MELT #2 The 3-C Spice Blend (Chipotle, Coriander and Cumin)

I absolutely love the smoky flavor of chipotle chile’s! Did you know chipotle chili is a large jalapeño chile that is dried and then smoked. The name is derived from the Nahuatl (group of peoples native to southern Mexico and Central America, including the Aztecs.) word chilpoctli, which means smoked chili pepper.

Chipotle’s are primarily cultivated in Oaxaca, Chihuahua, Southern New Mexico and Southern Texas.  Farmers pick green jalapeños for markets and leave some chile’s to naturally ripen while still on the wine, they are harvested once they attain a deep red color and have lost most of its moisture. The red-dry jalapeños are then moved to a sealed smoking chamber, spread out on metal grills and allowed to dry with very low heat and wood smoke. This process takes several days until all the moisture is removed.

Dried chipotle chile is wrinkly, about 3-4 inches long and has a deep brown color. It tastes sweet and smoky at the same time has a complex, nutty and chocolatey flavor. I originally bought these chiles from the local grocery store but wasn’t impressed with the freshness or quality. I finally found them on Amazon and they were wonderful, it has reviews by Texans who claim these chiles are better than what they have found locally!

This blend is inspired by my love for good street style tacos, with perfectly spiced well done meat, chopped red onions, fresh cilantro and a generous squeeze of lime. The smokiness of the blend enhances the flavor of meat or even seafood.

So the primary spice in the blend are the Chipotle Chile’s, secondary ingredients are Cumin and Coriander Seeds (3-C). I also used some fresh garlic pods for that extra punch of flavor.

The first step is to dry roast spices, starting with chipotle chile’s which need to be lightly toasted on a skillet until they get fragrant. Set these aside and then toast cumin and coriander seeds until aromatic.

Sometimes these chile’s are sautéed in oil before toasting, this step is not necessary for the 3-C blend.

Blitz in a food processor or a Vitamin dry jar, add the garlic pods and pulse a few times to coarsely crush it and blend it with the mix. I used garlic with the skin on, this lends to the flavor.

This blend is good when used as a marinade for meats, in soups and stews, cooked sauce’s or even salsa’s.

Like any spice blend, proportions are everything!

MELT #2

Ingredients:

8 Chipotle Chile’s

2 Tbsp Cumin Seeds

1 Tbsp Coriander Seeds

2 Lobes of Garlic

Method:

Roast chipotle chile’s over medium heat on a heavy bottom pan (or a skillet), until fragrant and set it aside.

Then roast cumin and coriander seeds.

Grind chile’s, cumin and coriander seeds first. Then add the garlic and then grind into a coarse blend.

 

Recipe Ideas

Smoky street style chipotle chicken tacos

 

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