Fresco de Chan, or Chan Red Lemonade for the Holidays

Originally posted on Delicious El Salvador the blog by Alicia Maher:




Fresco de Chan, or Chan Red Lemonade for the Holidays by Alicia Maher

Generations of Salvadorans have enjoyed, and continue to savor,  these seeds in a delicious cold beverage called Fresco de Chan, or Chan Red Lemonade. Chan seeds are rich in Omega 6, amino acids, magnesium and vitamin B.

Add your favorite vodka and turn it into a festive holiday cocktail.

The chan plant, also known by it’s Latin name Hiptis Suaveolens, is a small shrub that produces these nutritious tiny black seeds. Many people confuse them with Chia Seeds (Salvia Hispanica) because they look similar, and both come from the same botanical family.  Both plants, however, carry nutritional properties that provide a long list of mineral and vitamins.

Serves 6-8

14 cups of water

4 ounces of Chan seeds or substitute for Chia Seeds

1/2 cup strawberry extract

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 cups white granulated…

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Rompope/Eggnog with Cinnamon and Rum

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This simple eggnog recipe brings happy and sweet memories of my grandmother and my aunts from Ahuachapan and their Christmas dishes. The table was a feast of Salvadoran dishes that included tamales, stuffed roasted turkey with salsa criolla, panes con pavo, potato salad, rice with vegetables, desserts, a nice variety of pan dulces and of course Rompope con Canela y Ron. There are some things you have to pass on to the next generations and this recipe is one of them. I have continued my abuela and aunts tradition, every year I prepare this holiday drink for family and friends.


Serves 4


5 cups of whole cold milk

1 ½ cups white granulated sugar

1 large cinnamon stick

10 egg yolks

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

1 cup white rum

Pinch of ground cinnamon


In a 4 quart pan, combine the whole milk, sugar and cinnamon stick. Cook over medium-low fire, stir often until it comes to a full boil. Turn off fire and remove the cinnamon stick.

Immediately, whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Slowly, add the hot milk, whisking rapidly at the same time, until all the liquid has been incorporated.

Place the mixture back into the pan and return to the stove over very low fire. Stir frequently and continue cooking, not boiling, for another 5 minutes. Make sure that at this point it does not boil because it will curd.

Remove from the stove and let it cool. Add the vanilla and rum and mix well. Chill in the refrigerator overnight and serve in your favorite holiday glass, sprinkle the top with the ground cinnamon.

Thank you Latin Kitchen for publishing my recipe


Building Family Memories with Leche Poleada

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Building Family Memories with Leche Poleada

By Alicia Maher

My three sons are all adults now. James is the oldest, he is 25, Richard, the middle one, is 23, and Thomas is 21.
Each one has unique physical attributions, separate interests, and different circle of friends, but the one thing they have always shared is their love for Salvadoran food. Their favorite Salvadoran dessert is Leche Poleada. Their faces still light up at the sight of this delicious, traditional and sumptuous Salvadoran vanilla custard.
My grandmother taught me how to make this dish. Is one of the recipes in my cookbook. In El Salvador, you can also find this delicious dessert at the Mercados, and is commonly plated on corn husk boats, talking about being green!!!
We are a close-knit family and love each other dearly! I firmly believe that the time I have spent cooking for the family was well worth it; they love and respect food, as sustenance and art, but more importantly they each carry lasting memories of love, comfort and sharing. Long live traditions and family!!!



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Vanilla Custard
Leche Poleada

Few things could be better than eating this delicate and smooth custard! The sprinkle of cinnamon takes the flavor all the way to the top.

Serves 4-6

2 egg yolks
4 tablespoons cornstarch
¾ cup granulated white sugar
3 cups cold milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a small bowl beat the egg yolks well and set aside.

In a medium saucepan off the heat, combine the cornstarch and sugar with a whisk. Slowly add in the milk and mix until smooth.

Heat the mixture over a medium flame, whisking continuously until it thickens. Once it reaches a boil, take 2 tablespoons of the custard mixture and quickly whisk into the egg yolks; this will temper the egg yolks to avoid curding when they come in contact with the boiling custard.

Now, briskly whisk the egg yolks into the custard. Reduce heat to medium low, continue cooking, and constantly whisk for 10 more minutes. Turn off the heat, add the vanilla, and continue whisking for another 2 minutes to release the steam.

Serve hot for a creamy texture. If serving cold the custard will set and harden a bit. Sprinkle each serving with cinnamon.

Green beans and eggs recipe by Alicia Maher

Originally posted on Delicious El Salvador the blog by Alicia Maher:

Green beans and eggs recipe by Alicia Maher from Delicious El Salvador


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Green beans and eggs recipe from Delicious El Salvador by Alicia Maher

Green Beans and Eggs

Ejotes con Huevo

Past and present generations of Salvadoran have enjoyed this dish at the family table. Although it is light and simple, it is a complete meal by itself. I would venture to say that it is one of the few recipes in this book that is prepared the same way in every region of the country. Eat it with Salvadoran corn tortillas for a gluten free meal!

Serves 4-6

4 cups green beans (about 1 pound), tips off, cut in ½-inch pieces

4 cups of water

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

½ cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped ripe Roma tomatoes

½ cup chopped cilantro

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon chicken…

View original 130 more words

Fresco de Chan, or Chan Red Lemonade for the Holidays







Fresco de Chan, or Chan Red Lemonade for the Holidays by Alicia Maher

Generations of Salvadorans have enjoyed, and continue to savor,  these seeds in a delicious cold beverage called Fresco de Chan, or Chan Red Lemonade. Chan seeds are rich in Omega 6, amino acids, magnesium and vitamin B.

Add your favorite vodka and turn it into a festive holiday cocktail.

The chan plant, also known by it’s Latin name Hiptis Suaveolens, is a small shrub that produces these nutritious tiny black seeds. Many people confuse them with Chia Seeds (Salvia Hispanica) because they look similar, and both come from the same botanical family.  Both plants, however, carry nutritional properties that provide a long list of mineral and vitamins.

Serves 6-8

14 cups of water

4 ounces of Chan seeds or substitute for Chia Seeds

1/2 cup strawberry extract

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar

Vodka to taste

Ice to taste


In a large pitcher, combine well the water and chan seeds. Let the seeds soak in the water for about 30 to 40 minutes, until they all have expanded, and can float on top. Add the strawberry extract, lemon juice,  sugar and vodka. Stir well and serve over ice to taste.  Enjoy!


Pastelitos de Carne for the Dia de Los Difuntos in El Salvador

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Pastelitos de Carne for the Dia de Los Difuntos in El Salvador By Alicia Maher

Today is Dia de Los Difuntos in El Salvador. Is a day to remember our dead ancestors. Millions of people across the country flock to the cemeteries, with flowers in hand, to visit the tomb of their dear ones. Food vendors set up booths outside the cemeteries to sell all sorts of traditional fare to feed the hungry and tired visitors. This recipe is one of the dishes you find at these booths. These pastelitos or Salvadoran empanadas taste so good, they are hot and crunchy and perfect to hold with your hands. Enjoy

Recipes below are from my cookbook Delicious El Salvador.

Salvadoran Empanadas

Pastelitos de Carne

These crispy and delectable Salvadoran empanadas are filled with minced meat and vegetables. In El Salvador they are served as an afternoon snack, but they also make great appetizers for parties. To save time, cook the fillings and assemble the empanadas the day before. You can refrigerate them overnight in a covered container before frying them.

Serves 4-6 (2-3 per person)

1 cup instant corn masa flour
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons water (7 ounces)
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
1 teaspoon ground annatto seeds
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup cooled Minced Pork and Vegetables (Recipe below)
1½ cups vegetable oil
1 cup Pickled Cabbage, Onions, and Carrots (Recipe below)

Place the corn masa flour in a shallow bowl. Mix in the water, chicken bouillon, ground annatto, and salt. Knead by hand for about 5 minutes until the dough is moist and fluffy. If needed, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time. Divide the dough into 12 equal small balls. The dough can be prepared the day before, if covered and refrigerated.

With wet hands, press and pat each ball between your palms and flatten into thin dough rounds that are about 3 inches in diameter. Place the flattened rounds on top of plastic wrap, waxed paper, or a damp kitchen towel to prevent them from sticking to any solid surface.

In the center of each dough round, place about ½ to 1 tablespoon of the Minced Pork and Vegetable filling, then fold the dough over the fillings into a crescent. Seal the edges with your fingertips or the tines of a fork.

In a medium saucepan heat the oil over a medium to high flame until very hot or 360ºF if using a frying thermometer. Fry the empanadas until golden brown. Serve with a side of Pickled Cabbage and Carrots.


Minced Pork and Vegetables
Picadillo de Cerdo con Verduras

This is a very tasty and versatile dish. The finely diced meat and vegetables provide a wonderful texture and are very pleasing to the palate. This is the recipe for the filling used in Salvadoran Empanadas. The pork can be substituted with boneless chicken thighs. This recipe can also be served as a side dish.

Use as filling for Salvadoran Empanadas
or Serves 4-6

2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, fat trimmed, cut into 2- to 3-inch chunks
6 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup minced tomato, seeds removed
½ cup finely diced potatoes
½ cup finely diced carrots
½ cup peeled, pitted, and finely diced chayote
½ cup thinly sliced fresh green beans
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Rinse the pork in cold water.

In a deep pot, combine the pork, water, bay leaf, and salt over high heat. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Skim the foam from the top; repeat as necessary. Cover the pot and cook for about 2 hours or until the meat is very tender. Uncover and cook for 10 more minutes. Remove the meat from the pot and let it rest on a chopping board for 15 minutes. Discard the bay leaf, and reserve 1 cup of broth. Finely dice the pork and set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and tomato, and sauté for 1 minute; then add the potatoes, carrots, chayote, green beans, and broth. Combine and bring to a quick boil, reduce the flame to low, cover, and cook all the vegetables for about 10 minutes or until tender. Add the meat and pepper and stir together. Correct the salt.

Remove from heat and let it cool before using as a filling for the empanadas, or serve hot as a side dish.


Pickled Cabbage, Onions, and Carrots

This recipe is a must when serving Pupusas, Crispy Fried Yuca and Pork, or Empanadas. The sour-pickled flavor of the cabbage, onions, and carrots is a perfect complement to savory foods.

Serves 6

2 cups shredded green cabbage
½ cup shredded carrots
½ cup thinly sliced onion
4 cups white vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns (optional)
1 teaspoon dried chili flakes or 1 Serrano pepper, finely chopped (optional)



Ayote en Miel de Panela/Salvadoran Candied Butternut Squash

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Ayote en Miel de Panela/Salvadoran Candied Butternut Squash by Alicia Maher

It’s the day after Halloween and before you throw away the pumpkins and other hard winter squash that you bought for decorations try this sweet, aromatic and authentic Salvadoran dessert.  In El Salvador, this traditional recipe  is one of the sweet dishes that are part of Chilate, a rich savory white corn atol beverage infused with ginger and allspice.  it is served in the mid-afternoon to carry you over until dinner time.  Ayote con Miel de Panela/Salvadoran Candied Butternut squash tastes even better a few days after you make it. Make sure you keep it covered and refrigerated. You can make it ahead of time and enjoy it with a big scoop of ice cream, my American husband likes it that way, and so do I. This dish is going to make you go for seconds.

Serves 6-8

1 butternut, green winter squash or pumpkin(2-3 lbs), with skin on, seeds removed and cut into 2 x 2 inch chunks

3 cups of water

1 1/2 lbs Dulce de Panela or Piloncillo   or 3 1/2 cups dark brown sugar

10 allspice berries

1 big cinnamon stick.

In a large pot, over medium to high fire, add the 3 cups of water, the dulce de panela, or brown sugar, allspice and cinnamon. Mix everything well and bring to a boil. Make sure the panela or sugar has been dissolved. Add the clean and cut squash, cover and reduce heat to medium, cook for about 2 hours, stir a few times. Uncover, and reduce heat to medium-low,  continue cooking for about  45 – 60 minutes, or until the consistency is kind of syrupy. Serve cold.


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Ute Jokisch Gaede         Dora Maria Santana de Deneke   Jose Arturo Molina   Marta Eugenia Moisa de Orozco


I found Komunicare, a translation and interpreting agency in El Salvador since 1984, by serendipity. I was looking at the Unites States embassy in El Salvador and their list of local independent translation services.  After visiting their website I liked what I saw and felt. Being an old-fashioned kind of gal, I called them up and asked to talk to the owner about using their services for the Spanish edition of Delicious El Salvador. I told her all about the book, how I took it personally to rescue, preserve and protect El Salvador’s culinary traditions for the next generations, it was the first cookbook in English dedicated to only Salvadoran cooking, the Gourmand award for Best First Cookbook of the World and the critical acclaim from the press and experts. I wanted to convince her to help me bring Delicious El Salvador into Spanish. She did not need much convincing, she told me right there ” Yes, you can count on me” That is my kind of people. If someone truly wants to help they are never equivocal. You just do it.

Ute Jokisch Gaede is the president, founder and owner of Komunicare. She is also an interpreter and translator. She speaks English, Spanish and German. She was born in El Salvador and is from German descendants. The company employs a group of dedicated and talented team of professionals who are passionate about the craft, art and science of interpreting and translating different topics and disciplines. There is Dora María Santana de Deneke, she is an intrepreter and translator. She speaks four languages: English, Spanish, German and French. Jose Arturo Molina is the company’s technical translator. He speaks Spanish and English. Marta Eugenia Moisa de Orozco is an interpreter and translator, she specializes in financial topics. Komunicare employs more than 27 employees! In addition to English, Spanish, German and French, they are also experts in Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Italian, Russian and Arabic.

Komunicare is a world-class agency, and the leader in interpreting and translating in El Salvador. They have done an outstanding job translating Delicious El Salvador. It was a thing of beauty to read it in Spanish. The translation flows with ease but command. I want my Spanish readers to enjoy the cooking and not guess about the meaning of something in the recipe. I hope to have a long working relationship with Komunicare and Ute. I am planning to continue writing, producing and publishing more Salvadoran cookbooks. I found someone who appreciates and knows food as well. Her other business is called “El Jardin de Dona Ute” she produces 100% organic, fruits, vegetables, tilapia and cereals. She is so cool.

I am extremely grateful and thankful for Ute’s unconditional support for my project. I dove into the business of publishing without knowing the rough waters of producing cookbooks. Along the way people have helped me weather many storms. I have been able to stay afloat and continue swimming toward the land of publishing and authoring books because of sheer perseverance, tenacity, good honest people like Ute and the best professional services by my side.  Delicious El Salvador in Spanish will be released in March 2015 at the embassy of El Salvador in Washington, D.C. Thank you Ute, Komunicare and your wonderful and dedicated team. Salud!!!!!



















Recently one of my readers was in El Salvador and saw this dish being prepared by street vendors, he asked for the recipe.  It got me all inspired, so I ran to the market and bought some late summer fresh corn on the cob and got cooking. This authentic Salvadoran dish is easy to prepare and totally delicious. Serve with a dollop of Salvadoran cream, or sour cream and a piece of queso fresco.


Serves 4

1 large banana leaf cut into 8 pieces, each about 8-inches wide

2 cups fresh corn kernels

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup shredded Monterrey cheese


Clean and cut the banana leaf and set aside.

Place the corn kernels in a blender or food processor;  blend until smooth. Add the sugar and cheese and mix.

Place a few spoons of this mix into four banana leaf pieces and cover with the other half.

Heat a non-stick griddle or a large heavy skillet over medium to high flame.

Gently place the riguas on the hot surface and cook on each side for about 15 to 20 minutes. When they have hardened remove from the leaves and place directly on the griddle, brown on both sides. Serve with Salvadoran cream, or sour cream and a piece of queso fresco. Enjoy.


A Day Off!


One of the fountains in Century City.

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Getting ready to bake and drink!


Saturday September 13th, at the Latin Food Fest in San Diego with Chef Mario Medina.

A Day Off! By Alicia Maher


It has been a long time since I had a Saturday off. September was a busy month with a flurry of weekend events. Yesterday, the first Saturday in October, I decided not to book anything and just relax, well, it turned out to be a precious day and joyful day.

I got up and made fresh pineapple cookies, the leftover fruit got blended with a little bit of sugar and water, and mixed with a cold California sparkling wine. I call this drink my Pineosa, get it, instead of Mimosa, ha,ha,ha,ha, is a good concoction.

One of my friends called me. We chatted for a long time about everything and then I told her about all the exciting moments I had lived in the last month. The first weekend in September was all about getting ready for the following Saturday and the Latin Food Fest in San Diego.  Thank you to Melissa’s Produce for your sponsorship, could not have done it without you! It was a first-class event. There were a few glitches getting there, will tell you more about in another blog called trials and tribulations, just kidding. It was an enlightening food and drink experience. The world is alive with fine taste buds! That Saturday morning I was out of bed at 3:30 am. From Los Angeles, is a 3 hour drive to beautiful San Diego, exhibitors had to be there by 9:am. The hard-working, talented, and pregnant, make-up artist, Melissa D’Angelo showed up at my house at 4:30 am to give me the glamour look. You know, hair, faux eye lashes and the whole enchilada. Boy, it takes a long time to look that good. I like to wear make up. Always have. Melissa gave birth to a baby boy the following Friday.

The third weekend, the 20th and 21st, were all about family and community. One of my sons had a birthday, the house was full of friends and family. It was lots of work to cook and prepare for everybody, this crowd likes to eat, and lots of it.  On Saturday night, September 20th, my husband and I had the privilege to attend a Salvadoran musical and dance event called Las Placitas de Nuestros Pueblos, at the glorious, French Baroque style, theater of Los Angeles. This is how the foundation that produced the show describes it “

“Las Placitas De Nuestros Pueblos” is a musical play that reflects the Salvadoran culture. It focuses on identifying diverse regions throughout the country with different types of folk music and dances. Throughout the play, our performers portray the lifestyle of Salvadoran peasants, their mannerisms and customs in order to help the audience understand the diversity of the Salvadoran heritage.”

All in all, it was a busy but special weekend. I treasure every one of my sons birthdays. Seeing the cousins, aunts and friends was wonderful!

Last weekend, I spent both days getting ready for my Reynolds Products recipe development assignment. I am also doing a video in my kitchen, it was fun shopping for a few extra props for the background. It was pretty much all about testing, cooking, testing, more cooking and retesting. The dish turned out delicious and easy to make. The photos took a long a time, but worth all the effort. The company that gave me this job was truly impressed with my depiction of the yummy dish.  My photography skills are getting better.

It was nice to take a break from this full schedule My day off was amazing. After eating too many pineapple cookies and drinking a few Pineosas, I felt guilty, blotted and sleepy. My husband and I live in Cheviot Hills, when he suggested we do something,  I said, “let’s walk to Century City” hopping he would say no, but to my surprise he said “yes”. I have no idea how I walked the 2 1/2 mile each way, but it was worth it. We left around 6:15 p.m. the  twilight sky, dressed in pink pale shades of blue was magical. Los Angeles is a beautiful place

Walking to Century City brought back many good memories. In 1993 my husband, Joseph, was fresh out of law school, his first job was on 2000 Avenue of the Stars, we used to meet at the mall for lunch. Our three sons grew up in the Cheviot Hills area, and the Century City Mall became their hangout. I am sure, in their teenage years, they took a date or two to the movies at the old mall before all the renovation. Time off gives you the ability to get away from the routine and see things and life with a new perspective.



In front of one of our favorite hotels in the city.



Post remodel.  2000 Avenue of the Stars. The Address where my husband first worked as an attorney in 1993.



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