Posts Tagged ‘Truly Mexican’

19th March
written by Arthur

Many of the recipes in my new favorite Mexican cookbook, Truly Mexican, call for chile powder.  Yes, you can buy the stuff in the store and the cookbook’s author gives you the go ahead to use the store bought stuff when the homemade isn’t on hand. But making the chile powder from scratch is so easy, cheap, and quick I’m willing to make the investment.  Plus, I love spice.  Having a another option to spice-up any meal in front of me is a good thing and the powder stores up to three months.  I’ve only made the recipe using árbol chiles, but I’m very curious to try the other options.

I don’t have a spice grinder, but the blender method worked out great.

The recipe yields 1/4 cup.



1 ounce dried árbol (30 to 40), cascabel (about 5), or chipotle mora (8 to 10, purplish-red color) chiles, wiped clean and stemmed.


Heat or comal, griddle, or heavy skillet over low heat for árbol chiles and medium-low for cascabel and chipotle chiles.

For the árbol chiles, toast them, turning them over and pressing them down frequently with tongs until they are browned with some blackened spots, about 8 minutes.

For the cascabel chiles, break each into about 3 pieces for easier toasting, then shake out and reserve the seeds.  Toast the pieces turning them over and pressing down frequently with tong, until they turn a lighter, slightly mottled red, about 1 minute.  Remove the pieces.  Toast the seed in the skillet, shaking and tossing, until they’er lightly browned and fragrant, 20 to 30 seconds.

For the chipotle mora chiles, toast them, turning them over frequently, until dark, blackish blisters appear in spots (some will even puff up), 3 to 5 minutes.

Grind or blend the chiles (and the toasted seed, if you’re using cascabel chiles) to a powder in a spice grinder or blender jar.

Store in an airtight container in a cool dark place (not in the refrigerator) for up to 3 months.

29th November
written by Arthur

Last year, Loren posted about gifting Good Meat to his brother.  After receiving the book, Loren’s brother sat down to give it Saturday read with a few cups of tea.  I had the much the same experience when I got my hands on Truly Mexican.

The author Roberto Santibanez is the head chef of Fonda (the restaurant that redefined Mexican food for me).  Before I’d eaten at Fonda, I heard Santibanez on The Splendid Table and knew I had to learn more about real Mexican food.  My meals at Fonda have blown me away and I could only resist buying this book for so long.

The cookbook offers up page after page of instruction, recipes, and beautiful photos.  The reader is taken through the basics (how do you core a tomato, roast garlic, or pit an avocado) through easily executed salsas, guacamoles, and adobos to the advanced 22 ingredient multi-hour process that is the legendary mole poblano.

Another thing I love about this cookbook is the fact that Santibanez recognizes that owning the book doesn’t mean that you automatically live in Mexico or give you access to markets filled with the proper ingredients. To help bridge the gap between grocery store reality and Mexican cooking necessity, Truly Mexican lists a number of websites where more obscure chilies and other ingredients can be purchased and offers a few alternative chili peppers for some of the dishes.  I know it would be great to make my way to a proper store to purchase these items, but it’s nice to know I don’t have to to get what I need.

I haven’t gotten to cooking anything from here yet, but, once I’ve take care of Thanksgiving leftovers, Taco Tuesday better look out!  For now, I’m happy to page through this tasty tome before bed.