Have you ever wondered what our abuelitas used to season their food before powdered seasoning blends like sazón y adobo came out from Goya and Badia?

Back in the day, food was seasoned with natural, fresh ingredients that you could find at any market. Things like sofrito, sazon liquido, naranja agria, achiote oil, and so much more is what old school Dominican cooks use to bring sabor to their food.

Use achiote oil instead of powdered sazón

Everybody knows how much Dominicans love their sazón, but those ingredients on the back of the packet are a little off putting… Sure they’re convenient, but our ancestors made due without them!

The main ingredient in sazón is annatto, which is is what gives it the seasoning that vibrant orange color and peppery flavor. Big brands tend to throw in extra artificial colors too, so even though you’ll need to supplement with additional natural flavors like oregano and garlic, at least you can be sure that your food won’t have any Red 40 or preservatives.

Infuse achiote oil with garlic and herbs

For even more flavor, you can throw in garlic cloves and fresh herbs like thyme, culantro, and oregano to your aceite de bija. Just make sure to stieve everything before storing it in an oil bottle or dispenser.

Step-by-step instructions

  • In a pot, combine oil, annatto seeds, and garlic.
  • Place over medium heat until it begins to simmer, or about 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and set aside to cool for about 15 minutes.
  • Stieve the seeds and garlic, then transfer to an oil bottle or dispenser.
  • Store in a cool, dark place and use it in your favorite stews, rice, and meat recipes! 

You don’t need powdered seasonings to maker Dominican food!

I’ll be the first to say that powdered seasonings are NOT necessary to make delicious Dominican food. Ingredients like adobo and sazón are like shortcuts to flavor, kinda like using canned beans instead of dry, soaked beans.

Yes, they’re convenient when you’re in a time crunch, but true flavor takes time. The time it takes to prepare fresh sofrito, prepare your achiote oil, and marinate your flavors together is what real Dominican cooking is about. Trust me, you will taste the difference.

Achiote Oil Dominican Aceite de Bija

Achiote Oil (Aceite de Bija)

5 from 1 vote
Step into the kitchen of old school Dominican cooks and learn about the traditional ingredient that brings sabor to their food – achiote oil.
Cook Time 5 minutes
Cool Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Seasoning
Cuisine Dominican
Servings 1.5 cups

Ingredients
  

  • cups olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1/3 cup annatto seeds or 2½ tbsp ground annatto
  • 6 cloves garlic

Instructions
 

  • In a pot, combine oil, annatto seeds, and garlic. Place over medium heat until it begins to simmer, or about 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and set aside to cool for about 15 minutes. Stieve the seeds and garlic, then transfer to an oil bottle or dispenser.
  • Store in a cool, dark place and use it in your favorite stews, rice, and meat recipes! Buen provecho!
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