ANNATTO SEEDS PASTE FROM THE ACHIOTE TREE.(Bixa Orellana)
Achiote Paste is used in Mexican, Latin American and Indian cooking to add flavour and colour.
These dry elements are bound together using water or vinegar and then pressed into block form.Achiote (aka Annatto paste) is made from ground annatto seeds, which give it its colouring, and from other items which give it its flavour, such as cinnamon, salt, oregano, garlic, cloves, coriander, cumin, and bay leaves.
The paste is designed to dissolve completely in a hot liquid, just as a bouillon cube would.
It can be used as a sauce, marinade or rub in many delicious traditional Mexican dishes including cochinita pibil, chorizos. longanizas, tacos al pastor, and Indian Tandoori.
Annatto is an orange-red condiment and food colouring derived from the seeds of the Achiote tree native to tropical regions from Mexico to Brazil.It is often used to impart a yellow or orange colour to foods, but sometimes also for its flavour and aroma. It’s scent is described as "slightly peppery with a hint of nutmeg" and the flavour as "slightly nutty, sweet and peppery".
The colour of Annatto comes from various carotenoid pigments, mainly bixin and norbixin, found in the reddish waxy coating of the seeds. The condiment is typically prepared by grinding the seeds to a powder or paste. Similar effects can be obtained by extracting some of the colour and flavour from the seeds with hot water, oil, or lard, which are then added to the food.
Annatto and its extracts are now widely used as a colouring agent in many processed food products, such as cheeses, dairy spreads, butter and margarine, custards, cakes and other baked goods, potatoes, snack foods, breakfast cereals, smoked fish, sausages, and more. In these uses, Annatto is a natural alternative to synthetic food colouring compounds, but it has been linked to rare cases of food-related allergies. Annatto is of particular commercial value in the United States because the Food and Drug Administration considers colorants derived from it to be "exempt of certification".