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A Vegetarian Recipe for Spicy, Juicy Tacos de Jamaica. Just in Time for Tonight

3:09 PM PDT on May 5, 2020

[dropcap size=big]S[/dropcap]pent jamaica blossoms, after you’ve boiled and collected all of its tart flavors, are surprisingly satisfying when sauteed and smeared onto a tortilla. This vegetarian-friendly guisado has been Mexico’s best-kept secret for a couple of decades now. In Los Angeles, Jocelyn Ramirez of Todo Verde is introducing this savory, sour, chipotle-seasoned guisado to a new generation of plant-based taco fans via her brand new cookbook, La Vida Verde.

We can think of many reasons why you may want the recipe to Todo Verde’s tacos de jamaica on Cinco de Mayo.

1) Maybe you’re quarantined with a vegan. At least cannibalism has not been a serious concern for a while.

2) You need something to confront that ice cream diet you’ve adhered to for the past two months that doesn’t seem to be working.

3) Simply stated, they’re effing delicious.

You can get all the ingredients easily at Northgate. Along with a few bottles of mezcal or tequila, cuz shots for the cook are in order! 

Last weekend, Ramirez was kind enough to do a live cooking demonstration of it in our first-ever digital edition of Taco Madness. She revealed all of her sazón’s secrets!

But in case you missed it, she has graciously allowed us to reprint her recipe below.  So you can cook them for your family or roommates on Cinco de Mayo.

Todo Verde’s Tacos de Jamaica 

Serves 4 to 6

3 cups dried jamaica flowers

8 cups (2 L) water, divided

1 large tomato, quartered

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1⁄3 cup cooking oil, divided, plus more for cooking as needed

1⁄4 red onion, thinly sliced

Salt to taste 

1 tsp ground cumin 

1 tsp dried oregano 

1 serrano chile, minced and deseeded (if too spicy)

2 tbsp chipotle adobo sauce

2 tbsp orange juice

Tortillas hechas a Mano, for serving

Avocado slices, to garnish

Cashew crema, to garnish

Wash the jamaica flowers in a strainer. Add 4 cups (960 ml) of the water with the flowers to a medium pot. Bring to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes. Strain the water from the pot. (You can keep this water to make a jamaica agua fresca.) Rinse the jamaica flowers in a strainer again. Add the remaining water and the jamaica flowers to the same pot and bring to a boil for another 15 minutes. Strain the jamaica leaves and set aside.

While the jamaica leaves are boiling, you can prepare the other ingredients. Put the tomato in a blender with the garlic. Blend until smooth and set aside.

Coat a sauté pan with 2 tablespoons of the oil and preheat over medium-low heat. Add the onion and salt and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until slightly soft and translucent. Add the cumin and oregano and sauté for 1 minute. Add the remaining oil, strained jamaica leaves and more salt. Sauté until the ingredients are well incorporated. Add the tomato mixture from the blender and the serrano chile, chipotle adobo sauce and orange juice and sauté for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the liquid slightly evaporates and the jamaica leaves soften and the flavors meld together. Add additional oil as needed. Serve on a freshly made tortillas hechas a mano with avocado slices and cashew crema over the top.

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