojo (Red Achiote Paste)

This recipe comes to us courtesy of Jill Norman's fabulous spice book, "Herbs and Spices: The Cook's Reference." It's the best book on spices and herbs we've seen yet, and it has great recipes as well.

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Recado Rojo (Red Achiote Paste) Recipe

Preparation Instructions

Grind the first 6 ingredients to a powder in an electric spice mill. Achiote seeds are very hard, so it will take a little time. Crush the garlic with the salt in a mortar, then gradually work in the ground spices. A hot red chili pepper could be added; crush it with the garlic. Moisten with the vinegar or bitter orange juice so that you have a smooth paste.

Form the paste into small disks or balls and let them dry, or put the paste into an airtight container to dry. Whether dried, or as a paste, the recado will keep for several months if refrigerated.

To use, mix with more Seville orange juice.

Helpful Hints

The recado is essential to the local Spanish specialty in Seville, pollo pibil (chicken wrapped in banana leaves and steamed or baked). Fish can be cooked in the same way, and the mixture gives depth to soups and stews.

Recipe Equipment

If you don't have an electric spice mill, a regular coffee grinder works well. However, it's hard to get the spice flavor completely cleaned out, and you may decide to keep one for spices and a different one for coffee beans.


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can you use a blender


Juice of a lime and 1/4c orange juice instead of vinegar if no sour orange is available, and add some allspice or cinnamon stick in the spice grinder (or both). If needed thin with veg broth.

Agree, this is an indigenous recipe. Do not credit the Spaniard invaders.


Bridget, would have to be a pro blender.
get a $20 coffee grinder at Walgreens.


So glad to find this recipe, as it has become increasingly difficult to find a good quality mass-produced achiote paste.

Note: *This is actually a MAYAN recipe, NOT Spanish. The Spaniards may have brought it back with them to Spain, after the invasion of Mexico, but cochinita pibil is very much an ancient Mayan recipe.