Thursday, January 7, 2010

Make Your Own Adobo Seasoning (Adobo Seco)

Adobo Seco is a dry seasoning (not to be confused with the sauce) that I always keep on hand for use in just about every savory dish I cook. It's easy to make, contains no MSG and you can make it with or without salt (traditionally, most recipes do not call for salt).

Very flavorful but not hot, Adobo will perk up just about any dish: Chicken, beef, pork chops, ribs, tacos, burritos, you name it. Sprinkle it over French fries or fried potatoes, add it to scrambled eggs, invigorate a bland salsa with it, use it in Spanish rice, and so on. Do you make your own guacamole? Adobo takes it to a whole new level. Add 1/2 teaspoon per pound for use as a rub for chicken, beef, fish and pork. I kind of think of Adobo as Mexican Seasoned Salt (even when there's no salt in it).

You can make Adobo your own by experimenting with the taste and color. For instance, paprika will add a nice reddish color (smoked paprika gives it a real nice flavor, too!), chipotle chili powder gives it heat and color, turmeric adds a rich yellow color and an earthy, slightly hot peppery flavor, orange or lemon rind adds just a hint of citrus. You get the idea.

So here is my basic recipe, with some options you might want to try. Once you've made your own, you'll never leave home without it.

Makes about 1 Cup

  • 3 Tbsp. Kosher or sea salt (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp. onion powder
  • 3 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 3 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried citrus zest (orange, lemon, or lime)
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. ground Mexican saffron (Safflower) for color
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. achiote or chipotle chile powder
  • 1/4 Cup sweet or smoked paprika
Place all ingredients in bowl and mix well (a fork works well for that). Transfer to a clean jar with a tight fitting lid. Store for up to 2 months in a cool dry place (mine never lasts that long...)

And there you have it. Simple, inexpensive, DELICIOUS!

Buen Provecho!

If you have a favorite recipe for a Mexican or Mexican-inspired dish, I'd love to add it to our recipe box! email (and put "recipe" in the subject box so I'll know what it's about)


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