Piedras and Molcajete Pesto

 in Kitchen

In 2010 when I came to the Yucatan I was already vegan and the options for street food were highly limited. We searched and searched asking many questions until piedras feel into my hands. They were a fried corn snack with a bean in the middle and a mild salsa to go on top. It was my second day in Mérida and as I sat in the crowded market square to eat my snack I felt the heat of the sun against my neck.

I have had better piedras since then, but those first bites of street food where like gold to a traveling vegan.

With an abundance of fresh nixtamal corn this time of year it is only natural that I would want to make a Yucatecan snack. Piedras is as simple as snacks get.

I’ve gotten a bit healthier about my fried masa and now I always mix in chaya or a garden pesto

A molcajete or mortar and pestle is simple tool that has been used for generations throughout Mexico. When I was a child I always wanted one of these even though I had no idea what I would do with it.

Now I use my molcajete to make garlic paste and pestos as well as salsas.
One of my favorite things to do is collect the edible leaves from my garden and mix them into a healthy fast pesto.

I usually collect rosemary, epazote, thyme, oregano, lime leaves, and amaranth leaves. I crush them in the molcajete with garlic, seeds and a splash of oil. Now this is ready to eat with tortillas, bread or smashed into your masa. It is a fast way to improve tortillas and an easy base for tomato sandwiches.

Garden Pesto Piedras

100 g garden greens (mix of kale, lime leave, rosemary, epazote etc.)
50 g seeds (I use almonds or pumpkin seeds)
A pinch of coarse sea salt
1-2 cloves of garlic
A splash of olive oil
500 g masa (corn dough)
Beans (optional)

Crush the greens, seeds, garlic oil and salt together in your molcajete (mortar and pestle) until all the seeds are crushed up and the leaves are mashed together (about 5 minutes)

Prepare the masa by grinding nixtamalized corn, buying it from your local tortillaria or if no other option purchasing maseca, Bob’s makes a really good one you just mixing it with water and salt.

With your hands mash together the molcajete peso with the fresh masa until well integrated. You masa may change color some, this is normal.

Take small portions of the masa and roll it between the palms of your hand these should be about ½ the size of a golf ball. Once you have made a circle you can press a bean into the center to make it more original or you can skip this step.

Because I try not deep fry, I flatten each of my balls slightly so it cooks faster and pan fry it. Place on an oiled, well heated cast iron pan and cook until golden brown. Flip and repeat until golden brown.

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