Sunday, 22 November 2009

Recipe: Tilapia in pipian verde (pumpkin seed sauce)



Also known as mole verde, toasted pumpkin seeds provide the base of this fragrant, nutty green sauce. While a typical recipe requires a long list of ingredients (including those that aren't so easy to come by such as tomatillos), the sauce outlined below is much simpler. Served over a grilled piece of fish or poached chicken alongside some Mexican white rice or quinoa, it's a light and and vibrant dish with an distinctive taste. The sauce also freezes well and makes a great filling for tacos or enchiladas.

Pipian or Mole Verde (serves 6 generously)
1 onion, sliced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
100g hulled pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp thyme
Bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
3 lettuce leaves (Romaine or Little Gem), roughly chopped
2 jalapenos, roughly chopped
800ml stock

Toast the seeds in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Stir regularly until they have turned golden brown (do not let them get too dark). Once they begin to make a popping sound, it won't take longer than 5 minutes. allow to cool, leaving some aside as a garnish.

Place the seeds in a blender with the onion, garlic, coriander, lettuce and chillies. Add 325ml of the stock and blend.

Heat 1tsbp oil in a large saucepan and when it's hot, add the puree and stir constantly, as it thickens, for 10 minutes. Stir in the rest of the stock and allow to simmer, partially covered, for 30 mins.

Return the sauce to the blender and blend until smooth. Gently reheat back in the saucepan, and season with salt. Ladle the sauce over some pieces of chicken or fish and garnish with the reserved seeds.

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