Is a good day for some delicious Sangria!


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 botle 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

Pupusas, videos and new friends!





L-R Amanda Cargill, Marie Elena Martinez, Alicia Maher, Patricia Chica, Eric Benton

Hello dear readers, I wanted to share this video and photos from this past Saturday. Thanks again for visiting!

Thank you to my friends and actor Eric Benton and filmmaker Patricia Chica for recording this video. Everyone loved pupusas con curtido y salsa, bistec encebollado, pure de papas, arroz con pollo…

It was a fun day. I also had the fortune to meet and cook for the founding editor of The Latin Kitchen, Marie Elena Martinez and director of food content for Latina Magazine, Amanda Cargill. This is one of the benefits of my work, meeting and befriending the most wonderful people in the world!!!!!


Fresco de Semillas de Chan /Salvadoran Chia Red Lemonade


Is a good day for a refreshing chan or chia red lemonade! Thank you for all your visits!

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




Fresco de Semillas de Chan/Chan Red Lemonade by Alicia Maher (Copyright)

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. 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.

Serves 6-8

14 cups of water

4 ounces of Chan seeds or substitute for Chia Seeds

1/2 cup strawberry extract or grenadine syrup

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar

Ice to taste

In a large pitcher, combine…

View original 70 more words

Delicious El Salvador Free Cooking Demo and Book Signing at Surfas Culinary District!

You don’t want to miss my cooking demo and book signing at Surfas Culinary District in Culver City this Saturday, July 26, 11am-1pm. Come early, space is limited. Super proud to showcase authentic Salvadoran food. No se pierdan mi clase de cocina y firma de libros en Surfas Culinary District in Culver City. Este Sabado, 26 de julio, 11am-1pm. Vengan temprano, el espacio es limitado. Super orgullosa de destacar la comida autentica Salvadorena! 8777 W Washington Blvd, Culver City 90232.  310 559 4770. 


RezClick - Surfas Culinary District: Events

Recipe for Minced Pork and Vegetables! A classic Salvadoran dish!

Picadillo de cerdo con verduras


Recipe for Minced Pork and Vegetables! A classic Salvadoran dish.

Dear readers, if you want to share this recipe in your blog, please let me know. I keep track of who shares my work. and some don’t even bother to ask. Please be respectful and don’t plagiarize my writing. Thank you for visiting and your courtesy.


Minced Pork and Vegetables

Picadillo de Cerdo con Verduras

Recipe from my cookbook Delicious El Salvador

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.


 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 an main entree.






Fresco de Semillas de Chan /Salvadoran Chia Red Lemonade






Fresco de Semillas de Chan/Chan Red Lemonade by Alicia Maher (Copyright)

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. 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.

Serves 6-8

14 cups of water

4 ounces of Chan seeds or substitute for Chia Seeds

1/2 cup strawberry extract or grenadine syrup

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!

You can order your copy of my Gourmand Award winner cookbook here:

LFF 6 Picture of Book



I can’t believe it has been just over a month since we boarded the Air China Boeing 777 bound for Gourmand International’s Beijing World Cookbook Fair 2014 in Daxing, China. Daxing is an important neighborhood district anchoring the southern suburbs of Beijing. The Chinese have a commitment to highways and roads lined with roses.

Roses line streets

DSCF0263The Gourmand World Cookbook Fair (GWCF) was planned at the Daxing Hotel. This busy hotel is frequented by real local families, business people, and government officials who interact, have special gatherings, and conduct business in a setting away from the glitz and international feel of Chaoyang District, Sanlitun, and the Beijing city center.

The city of Daxing and surroundings felt like home. It is no wonder, no matter how far away; we are all connected in the same ways through family neighborhoods, parks, shops, routines, food, and special gatherings.

It was a great pleasure to see many wedding parties come through the hotel. We enjoyed fireworks in front of the hotel (day or night depending), as every party set off an array of fireworks when the bridal limo entered the courtyard. We were treated to these festivities many times during our stay. This is the view to the south from the 10th floor.

View from 10th floor sideDSCF0333

The hotel is comfortably set up to handle large conferences like the GWCF. The hotel chef and kitchen are fantastic, so there was never any need to feel like you needed leave to get something you wanted and enjoyed. The hotel had everything and the pricing was reasonable and fair. The GWCF brought together an impeccable collection Chinese wines to the fair; be on the lookout for prestigious vintners from this country producing excellent wines coming to your part of the world soon.

Importantly, we arranged our two-week travel, for everything, through Gourmand International. And I am so glad we did. Not just for the easy booking, great prices, and peace of mind (in a faraway place and culture); but because I got to meet Pilar who was the contact person. She was also at the event and hotel, working with Edouard Jr., Julien, Thierry, Tibor (the “immortalizer”), Matthew, Olaf, Jörg, Óscar, Lin, and the others for a seamless and never-ending succession of GWCF events, excursions, and parties. All we (the attendees) had to do was enjoy, attend, conduct business, and exchange ideas and stories. Pilar and the whole Gourmand team were wonderful and priceless. Here’s a link to the Gourmand Magazine to see many more photos of the people and places at the GWCF in Beijing and for past events.

Temple of HeavenWe arrived on May 14th; and the next morning at the hotel breakfast, we met our first new friends, finished breakfast, ordered a taxi, and went sightseeing with them to the Temple of Heaven. Daxing is an easy taxi ride to all the Beijing attractions, and the city-center metros run close by. For the next two weeks, every day, at breakfast, the conferences, lunch, dinner, and events we made many new friends. At the end of the trip it seemed we had a hundred new friends.

Their company was enjoyable and memorable, and I will leave these great stories for another piece on the great Gourmand China Adventure.

Close to the Daxing Hotel are many interesting cultural business sites. The GWCF DSCF0363had many local excursions. Watermelons and roses are extremely important to the local culture. Here’s the link to program of events at the fair. Across the street from the Hotel was a small park that the local residents used for their morning exercises and weekend parties. There were plenty of local restaurants and street vendors. Just a couple of blocks away were must see local shopping centers – Wu Mart and a mall with Tesco. Shopping is universal and some truths hold true, children want to push the shopping cart, people love leafy celery, and products in beautiful packaging sell. I just felt right at home in Wu Mart. See some pictures in my blog posted on June 1st.

Just a couple of blocks in the other direction was a local restaurant where we had a GWCF dinner event. This was a restaurant many of us frequented, and I met a few new friends there too. Walking in the narrow streets of this neighborhood we came upon the local grammar school. Again, just like home, the walls around the school were painted with kid friendly, colorful murals.

DSCF0513All of this was capped off by GWCF super VIP Beijing dining/tasting excursions to China New Media, the Sichuan Festival, Olympic City, and Da Dong’s newest restaurant.

All in all, the immensity (geographically and culturally) of the extraordinary trip was never lost. It was a great adventure and eventual honor of a lifetime. After writing these few observations, I went back to the beautifully designed Beijing World Cookbook Fair 2014 program. The cover is a gorgeous artwork.

I flipped through the pages to kind of take me back, but got stuck on the prophetic foreword by Edouard Cointreau. It sums it up when he says,

Flash“…When you have to leave, you know you have to come back. Those who stay more than a week start to feel at home…Our event May 18-21 is a life experience. It is a chance to discover real China, meet the Chinese outside the tourism and business center. They are different, from expectations, and from experiences in other countries. China is a constant surprise…”

Here is the link to Edouard’s complete foreword.

Thank you…Gourmand family, the city of Daxing, and the Daxing Hotel for a great China adventure.



Pupusas filled with Squash (Calabazitas) and Cheese/Pupusas Rellenas con Ayote y Queso






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By Alicia Maher

 Squash (Calabazitas) and Cheese filled Pupusas

Pupusas Rellenas con Ayote y Queso

The following is an excerpt from my introduction to the Pupusa recipe in my cookbook, Delicious El Salvador.

The word “pupusa” derives from the Nahuat language and it has two possible meanings, either “stuffed” or “puffy,” perhaps in reference to the fillings and how pupusas puff up after cooked.

In 2005, the Salvadoran government issued legislation designating the Pupusa the national dish of El Salvador. They are simply delicious and showcase the artisan quality of our culinary traditions.

Serves 6 (2 per person)


 Squash filling for Pupusas (See recipe below)

2 cups finely shredded Monterey Jack cheese

½ cup of Salvadoran cream (or substitute sour cream

     mixed with ½ teaspoon salt)

4 cups instant corn flour masa flour

3½ to 4 cups water

½ cup water to wet hands

Combine the shredded cheese and cream and refrigerate.

Before starting the masa for the Pupusas, bring out the prepared fillings and let them stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes, the fillings should be soft for use.

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 squash and cheese fillings. 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 squash and cheese fillings 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 Pickled Cabbage, Onions, and Carrots



Squash filling for Pupusas

 The key to the preparation of the squash is making sure that it is completely drained of all liquid; otherwise the filling will be watery and mushy.

 2 cups shredded  squash

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons minced onion

2 tablespoons chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 Take the shredded  squash and place it in a sieve, strainer, or colander over a bowl. Press down on the squash to squeeze the liquid out. You can also use your hands to do get the excess water out.

 In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium to high heat. Add the onion and tomato, stir and cook for about 1 minute. Add and combine the squash, salt, and pepper. Cook and stir for about 1 minute, remove from the stove, and let it cool completely before using.



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)

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.




LFF 6 Picture of Book  Pupusas with curtido and salsa.

Also available at Barnes & Noble


I am humbled and grateful to Bill Esparza from Los Angeles magazine for giving my cookbook an amazing review. It gives me an incentive to continue writing more cookbooks. From the beginning, I set out to protect and rescue El Salvador’s culinary traditions for the next generations. Thank you to all of you for taking the time to visit my blog. Your support means the world to me.

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At Surfas, teaching a class on Salvadoran food.[/emb


DSCF0402    978-0983980919 cropped-gourmand-cert-best-in-the-world-8x5-300dpi.jpg  DSCF0411

DSCF0318  DSCF0320


DSCF0313  DSCF0421DSCF0581  DSCF0408   DSCF0420 Gourmand Poster - Beijing World Cookbook Fair 2014 (5x7)





DSCF0345  Market Celery - DSCF0209  Market Watermelon - DSCF0208





Words can not even begin to describe the joy and happiness I am feeling right now! MY COOKBOOK DELICIOUS EL SALVADOR WON THE GOURMAND AWARD FOR BEST FIRST COOKBOOK OF THE WORLD! Someone pinch me please. I have come a long way from those days, when, as a ten-year old,  I would help my aunt prepare and sell tamales in the neighborhood. No one told me to do it, I offered. Little did I know that the seeds for the passion I carry on for the food of my native country were being planted. This is the first year El Salvador participated and won. It was a fierce battle! The other cookbooks competing in this category are great books, each a worthy opponent. They represented the following countries, Australia, Egypt, France, Guinea – Bissau, Japan, UK.

This year the Gourmand Awards took place in China. The Beijing World Cookbook Fair ran from May 19-21 in the Daxing District. My dear husband, Joseph, accompanied me in this great adventure. We took a direct, 12 hour,  flight from Los Angeles to Beijing. Arrived on the 15th of May and left on the 27th. We spent 12 wonderful nights in Beijing! As I write this post, I am missing China, the food, culture and the people, so warm and welcoming!  I am also missing my new-found friends, and the spirit of the Gourmand awards! It was a lifetime experience!

We stayed at the Daxing hotel, where the cookbook fair and most of the events took place.  The food here was actually pretty good. The Gourmand staff did an outstanding job organizing and overseeing every detail. Chefs and authors from all over the world gathered here, a great number of them are international culinary stars, authors, wine experts, and Gourmand Award Winners like Robert Oliver, Mridula Baljekar, Lourdes Soriano Benitez de Lugo, Nimi Sunil Kumar, Maria Josefina Cerutti, James McIntosh, Karla Johan Lorenzo, Dorinda Hafner, Marlena Spieler, Veimar N. Loyola Fonseca, Richard Juhlin, Cyril Rouquet and so many more.

The city of Beijing and the Daxing district were the perfect locale for this prestigious event. My husband and I were in awe of all the roses planted along the highways, the clean streets and lots of trees.  I especially loved the energy and good feelings the Daxing county exudes, which dates back to more than 2400 years, it was established in the pre-Qin period. It’s name means “broad territory and prosperity” We had a great time walking and shopping near our hotel,We had some amazing Chinese pastries and teas. I will tell you more about this in another post.

It has been a laborious journey to write, produce, publish and promote my cookbook. With no previous experience, as an author or publisher, I thought the road ahead was an easy one. Ignorance is a bliss!!! I still have no idea how I did it. Fortunately, I was not alone. I invested tens of thousands of dollars to hire a professional team that included one of the top photographers in El Salvador, Federico Trujillo. He captured most of the recipes in the cookbook. I liked working with him because he understood the aesthetic and vision of my food and prop styling, and his work is lyrical. Santino Zafarana and Tracy Landworth, Los Angeles photographers and friends, were there to help me with the extra book photos. He took that beautiful shot of the Shrimp and Fish Ceviche and the Green Beans and Eggs, and my portrait in the yellow dress. He and Tracy rock! Then, there is the best recipe editor Daniel Azarkman. He helped me give the recipes structure, fluidity and function. He is a master, I learned so much from him. I admire his integrity, passion and work ethics. My project assistant in El Salvador, Journalist and foodie Violeta Rivas. She was integral in helping me with the logistics of the photography production and access to most of the props I used in the food stylist. And last, but not least my loving husband, without his unconditional support and faith this book would not have been possible. Que viva USA and El Salvador!

Thank you to the Cointreau Family, the Gourmand Jury for selecting my cookbook, and the Gourmand Staff for working so hard to create a world-class event. Proud that my work and effort to showcase the authentic Salvadoran home cooking is being recognized! Looking forward to creating more cookbooks.


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