TORREJAS! A TRADITIONAL SALVADORAN HOLY WEEK DISH

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TORREJAS IN DULCE DE PANELA SYRUP  By Alicia Maher
Torrejas en Dulce de Panela

This coming Sunday is the start of Holy Week. In El Salvador this is a holiday steeped in centuries-old traditions, and is celebrated in every corner of the country. It is also a time to prepare and share with family and friends traditional dishes like Torrejas.
This sweet and aromatic dish is not only delectable, but is also a favorite during the Easter season. Torrejas are similar to American-style French toast but there are basic differences that make this dish unique. We always use egg bread, omit the vanilla from the batter, and always fry the torrejas in oil, not butter. But perhaps the biggest difference is the special syrup which is vital to the dish, as the golden fried bread slices are plated and soaked in the syrup before serving. You will enjoy and savor each bite.

Serves 6

1 1/2 lbs Dulce de Panela (Piloncillo)
4 cups water
Small cinnamon stick
6 large eggs
1 cup milk
⅛ teaspoon salt
6 slices of egg bread (cut off a loaf, each slice 1-inch-thick)
1 cup vegetable oil

In a medium saucepan over a high flame, combine the dulce de panela (piloncillo), water, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for about 1 hour. The syrup is ready when the liquid has been reduced by half. Set aside.

When ready to cook the torrejas, break the eggs into a mixing bowl, add the milk and salt, and combine with a whisk or fork. Dip the slices of bread into this batter, taking care not to let any slice soak for too long before frying.

In a large deep skillet over a medium to high flame, heat the oil until very hot. Add the battered slices of bread, two at a time, and leave plenty of room for each slice to fry. Cook on both sides until golden, remove from the skillet, and place on a serving dish or tray. Pour the dulce de panela syrup on top of the torrejas and let them soak for about 1 hour, or longer, before serving at room temperature. Feliz Semana Santa!

 

Pupusas de Pescado/Fish Pupusas

 

 

 

PUPUSAS DE PESCADO Y CURTIDO/FISH PUPUSAS AND CURTIDO BY ALICIA MAHER

 

 

 

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© Pupusas de Pescado/Fish Pupusas and Curtido By Alicia Maher

Lent season has arrived, and Holy Week is around the corner. This recipe is perfect for those that observe Fish Friday, and for anyone who just wants to enjoy a delicious fish pupusa, and curtido anytime of the year.

 

Serves 6 (2 per person)

 

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

2 tablespoons finely chopped tomato

2 tablespoons finely chopped green bell pepper

1 pound Tilapia fillet

2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

Salt and black pepper to taste

4 cups instant corn masa flour

3½ to 4 cups water

½ cup water to wet hands

2 cups Pickled Cabbage, Onions, and Carrots

Heat the oil in a large skillet over a medium flame. Add the onion, tomato and green pepper. Stir and sauté these ingredient s  for 2 minutes. Add the fish fillet and cilantro, stir everything well.  Cover and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes.  Uncover, and with a fork, combine everything together, add salt and ground black pepper to taste. Remove from stove and let it cool.  Use for the  Pupusa filling.

Preparing the Corn Masa Dough:

Place the corn masa flour in a shallow bowl. Mix in the water, 1 cup at a time, kneading by hand for about 10 minutes until the dough is moist and fluffy. If needed, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time. The dough can be prepared the day before, if covered and refrigerated.

Making the Pupusas – Method 1:

Divide the dough into 12 equal small balls. Divide the fillings equally for the 12 pupusas.

Take the dough ball in the palm of your hand, pushing the center of the ball with your fingers to make a well. Fill each pupusa with the fish filling. When done, close the top by pushing and pinching the open space together, so that the end result will be a completely filled and sealed dough ball.

Wet your hands, press and pat each ball between your palms and flatten into a thin dough round that is about 4 inches in diameter and ¼-inch thick. Make sure the edges are nice and thin, but be careful not to press too hard so that the filling does not spill out of the sides.

Making the Pupusas – Method 2:

Divide the dough into 24 equal small balls. Divide the fillings equally for the 12 pupusas.

With wet hands, press and pat each ball between your palms and flatten into thin dough rounds that are about 4 inches in diameter and ⅛-inch thick. 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.

With your fingers or the back of a tablespoon spread the fish filling evenly on the 12 flattened rounds. Cover these with the other 12 flattened rounds and seal the edges with your fingertips taking care that the edges are nice and thin.

Cooking the Pupusas:

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

Typically, once the pupusas are formed by hand, using either method, they are placed straight onto the skillet or griddle. If you set them aside before cooking, make sure to wet your hands and gently pick up each pupusa, and pat lightly between the palms of your hands.

Gently place the pupusas on the hot surface and cook for about 5 minutes on each side, frequently turning them over to ensure even cooking. The pupusas are ready when they puff up and turn slightly golden. Serve with Curtido, Pickled Cabbage, Onions, and Carrots.

 

© Curtido/Pickled Cabbage, Onions, and Carrots By Alicia Maher

 

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)

Using a large ceramic bowl or glass jar with a lid, combine and stir all the ingredients. Cover tightly with lid or plastic cling wrap; marinate overnight before serving. The Pickled Cabbage, Onions, and Carrots can last up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

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Happy New Year – It’s Game Day

Happy New Year / Feliz Año Nuevo

Today is the First Inaugural NCAA College Football Playoffs (Oregon v. Florida State in the Rose Bowl and Alabama v. Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl).

For the game-time food bites, I have the perfect recipe.  It is my Easy Meat Pie with Vegetables which is a “Hot Post” on epicurious.com.  This recipe is guaranteed to delight everyone, and the petite pies will be gobbled up fast.

Click on the link Easy Meat Pie with Vegetables and try the recipe.  You can have them ready for the first game, and YOUR fans will want you to repeat and threepeat your spectacular game day skills for the next game, and every weekend through all the college and pro playoff games.

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Pavo Horneado en Salsa Criolla/Salvadoran Roasted Turkey

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Feliz Navidad! Happy Holidays! You will find this and other authentic Salvadoran dishes in my cookbook Delicious El Salvador. https://deliciouselsalvador.com/ Watch the video recipe in my YouTube channel, is homemade but done with all my love for you readers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AXcfrFr7EA

 

Pavo Salvadoreno Horneado 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. This is a classic holiday dish that continues to be a favorite for generations. The spicy tomato sauce and 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

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, and the ground-seed-powder spices and thickens the sauce which is perfect for basting chicken or turkey.

In the U.S. 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.

http://www.amazon.com/Delicious-Salvador-Authentic-Traditional-Salvadoran/dp/0983980918

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fresco de Chan, or Chan Red Lemonade for the Holidays

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

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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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EGGNOG WITH CINNAMON AND RUM ROMPOPE CON CANELA Y RON by Alicia Maher

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.

Salud!

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 http://thelatinkitchen.com/recipe/eggnog-cinnamon-and-rum

https://deliciouselsalvador.com/

 

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.

https://deliciouselsalvador.com/

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

http://www.amazon.com/Delicious-Salvador-Authentic-Traditional-Salvadoran/dp/0983980918

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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 bouillon

4 eggs

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

View original 112 more words

Fresco de Chan, or Chan Red Lemonade for the Holidays

 

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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.

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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.

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Pickled Cabbage, Onions, and Carrots
Curtido

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)

http://www.amazon.com/Delicious-Salvador-Authentic-Traditional-Salvadoran/dp/0983980918

 

 

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