Chpotle chili ninjadillas. The secret to the ninjadillas really is the annatto oil. It's just achiote seeds steeped in oil. It lends a little flavor a LOT of color to Spanish or Mexican food. Fry up the tortillas in a little oil and they get all crispy and yum. Topped with chipotle vegenaise.
Achiote or annatto seeds are really small and hard little seeds that come from the achiote tree cultivated in tropical South America and Southeast Asia. Annatto is used as a commercial all natural food coloring. It's also much cheaper than saffron for adding that splash of orangish color to Spanish rice and Mexican food. The seeds alone aren't much on flavor as a berry (I just tried one for your benefit,) so are best extracted through oil. Even the oil only has a slightly different flavor, but the color is amazing.
For the annatto oil, I put 1/2 cup of corn oil in a pan and then 1 TBS annatto seeds. Set on medium heat and when the seeds start to sizzle remove from heat and strain out and toss the seeds. Don't heat for too long after the sizzle or the seeds get black and the oil turns kind of green. If this happens, toss and start over. I store the annatto oil in the refrigerator in one of those Good Seasoning salad dressing containers you get with the dry mix.
I originally picked up annatto seeds from Penzeys, but I have found it in the spice or latino section of normal grocery stores. If you see Goya, you can probably find it. They do make prepared annatto oil, but I haven't tried it since I'd already figured out how to make my own and it's really simple.
I use corn oil because it stays liquid in the refrigerator and seems pretty mexicanny anyway, but you can use any kind of vegetable or olive oil.
I've only recently discovered the beauty of annatto oil when I was trying to impress my mother in law by making Spanish food for lunch this summer. This was one of my first blog posts.
The simplest of salads
9 hours ago