Green pipián is one of the most delicious Mexican recipes in existence and it’s fairly simple to make. Although traditionally served with chicken, we’ve decided to come up with our own vegan version and it’s every bit as delicious. Pipian is basically a tasty and nutritious sauce composed of vegetables, seeds and spices that are easy to find in your local market, “tomatillos” might be the only challenging ingredient to find, but most latin american shops usually have cans of whole tomatillos available. In case you’re able to find fresh “tomatillos” you’d have to boil them first until they turn dark green, that way they’d be ready to be used for this particular dish. (Version en español disponible.)
Ingredients (Serves 3 – 4):
For the pipián
- 350/400 g of momen tofu (firm tofu)
- 15 tomatillos (we used La Costeña Tomatillos)
- 100 g of raw pumpkin seeds
- a handful of cilantro
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 serrano chiles (optional)
- 2 cubes of vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- 4 cloves
- 6 small peppercorns
- 3 cups of water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Vegetable oil
For the rice
- 1 cup of white rice
- 2 medium sized tomatoes
- 1/2 a cup of canned corn
- 1 carrot
- 1 small potato
- 1 cube of vegetable stock
- 2 cups of water
- Salt to taste
Optional: Corn or wheat tortillas.
1. Start by chopping the onion into large pieces and roasting it in a big pot with a bit of oil over low heat for a few minutes. Proceed by adding a peeled garlic clove and letting it roast a few minutes as well, make sure neither end up burnt.
2. Once the onion and garlic are slightly roasted, add the pumpkin seeds and stir every once in a while, when the seeds start popping it’s time to add 3 cups of water, 2 cubes of vegetable broth and a pinch of salt. Stir every now and then and bring to boil.
3. When the water starts to boil it’s time to add the tomatillos, serrano chiles, cumin, cloves, peppercorns and another pinch of salt. Bring to boil again, once it starts boiling add the cilantro, turn off the heat and blend.
4. The result should be a bit chunky, in between a paste and a sauce. However, if it feels too thick, half a cup of water and another pinch of salt can be added to dilute the “pipian”. Let it simmer for around 30 minutes over low heat and stir ocassionally to prevent it from sticking. While the “pipian” simmers, it’s time to cut the tofu into cubes and season them with some salt and a tiny bit of pepper.
5. Fry the tofu cubes with some vegetable oil, around 5 minutes each side over medium heat. Once they’re nicely fried put the cubes in the pot with the “pipian” blend, let it simmer for 30 extra minutes over really low heat, remember to stir ocassionally and if needed add some extra water so that it doesn’t thicken too much.
6. Add 2 tomatoes to a smaller pot, pour water until it covers the tomatoes completely and bring to boil. Add 3 pinches of salt and let the tomatoes boil until the skin cracks and comes off easily, remove the skin and place them in a steel bowl. Canned tomatoes can also be used in order to skip the previous step. Proceed to blend the peeled tomatoes with 1/2 a cube of vegetable stock and 1/2 cup of water. Set the blend aside.
7. Rinse the pot used for the boiling the tomatoes and dry it properly, peel the carrots and potatoes and chop them into small pieces. Add some vegetable oil to the pot and add the carrots and potatoes, fry over low heat for around 7 minutes. Add the cup of rice and stir continously for 3 minutes, then proceed to add the tomato blend, 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup of canned corn, 1/2 cube of vegetable oil and a pinch of salt. Bring to boil and then simmer for 10 minutes over medium-low heat. Turn the heat off, cover the rice and let it rest for 10 minutes.
8. Now it’s time to put our plate together. Serve equal parts rice and pipian with tofu, top with pumpkin seeds and if possible, have some warm corn or wheat tortillas on the side, they’re the perfect complement to an already amazing meal!
We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did! We also want to thank “Chef Roger” for the inspiration.