Pavo Salvadoreño en Salsa Criolla/Salvadoran Roasted Turkey

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

Pavo Salvadoreño en Salsa Criolla/Salvadoran Roasted Turkey

By Alicia Maher


The celebration of special occasions and holidays in El Salvador is steeped in many different traditions, and food is among the most important. When Salvadoran families prepare this recipe it means only one thing, Christmas and year-end festivities have arrived.DSCF1384


This is a classic holiday dish that continues to be a favorite for generations. The spicy tomato sauce, the moist and succulent turkey is a unique combination. In the U.S., millions of Salvadorans also serve it for Thanksgiving.

Serves 10-12

1 turkey (12 to 15 pounds)

12 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup yellow mustard

1 cup white wine (optional)

1 tablespoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 cups previously prepared Salvadoran Tomato Sauce (page 49)

Allow 15 minutes of cooking time per pound for birds weighing between 12 and 15 pounds.

If frozen, thaw the turkey…

View original 563 more words

Delicious El Salvador wins First Cookbook “Best In The World” 20 years of Gourmand Awards in Germany

Alicia Best of the Best 1 - with GI LogoFlashFlash

Delicious El Salvador won First Cookbook “Best In The World” 20 years of Gourmand Awards in Frankfurt, Germany 

By Alicia Maher

On October 15th, at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany, my cookbook “Delicious El Salvador” won First Cookbook “Best In The World” in 20 years of Gourmand Awards! In the world of cookbooks, the Gourmand Awards, founded by Edouard Cointreau, are considered the highest international recognition for chefs, authors and publishers. This is a historical event for El Salvador, I am the first Salvadoran to bring  “two gold medals” to El Salvador’s traditional homecooking, my first victory was last year in Beijing. I have always said that Salvadoran food is delicious, complex in flavors and aromas. Now the world is paying attention. I am proud to be the Culinary Ambassador for El Salvador. Long live Pupusas!


Delicious El Salvador Gano Premio Mundial Gourmand en Fráncfort, Alemania

Alicia Best of the Best 1 - with GI Logo
Delicious El Salvador Gano Premio Mundial Gourmand en Fráncfort, Alemania

Por Alicia Maher

Mis Estimado lectores:

He ganado otro gran premio para El Salvador. En la feria de libros en Fráncfort, Alemania, el 15 de Octubre, mi libro “Delicious El Salvador” gano Mejor Primer Libro Del Mundo en los últimos veinte años de los Premios Gourmand. Yo siempre he dicho que nuestra comida tiene la calidad, gama de sabores e historia para trascender fronteras. Me enorgullece ser la embajadora culinaria de mi pais. Estoy muy feliz por El Salvador, y contenta que mi trabajo como autora y editorial es reconocido por los expertos internacionales mas importantes de la gastronomía, en el ámbito de la comida y libros de cocina este es el premio mas grande del mundo. Un evento historico para El Salvador!!! Que Vivan las Pupusas!

Un fuerte abrazo, Alicia Maher

Ayote En Miel/Salvadoran Candied Butternut Squash By Alicia Maher

DSCF1002 (2)




Ayote En Miel/Salvadoran Candied Butternut Squash By Alicia Maher

Fall has arrived in the U.S., and to celebrate I am making one of my grandmother’s favorite desserts. Ayote En Miel/Salvadoran Candied Butternut Squash is a rich, aromatic and delicious authentic Salvadoran recipe. The allspice berries, cinnamon and panela infuse the squash with just the perfect aroma and sweet flavor, you will want to get seconds.




DSCF1002 (2)



This is one of the sweet dishes that is also eaten with Chilate, a rich savory white corn atol beverage infused with ginger and allspice.

After the butternut squash is prepared, make sure you keep it covered and refrigerated. It tastes divine with a big scoop of ice cream, my American husband likes it that way, I do too.

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 Panela (atado)  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. Remove from the stove, and serve cold.

Is always a good day for some delicious sangria

Is always a good day for some delicious Sangria! By Alicia Maher






Pomegranate Sangria by Alicia Maher

Here is a delicious and refreshing sangria recipe. In El Salvador this Spanish drink is enjoyed by many. This is my version and uses some juicy and sweet California peaches. You can substitute the peaches with pineapple. Enjoy!!!

1 good bottle CA merlot,

1 cup pomegranate juice

2 cups orange juice (preferably fresh)

4 peaches finely chopped

2 tablespoons honey

orange slices


Mix everything and serve

Pavo Salvadoreño en Salsa Criolla/Salvadoran Roasted Turkey

Pavo Salvadoreño en Salsa Criolla/Salvadoran Roasted Turkey

By Alicia Maher





The celebration of special occasions and holidays in El Salvador is steeped in many different traditions, and food is among the most important. When Salvadoran families prepare this recipe it means only one thing, Christmas and year-end festivities have arrived.DSCF1384











This is a classic holiday dish that continues to be a favorite for generations. The spicy tomato sauce, the moist and succulent turkey is a unique combination. In the U.S., millions of Salvadorans also serve it for Thanksgiving.

Serves 10-12

1 turkey (12 to 15 pounds)

12 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup yellow mustard

1 cup white wine (optional)

1 tablespoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 cups previously prepared Salvadoran Tomato Sauce (page 49)

Allow 15 minutes of cooking time per pound for birds weighing between 12 and 15 pounds.

If frozen, thaw the turkey according to the package instructions. Rinse the turkey in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place breast up in a greased turkey roasting pan, and rub well inside and out with the garlic, mayonnaise, mustard, white wine (if using), salt, and pepper. Cover and marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Before cooking let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Wrap the turkey’s wings with foil paper to prevent them from overcooking. Place the turkey uncovered in the oven and reduce the heat to 325ºF.

After the turkey has been roasting for 1 hour, baste with its own juices and about ½ cup of Salvadoran Tomato Sauce; cover the roasting pan tightly with foil or lid. Repeat the basting with about ½ cup of Salvadoran Tomato Sauce every 30 minutes, covering after each time until done. If you are using a meat thermometer, the center of the inner thigh muscle should register an internal temperature of 180ºF to 185ºF after it has been fully cooked.

Remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest in the pan for about 15 minutes before carving. The pan juice from the turkey and basting is the sauce for the turkey. Serve separately in a bowl or boat. Generously top each helping with this special sauce.

Salsa Criolla by Alicia Maher


I learned to mix the spices and cook this recipe from my aunt Martha in Santa Ana, El Salvador. She would always tinker with the spice packages before using. She was very particular in her proportions of ingredients and used ground annatto. She did not use cumin or peanuts, which again is a question of regional difference. Oh, but the fragrant flavor of the essential toasted sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds (pepitoria) with the bay leaves and cloves, when ground into a powder, remains the same all over El Salvador. This is the heart of the Salvadoran Criolla tomato sauce. You can easily find most of the ingredients in the spice aisle or Hispanic food section at major supermarkets or in Latin grocery stores. A pre-packed “Tamale Spice” mix can also be found that contains all the needed ingredients. But most often these packages are too large and the spice proportions need to be adjusted. I prefer to cook with ground, not whole, annatto for more control over the amount used. To get that authentic Salvadoran flavor, I have broken down the spices into spoons so you can buy the needed ingredients or pull them straight from the package.

Yields 4 to 6 cups

4 cups chopped ripe Roma tomatoes           1 tablespoon ground annatto seeds

3 cups water                                                   2 teaspoons salt

2 garlic cloves, whole                                     4 tablespoons sesame seeds

½ cup chopped onion                                    2 tablespoons hulled pumpkin seeds

½ cup chopped green bell pepper                3 small or 2 large bay leaves

½ cup chopped cilantro                                2 cloves

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper    1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons chicken bouillon                        1 strip dried Guaque pepper, 1 x 2-inch

In a deep pot over high heat, combine the tomatoes, water, garlic, onion, green bell pepper, cilantro, black pepper, chicken bouillon, annatto, and salt. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes. Remove the pot from the stove and let the mixture cool.

Fresco de Chan





Fresco de Chan

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.

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

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,  and sugar. Stir well and serve over ice to taste.  Enjoy!


Around El Salvador in 26 days: Photo Album by Alicia Maher

I came back from El Salvador on May 22 after spending 26 wonderful days in my native country. I ate like a Pipil queen, saw my family, travelled the whole country, uncovered history, made new precious friends, got some press for my cookbook, and I even cooked on live tv. Here is the photo album from the trip,  I thought that you may like to see it, enjoy.


This is the inside of Santa Ana’s Cathedral, one of the most beautiful Gothic churches in the world. Below is the facade.



Eating street food from a vendor in “El Redondel” in El Palmar area in Santa Ana. This is the neighborhood where I grew up. Below is a mango tree, look how it grows with abandonment. Wish I could find mangos like these in Los Angeles, sweet and juicy.


DSCF1663 (2)

Tazumal is an archaelogical site in Chalchuapa, Ahuachapan. According to experts, it was built around 400 AD. I spent my childhood playing in this sacred and ancient architectural complex.



Yuca with Fritada, curtido and salsa. The fritada contains crispy pieces of pigs ears, cheeks and snout. Chalchuapa is famous for their yuca dish.






























Above with my cousin Cecilia. She worked for the American Embassy for close to thirty years, her English is flawless. Below, at El Salvador Legislative Assembly, getting a big welcome and support for my work and cookbook, with the distinguished President of the Assembly Sigfrido Reyes and Francis Zablah deputy from La Libertad. It was an honor to be there.

DSCF1648 (2)



















Shopping in San Salvador for aromatic herbs for Chicken or Hen Soup. Below, eating a pupusa revuelta.




























Below, handcrafted cheese at Mercado Merliot.



On our way to La Union we saw these cattle crossing the road.


Future Salvadoran Chefs getting ready to cook at the 7th annual seafood festival in Puerto La Union. The food was delicious. Below, talking about food with other festival participants.



With the Golfo de Fonseca beauty queen and the former mayor of Conchagua, he was my private guide.



Getting the ingredients ready for a “coctel de conchas” Below, a local lady eating a delicious lobster soup before the seafood festival started.



This is the oldest church in El Salvador, Santiago Apostol in Conchagua, La Union, it was built in 1693. I want to live in this town! Below is the Lions Park, across the street from the church.



Seafood soup, one of the many delicious meals I enjoyed while visiting El Salvador. I also had the best chocolate ganache tart in my whole life at Punto restaurant inside the Art Museum, MARTE.


Inside the museum and the outside of the building. I highly recommend it, the art collections are magnificent.






















In Joya de Ceren, a #UNESCO World Heritage Site in#elsalvador, c. AD 600, preserved by volcanic ash, just like #Pompeii in Italy. Archaelogists uncovered plants like corn, cacao, avocados, beans, agave, guayaba and much more! I love El Salvador.


With my friend, Dr. Maria Martha de Santana and her beautiful daughters at a Chinese restaurant in San Salvador. Below with chef Danilo Alvarado.































In San Salvador, in front of my hotel, with the beautiful, talented and smart Cris Melendez, award-winning actress, producer and director. Her latest film “La Rebusqueda” won the Indiefest award of excellence. Thank you Cris for everything.


Here with two awesome and beautiful women, Violeta Rivas, she is part of my Delicious El Salvador team and my new friend Mayra Zetino. We were at Mexican embassy in San Salvador. I love El Salvador, but what I miss the most are the people. Below, cooking live on the number one morning tv show “Viva La Mañana” with hosts, Luciana Sandoval and Daniel Rucks.











With Jose Calderon, host of “Que Mañana” on Super Estrella 94.1 fm, and chef Norma Schuler. My first live radio interview.



Chiles Rellenos Salvadoreños

Chiles Rellenos Salvadoreños por Alicia Maher

Hola mis estimados lectores. Con mucha alegría les cuento que muy pronto voy a lanzar Delicious El Salvador en Español.


El lanzamieto será en San Salvador en Noviembre en la librería La Ceiba en Galerias.

Estoy infinitamente agradecida a la editorial La Ceiba por todo apoyo y entusiasmo. La Ceiba cuenta con un catalogo de más 60,000 libros y una cadena de librerías en todo El Salvador. Muy contenta que voy a visitar cada tienda para firmar libros. Para celebrar, comparto con ustedes esta deliciosa receta de Chiles Rellenos Salvadorenos.

También quiero agradecer a dos personas y dos negocios que me han ayudado a continuar con mi pasión por la comida salvadoreña. Mis amigos Wilson Salguero, dueño del restaurante Caveman, 2215 Vermont Ave #101, Los Angeles, CA 90007 y Arnold Linares, agente de bienes raíces en Right Realty Inc. Su ayuda incondicional la recordare siempre, estos son amigos de verdad. Unas grandes gracias a Melissa’s produce por su apoyo y patrocinio. Su Presidente de Mercadeo, Robert Schueller, es uno de los mejores en la industria. Melissa’s vende la mejor verduras, frutas y hortalizas en los Estados Unidos. Por cierto los ingredientes que use en el chile relleno provienen de Melissa’s. Por ultimo, gracias al despacho del abogado Joseph Maher por todo su apoyo y patrocinio en todo aspecto del libro. El es también mi esposo, de nacionalidad Americana pero con corazón y paladar salvadoreño.



Chiles Rellenos Salvadoreños por Alicia Maher

Sirve 6 


6 chiles verdes asados (morrón verde, pimiento verde)

3 tazas de picadillo con cerdo y verduras (receta abajo)

Aceite vegetal para freir

4 huevos grandes

1/2 taza de harina (dividida) 

2 cucharadas de cebolla picada

1/2 taza de tomate picado sin semillas (jitomates)

2 tazas de agua

½ de cilantro picado

½ cucharadita de achiote molido

1 cucharada de polvo de caldo de pollo

Sal y pimienta al gusto

Quitele la cascara a los chiles asados, remueva las semillas y membranas, enjuagelos en agua fría y séquelos bien con toallas de papel. Rellene cada chile con aproximadamente ½ taza de picadillo de carne y verduras, envuélvalos ligeramente en la mitad de la harina y póngalos en un plato.

En una cacerola grande y sobre fuego medio comience a calentar el aceite; esto es importante para que el aceite esté listo una vez ya esten los huevos batidos. Mientras se calienta el aceite, bata las claras de huevo, ya sea con un batidor de mano o con una mezcladora eléctrica, hasta punto de nieve. Agregue las yemas, y continue batiendo por 30 segundos.

Envuelva los chiles en los huevos batidos y colóquelos cuidadosamente en el aceite caliente. Fría los rellenos hasta que estén dorados, dándoles vuelta con una espátula Retire inmediatamente de la cacerola y colóquelos sobre toallas de papel para que absorban el aceite. Descarte la mayoría del aceite de la cacerola, dejando sólo dos cucharadas.

En la misma cacerola, sobre fuego bajo-medio, agregue la cebolla y sofria por 30 segundos. Añada el tomate y cocine por 1 minuto. Agregue el resto de la harina, revuelva bien y cocine por 30 segundos. Lentamente añada el agua y siga revolviendo. Mezcle el cilantro picado, el achiote molido, y el polvo de caldo de pollo. Agregue la sal y pimienta al gusto. Regrese los rellenos a la salsa de tomate y suba el fuego a alto, cuando empiecen a hervir de nuevo reduzca la llama a medio-bajo. Cocine destapado por 5 minutos. Sirva con arroz y tortillas.



Picadillo de cerdo con verduras

Picadillo de Cerdo con Verduras

Sirve 4-6


2 libras de lomo de cerdo cortado en cubos de 3 a 4 cms

6 tazas de agua

1 hoja de laurel

2 cucharaditas de sal

2 cucharadas de aceite vegetal

2 cucharadas de cebolla picada

2 dientes de ajo picados

½ taza de tomate picado sin semillas (jitomates)

½ taza de papas picada en cubitos finos

½ taza de zanahorias picadas en cubitos finos

½ taza de guisquil, pelado, sin semilla y picado en cubitos finos (chayote)

½ taza de ejotes finamente picados (habichuelas, judias, vainas)

1 taza de caldo

Pimienta al gusto

Lave el puerco en agua helada.

En una olla grande, y sobre fuego alto, combine el cerdo, el agua, la hoja de laurel y la sal. Lleve todo a ebullición, con una cuchara grande quite la espuma de encima, según sea necesario. Reduzca el fuego a medio, cubra con una tapadera y cocine por 1 hora y 15 minutos, o hasta que la carne este blandita. Destape y cocine por 10 minutos más. Deseche la hoja de laurel y reserve 1 taza de caldo Retire la carne de la olla y déjela reposar sobre una table de cortar por 15 minutos. Pique el cerdo muy finamente, póngalo en un plato aparte y cubra.

En una cacerola grande, y sobre fuego medio-alto, caliente el aceite, Agregue la cebolla, el ajo, el tomate y saltee por 1 minuto, agregue las papas, zanahorias, guisquil, ejotes y la taza de caldo, combine bien y lléve a ebullicion. Cubra, reduzca el fuego a medio y cocine entre 10 a 15 minutos o hasta que las verduras estén blanditas. Agregue la carne y la pimienta y revuelva bien. Corrija la sal y retire de la estufa, déje enfriar antes de usar como relleno, o sírva caliente si es plato principal.




Hello my dear readers. With great joy and pride I announce the upcoming release of my cookbook
Delicious El Salvador in Spanish.


The launch will take place in San Salvador this coming November at La Ceiba bookstore in Galerias.
I am infinitely grateful to the publisher La Ceiba for all their support and enthusiasm. La Ceiba has a catalog of more than 60,000 books and a chain of bookstores throughout El Salvador. I will visit all the stores to sign books. To celebrate, I am sharing with you this delicious recipe for Chiles Rellenos Salvadorenos.

I also want to thank two people and two businesses that have helped me to continue my passion for Salvadoran food. My friends Wilson Salguero ,owner of Caveman Kitchen, 2215 Vermont Ave # 101, Los Angeles, CA 90007 and Arnold Linares, Realtor at Right Realty Inc. I will always remember their unconditional help , these are real friends. A big thank you to Melissa’s produce for their support and sponsorship. Its President of Marketing, Robert Schueller, is one of the best in the industry. Melissa’s sells the freshest vegetables, fruits, herbs in the United States. As a matter of fact, the ingredients used in the chile relleno come from Melissa’s. Finally, thanks to the Law Office of attorney Joseph Maher for his support and sponsorship in every aspect of the book. He is also my husband, of American nationality but with a Salvadoran heart and palate.



Serves 6


6 green bell peppers

3 cups minced meat and vegetables filling (recipe below)

Vegetable oil for frying

4 large eggs

1/2 cup all purpose flour (divided)

2 tablespoons chopped onion

½ cup minced tomato

2 cups water

½ cup chopped cilantro

½ teaspoon ground annatto seeds

1 tablespoon chicken bouillon

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Place the peppers on a baking sheet and put under a pre-heated broiler or roast on a open flame. Turn them often until the skin is bubbly and charred. Let them cool and remove the skin.

To open the peppers, make a slit  lengthwise, carefully remove all the seeds and membrane, gently rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper towel.  Place about 1/2 cup of filling in each pepper, bring the edges together and close to cover the filling. Sprinkle 1/2 of the flour on the peppers and set aside. Do not over-stuff the peppers or the filling will fall out during frying.

In a large saucepan, start heating the oil over a medium flame. Start this now, so the oil can be quickly ready for frying once the batter is set for the stuffed peppers. While the oil is heating, whip the egg whites, either by hand or with an electric mixer, until stiff but not dry. Add the yolks to the whites and beat for 30 more seconds.

Hold the pepper with your hand, dip it all the way into the whipped egg batter, and then place gingerly in the hot oil. Fry the peppers until golden on both sides, carefully turning them over with a fry spatula . Remove immediately from the saucepan and set them aside on paper towels to absorb any extra oil. Discard most of the oil from the pan, leaving about 2 tablespoons.

In the same saucepan reduce the flame to medium low, sauté the onions for about 30 seconds, then stir in the tomato and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the remaining flour, cook for 30 seconds, then slowly add the water and continue stirring. Mix in the cilantro, annatto and chicken bouillon, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Return the chiles rellenos to the tomato gravy in the pan. Increase the heat to high and bring everything to a boil. Reduce heat immediately to medium low, cover, and cook for 5 more minutes before serving. Enjoy.



Picadillo de cerdo con verduras

Vegetables and Minced Pork 

 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

Freshly ground black pepper to taste


Rinse the pork in cold water.

In a large pot, and over high heat, combine the pork, water, bay leaf, and salt. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce the flame 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 full 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 chiles, or serve hot as a side dish.








Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,027 other followers

%d bloggers like this: