With its rich brown flesh and creamy texture it’s not surprising that, outside Mexico, zapote negro is often called “chocolate pudding fruit.”
Beneath its papery olive-green skin, you wouldn’t expect to find such a rich brown, pudding-like pulp. Nor would you likely feel inclined to choose one that’s properly ripe, all wizened, saggy and split!
It’s not sweet like chocolate pudding, but, like raw, natural cacao, zapote negro has an earthy and slightly floral flavor. It’s pleasant enough, but doesn’t make a big impression on its own.
Many Mexicans grew up enjoying this fruit as a creamy drink, blended with orange juice, a little sugar, and for the adults, a shot of tequila!
We decided to go the savory direction, and added a little spice and tang to make this catsup-like condiment.
What does it go well with?
We serve this catsup with crisped (roasted or fried) root vegetables like camote (sweet potato), makal (Mayan word referring to a tropical tuber)any of the many tubers that can be found in Mexico.
Give it a try, and let us know what you think!
Zapote Negro Catsup
Serve this zesty condiment with root vegetable fries.
Crush all ingredients except naranja agria and water in a molcajete, with mortar and pestle*. Add naranja agria juice.
Strain mixture into zapote negro pulp.
Taste and add water to thin or neutralize flavor.
Add salt if needed.
*If you don't have a molcajete or mortar and pestle, blend all ingredients except the zapote negro together in a blender to make a runny paste.
This recipe was created for our "Cooking Plant Foods of the Yucatán" class series. If you're in Mérida (or planning to be)consider joining Erin Gomez Danielson to learn this and other creative recipes using the local ingredients.
We all know by now why we love avocados, right? They are high in monounsaturated fats in the form of oleic acid. Monounsaturated fat is considered to be a “good fat” which reduces levels of bad cholesterol in your blood (by raising the ‘good’ cholesterol) which lowers your risk of stroke and heart disease
One avocado contains about 4 grams of protein, and 11 grams of fibre– close to half of the daily recommended minimum intake (fibre? in something so buttery-smooth? Amazing!), and more potassium than a banana!
The recipe is very loose; if you prefer your chocolate very dark, add more cocoa. If you start with a large avocado, you will need more cocoa; watch the color of the mixture: a greenish tinge means add more cocoa. You’ll know when the color is right because it will look like the best chocolate pudding you ever had. When mixing, your blender will need a little help– don’t keep adding more and more liquid on top. Instead, stop the motor occasionally, and push the contents back down toward the blade with a spatula, giving it a bit of a mix. Only add enough liquid to make it a teeny-tiny bit thinner than a perfect pudding consistency.
You really can’t go wrong with this one…Taste as you go, and play with add-ins to give it your own signature touch.
Then, find a secret place and spoon every last dollop into your mouth. This isn’t sinful decadence– it’s healthy, virtuous ecstasy.
2 teaspoonssaltdepending on the saltiness of the broth
8 halveschicken breast(2 to 2 ½ pounds total) small, boneless, skinless , trimmed or about 2 pounds of peeled and cleaned jumbo shrimp*
1. Roasting, toasting and browning.
Roast the chiles directly over a gas flame or on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until blackened on all sides, about 5 minutes for open flame, about 4 minutes each side for the broiler. Place chiles in a bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and let stand 5 minutes. Remove charred skin and pull out the stem and seed pod. Briefly rinse off bits of skin and seeds; roughly chop them and place in a large work bowl.
Roast the tomatillos on a baking sheet 6 inches below the broiler until softened and a little brown on one side, about 3 minutes, then turn them over and roast the other side. (We do not blacken them here so the sauce will be more green). Transfer the tomatillos (including all juices) to the bowl with the chiles.
Heat a small skillet over medium and add the sesame seeds. Stir nearly continually until golden and aromatic, 2 to 4 minutes. Scrape in with the chile mixture, then toast the almonds in the same manner (they will roast a little irregular and take 2 to 4 minutes), scrape them in with the sesame.
2. Finishing the mole.
To the bowl with the growing pile of ingredients, add the plantain, tortilla, garlic, raisins, peanuts, romaine, parsley, cinnamon, pepper, anise seed and cloves. Stir in 2 cups of the broth, then in a blender, in batches, process to a very smooth puree (if you have a commercial style VitaMix blender, you can do this in one batch), press batches of puree through a mesh strainer into a bowl.
Set a medium-sized (4-quart) pot (such as a Dutch oven or a Mexican cazuela) over medium heat and measure in the oil. When the oil is hot enough to make a drop of the puree sizzle sharply, add it all at once. Stir for 3 or 4 minutes, as the mixture sears and thickens. Stir in the remaining 3 cups of broth, partially cover the pot, and gently simmer over medium-low, stirring regularly, for about 30 minutes to allow the variety of flavors to come into harmony. At this point, the sauce should have the consistency of a thick cream soup. Taste and season with salt.
3. The chicken
Turn on the oven to 350 degrees. Coat the bottom of a 13×9-inch baking dish with some of the mole, lay in the chicken breasts in a single layer, then ladle enough sauce over them to generously cover them. Save extra sauce, if any, for another use. Bake until chicken is just done, 20 – 30 minutes. With tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a warm serving platter. Stir the sauce to incorporate any accumulated chicken juices, then add a little more broth if necessary, to give the sauce the consistency of a light cream soup. Ladle the mole over the chicken, sprinkle with a few sesame seeds and decorate with parsley.
* If you decide to use shrimp, prepare on the stovetop instead. Bring the mole to a low simmer, then add the shrimp in a single layer. Cook for about 4 minutes, then turn the shrimp over for another 3 (this will depend on the size of the shrimp, of course)
Advance preparation: The mole can be made several days ahead through step 2; cover and refrigerate. Bake the chicken in the sauce shortly before serving. The mole also freezes successfully