Los Angeles, CA
Yeah... I'm a huge fan of Nina's...
From Tasting Table
With so many nouveau food trucks on the streets, it was poetic justice for an old-fashioned street cart like Nina's Food to take top honors at L.A.'s inaugural Vendy Awards.
The cart's fresh-corn tortilla quesadillas and torta-like pambazos easily gave owner Nina Garcia the win, but her salsa de semillas just might be what put her dishes above the rest.
You'll only find the salsa--a mixture of toasted sesame and pumpkin seeds, peanuts and smoky chile de arbol--at Garcia's stand, which she's parked in Boyle Heights for almost 20 years.
It adds a nutty, spicy crunch to her Mexico City-style quesadillas ($3), especially ones overflowing with gooey huitlacoche or squash blossoms and mozzarella cheese. And her legendary chorizo-and-potato-stuffed grilled pambazos ($3) wouldn't be the same without it.
It's so versatile, you can sprinkle it on just about anything. We like the texture and toasted flavor it gives to chilled avocado soup or green-bean salad with sweet roasted red peppers. It's a no-brainer for cold peanut noodles, too.
Salsa de Semi!as
Recipe adapted from Nina Garcia
Makes about 2 cups
• 2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
• 1/3 cup dried chile de arbol (about 15 pods)
• ½ cup crushed roasted peanuts
• ½ cup green pumpkin seeds
• ¼ cup white sesame seeds
• ¼ cup black sesame seeds
• Kosher salt
1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the
chiles and toast until aromatic, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Leave the oil in the pan, and put the peppers in a food
processor and pulse until crushed.
2. In the same pan, toast the peanuts, pumpkin seeds and
sesame seeds over medium heat until aromatic, about 2
to 3 minutes. Return the crushed chiles to the pan and
toast the mixture for 1 minute longer. Turn off the heat,
add a few pinches of salt and serve.
I just made this recipe on 6/15 and those arbol chiles are HOT! So, you might want to adjust the heat. I made a double load and will either freeze or at least refrigerate the salsa. But it does taste pretty great. I'll have to compare the taste to Nina's since I haven't had the pleasure to taste her's.
Note: The salsa will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Edited by Darrell on Jun 14, 2010 2:16 PM
Los Angeles, CA
Hot Savory Sandwiches: Pambazos by Karen Hursh Graber © 2003 of Mexconnect.com
Every region of Mexico has its own beloved street foods, and pambazos seem to be especially favored in parts of Puebla and Veracruz. Although the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows falls on a meatless Lenten Friday, pambazos are still enjoyed, with many vendors substituting quesillo- string cheese- for the chicken. The savory sauce that drenches the rolls, and the sliced avocado and onion garnishes, make these more than just ordinary sandwiches. Along with a salad, they make a good light supper. Pambazos are softer than regular Mexican bolillos, so use bread rolls, sometimes known as peasant bread, rather than French rolls. The sauce may be frozen in small containers for quick meals as needed.
Ingredients for the pambazos:
* 8 soft rolls, split and hollowed out slightly
* 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded, or shredded Oaxaca or string cheese
* 2 avocados, peeled and sliced
* 1 large white onion, sliced into thin rings
* 1 recipe pambazo sauce, below
Ingredients for the sauce:
* 1 pound plum tomatoes
* 2 ½ ounces guajillo chiles, seeded and deveined
* 1/8 teaspoon cumin
* 2 whole cloves
* 2 whole allspice berries
* ½ teaspoon oregano
* ½ stick cinnamon
* ½ medium white onion, peeled and grated
* 1 large clove garlic, crushed
* 1 ½ tablespoons corn oil
* salt to taste
Make the sauce by placing the tomatoes, chiles and spices in a medium saucepan with water just to cover. Boil until the tomatoes are soft, liquefy in a blender, push through a sieve or food mill, and set aside.
Heat the oil, add the onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until softened. Add strained tomato mixture and cook until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
Assemble the sandwiches by filling the rolls with the chicken or cheese, ladling warm sauce over all, and topping with the avocado and onion.
Makes 8 sandwiches.
Los Angeles, CA
Another Pambazo Sandwich from Food Network
* 8 guajillo chiles
* 2 garlic cloves
* 1/2 medium yellow onion
* 2 medium potatoes
* 6 ounces Mexican chorizo, casings removed
* 4 (4-inches long) pambazos, teleras, or French-bread rolls, slit lengthwise and with some bread removed
* Canola oil, for frying, as needed
* 1 cup very thinly sliced red cabbage
* 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Make a lengthwise cut on 1 side of the guajillo chiles and remove seeds. Put chiles in a bowl and cover with boiling water, letting soak for 20 minutes or until soft. Place chiles and some of the soaking water in a blender, puree with garlic and onion, strain and set aside.
Cook the potatoes whole with skin on in salted water for about 25 minutes or until they feel soft. Then remove the skin and cut into small dice.
In a medium-size non-stick skillet cook the chorizo at low heat and remove all the excess oil, add the diced potatoes and mix; season with salt.
Stuff the bread with the potato-chorizo mixture. Dip the stuffed bread in the guajillo sauce and saute in the hot oil on both sides.
Right before serving mix the cabbage with the vinegar, divide and insert into the sandwich.
Los Angeles, CA
I made Nina's Salsa de Semitas recipe with some minor variations and I don't think the recipe needs to be that strict... Make it your own.