This wonderful blend has (i hope) an interesting story behind it. It started off with me wanting a blend of seasoning to throw into my beans when making mex/texmex/latin american foods, so i threw together a bunch of herbs and spices that typically get used in bean dishes; epazote, cumin, mexican oregano, etc….i fell in love! i started using it to flavour salsas, sauces, rice, vegetables, elotes….the list kept growing. So what i originally unceremoniously named “bean seasoning” evolved; i added hoja santa, the leaves of a plant related to black pepper with a delicious spiced, minty, sassafras kind of flavor. Then hojas de aguacates (avocado leaves), yes! avocado leaves, they can be eaten too! They have a very warm and delightful nutty, anise-esque flavor and are common in oaxacan/southern mexican cuisine, notably in black beans. Then came the breakthrough moment when i was talking to a friend about the mystical magical aroma and flavor of tejpat leaves (also known as indian bay leaves) with their alluring spicy, cinnamon-y, with a touch of allspice, sweet, slightly floral, heady wonderful wonderfulness. I added these to the blend, and BOOM!
2g | 1 heaping tsp coriander seed, whole
2g | 8 whole bay leaves, crumbled
5g | 3 ½ tsp epazote, crumbled
2g | 1 ½ tsp thyme
3g | 2 ¼ tsp mexican oregano
5g | 1 ½ tsp granulated garlic
9g | 1 Tbsp + ¾ tsp onion powder
3g | 1 tsp black peppercorns
2g | heaping ¾ tsp sweet smoked paprika*
1g | just shy of ½ tsp chipotle powder*
8g | 4 tsp cumin seed, whole
2g | 1 ½ tsp hoja santa, crumbled
2g | 1 ½ tsp hoja de aguacate, crumbled
2g | 4-5 whole tejpat leaves, crumbled
Toast cumin and coriander (separately) in a pan over medium heat, until aroma and color just start to change and they are fragrant with toasted notes, allow to cool *
Grind all non-powder ingredients
Add in powder ingredients and pulse to combine
Will keep for 6 months tightly sealed, or you can freeze it for up to a year
* to make raw, simply sub unsmoked (or cold smoked) chiles and skip toasting the spices
These are the wonderful ingredients you’ll be using to create some magic green powder to make even your shoe taste good! I’d explain everything, but i sort of already did that….aside from what i mentioned before, we have mexican oregano (NOT the same as italian or greek oregano, totally different plant with a very different flavor, check out my post on that here), turkish bay leaves, coriander, cumin, thyme, black pepper, and then some small amounts of onion, garlic, smoked paprika, and chipotle to help sweeten things up and round out the flavours.
See those?! Right up there?! THOSE are tejpat leaves (or indian bay leaves, whatever) and you simply MUST have them. why? They are divine. I love them. They’re magical. I’m pretty sure they are grown in the mythical kingdom of shangri-la exclusively by faeries and are fertilised with nothing but unicorn poop. They’re these large boring, plain looking leaves, totally not noteworthy, but then you smell them…..You’ll understand (hopefully) once you have them in hand. They can be tricky to find, though you can order them online easy enough and find them in any well-stocked indian market, and some international foods markets. They’re worth it, i promise.
This is pretty darn easy to throw together, and i recommend a double batch (i go through that much in a month sometimes!) If you’re having problems locating some of the herbs locally (and don’t want to order online for some crazy reason) check around for a mexican or latin american market, google “mercado” if that helps, or “tienda.” you’re welcome. Sometimes you can find them in chain grocers that have a mexican/hispanic foods section, or in the produce area, typically they’re in little cellophane bags hanging somewhere.
As for using this crazy concoction of yum, go crazy, go wild, throw caution to the wind! I really haven’t found anything it’s not good on/in….though i will admit to it standing up best with other mex/texmex/latin flavors. Try subbing it for taco seasoning, sprinkling it on nachos, using it (obvi) for beans, or rice….mix with some salt and use on corn for elotes…i hope you’ll find yourself reaching for this half as much as i do [you will. you will do this]