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Yucatecan Pipian
– achiote –

The pipianes (or pepianes) are relatively dense salsas that derive its name from the pumpkin seeds (pepitas), that toasted and ground, are one of their main ingredients and they give to these salsas a special softness.

This Yucatecan pipian is little known but very original in its preparation and its flavor is delicious. Not so many ingredients are required and it has a very light and soft texture in comparison with other pipianes. The usage of achiote gives its Yucatecan origin, including
a flavor that is peppery, slightly spicy and nutty touches – that combines wonderful with the pumpkin seed.

It is ideal to be served with white fish. What can be done is to cook the fish with the Yucatecan pipian and when the dish is served accompany it with a white rice and some fried plantains. You will have on your table a very complete dish that everybody will like.

About the Recipe

  • In this recipe you will work in many stages but all are easy to perform.
  • The pumpkin seeds that are used in the recipes must not have salt.
  • Since it is a salsa that specializes in fish dishes, we are going to need a good fish stock and we recommend it to be homemade.
  • In the preparation achiote paste is used, if you don’t find it you can prepare it.
  • The preparation of this salsa is of 45 minutes.
  • Yields about 4 cups.


  • 2 Tomatoes (14.1 oz)
  • 1⅓ cups of Pumpkin Seeds (7 oz)
  • 1/4 of an Onion (1.2 oz)
  • 1 Garlic clove (.1 oz)
  • 1/8 of an Achiote Paste bar (.4 oz)
  • 1 Epazote sprig (.3 oz)
  • 1 qt of Fish Stock
  • 2 tablespoons of Lard
  • 1/4 tablespoon of Salt

  • Cookware

  • 1 Saucepan
  • 1 Frying Pan
  • 1 Griddle
  • 1 Blender
  • 1 Tongs
  • 1 Turner

  • Directions

    Fry the Pumpkin Seeds and Roast some Ingredients

    1. Melt in a frying pan over medium heat 1 tablespoon of lard.
    2. Incorporate in the frying pan 1⅓ cups of pumpkin seeds and fry them for about 2 minutes, until they are moderately fried; stir regularly.

    The pumpkin seeds are going to release their oils and the pipian will have a better flavor.

    1. Transfer from the frying pan to a blender, the pumpkin seeds that were fried; then reserve.
    2. Put on a griddle over medium heat:
    • 2 Tomatoes.
    • 1/4 of an Onion.
    • 1 Garlic clove.

    1. Roast the garlic clove for about 2 minutes and the onion and the tomatoes for about 4 minutes, until all their sides are moderately roasted; move them regularly with some tongs.
    2. Transfer from the griddle to a blender, with the tongs, the ingredients that were roasted.

    Blend All the Ingredients and Cook the Pipian

    1. Also add in the blender, along with the other ingredientes:
    • 1/8 of an Achiote Paste bar.
    • 1 qt of Fish Stock.
    • 1/4 tablespoon of Salt.

    1. Blend very well the ingredients and reserve.
    2. Melt in a saucepan over low heat 1 tablespoon of lard.
    3. Add in the saucepan:
    • The Mixture that was blended.
    • 1 Epazote sprig.

    1. Mix the saucepan ingredients and cook the Yucatecan pipian for about 30 minutes, until it thickens a little and acquires a more intense color; stir occasionally.
    2. When the cooking is done discard the epazote sprig.

    Delicious and Subtle

    Suggestion: When the pipian is served garnish it with pumpkin seeds.

    Variations: If you want to experience more Yucatecan salsas you can prepare the Ha’ Sikil P’ak or the Yucatecan style pico de gallo.

    Did you like the Yucatecan Pipian?

    Mexican Appetizers:

    Potatoes with Peppers
    Chorizo Quesadilla
    Crab Tostada
    Melted Cheese with Peppers
    Devil Shrimps

    Additional Info

    It is very important to use epazote in the salsa so it has a good seasoning.

    This is the achiote bar that can be used in the preparation.

    If you want the lard can be substituted for vegetable shortening.

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