Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Little Red Bottle of Annatto Achiote Oil

Since picking up a copy of Viva Vegan by Terry Hope Romero all those years ago, I have been making her popular vegan Chorizo sausages recipe.  Her newer cookbooks Salad Samurai and Protein Ninja are on the wish list too, but I still find myself dipping into Viva Vegan now and again, and did so recently with her Veneuzuelan Black Beans.  

However, the last time I made the vegan chorizo sausages was when I was on my vegetarian adventure and I made what had become a popular dish on the menu Chorizo, potato Quesadilla's, but haven't made any since as I struggled to find vital wheat gluten in Wales.  But now I am able to find some as most independent places that stock vegetarian and vegan ingredients sell Suma vital wheat gluten.  My trouble now is getting hold of annatto seeds, also known as achiote seeds for making Achiote oil.  

Achiote oil is not hard to make, the hardest part is acquiring achiote seeds. When I lived in Glasgow I was able to pick this up at Lupe Pintos in the West End, but now I live in the Welsh valleys, I love it - but some ingredients are not easy to find, so a trip to the city, whether its Cardiff or Bristol is always welcome.  
Well I found some achiote - annatto seeds and I decided to make some chorizo sausages.  If you can't find the seeds, don't worry - you can still make the vegan chorizo sausage recipe without it, but it does add something....mostly colour. 

You might also be interested to know about Recado Rojo  paste.  A while back a fellow blogger friend had given some Recado Rojo aka Achiote (Annatto) Paste and I made Achiote Tempeh Steaks.  There was something Tandoori paste like about the achiote paste, but it was not as highly seasoned, spiced or particularly fragrant.  It did however impart a fantastic muddy red saffron colouring to the tempeh.
Handy for a few Mexican recipes to impart colour, but I've only ever used it for the vegan chorizo sausages.
Annatto or  Achiote Oil
Ingredients 250ml Vegetable, olive or sunflower oil
6 tablespoons olive oil
Heat the oil with the annatto seeds and bring to a simmer.  then turn off the heat and allow it to infuse for 30 minutes or loner, overnight for it to cool completely.  Then strain and transfer to bottle.  


  1. We brought back some achiote seeds from a holiday in Mexico. We've been struggling to find a way to use them because they are so hard and don't seem to soften when cooked. Your recipe solves the problem!

    1. Good to hear from you Mark. Hope your well and retirement is keeping you busy other than just veg growing. I am pleased this helps a bit, hopefully I will come back with some more suggestions. Warm wishes as always

  2. I'd forgotten about that sausage recipe. I made it once and they were great. I didn't have any achiote seeds though so didn't achieve that fantastic colour. I have just got some more vital wheat gluten ordered online from Real Foods so I may give them a go again.

    1. Thank you, the chorizo sausages are deeeeelicious!!!!


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