Chefs' Recipes

La Casita's tostada with achiote-grilled albacore

“This achiote paste is usually slathered over our pork for tacos al pastor,” says La Casita chef Josh Lewis. “Here, I’ve used it on some beautiful albacore, which has a meaty yet delicate texture and flavour.”

By Josh Lewis
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 30 mins cooking (plus steeping, marinating)
  • Serves 6 - 8
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  • 500 gm fillet albacore shoulder or belly, sliced 1cm thick
  • Vegetable oil, for shallow-frying and brushing
  • Roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped, to serve
  • Coriander sprigs, to serve
Achiote paste
  • 6 guajillo chillies (see note)
  • 100 ml apple cider vinegar
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 cloves, finely ground
  • 5 allspice berries, finely ground
  • 40 gm achiote paste (see note)
  • 35 ml lime juice
  • 275 gm masa flour (preferably organic; see note)
Tomatillo salsa
  • 250 gm fresh or canned tomatillos
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 30 gm finely diced white onion (about 1/4 small onion)
  • 2 tbsp coarsely chopped coriander


  • 1
    For achiote paste, combine chillies, vinegar and 350ml water in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover and steep chillies in liquid (15 minutes). Drain chillies, then remove seeds and membranes and coarsely chop (discard liquid). Combine chillies in a blender with remaining ingredients and 1 tsp salt and blend to a smooth paste.
  • 2
    Cover fish with achiote paste, place in the refrigerator and leave to marinate (2 hours).
  • 3
    For tortillas, preheat oven to 100°C. Combine flour and 340ml tepid water in a bowl and mix with your hands until a soft, smooth dough forms (adding more water or flour if necessary). Roll dough into balls about 35gm each, then press in a tortilla press between two pieces of baking paper (alternatively, press with a heavy saucepan). Heat a barbecue to medium, or a char-grill pan over medium heat. Grill tortillas until just set (2 minutes each side). Transfer to a baking tray and place in the oven until dried (20 minutes).
  • 4
    For tomatillo salsa, if using fresh tomatillos, cook tomatillos, garlic, jalapeño and ½ tsp salt in a saucepan over medium heat until softened (10-15 minutes). If using canned tomatillos, process tomatillos, garlic and jalapeño in a food processor to a chunky salsa. Stir in onion and coriander, then refrigerate until required.
  • 5
    Heat oil in a wide saucepan over medium-high heat until hot. Add tortillas and shallow-fry, in batches, turning once, until golden and crisp (1 minute each side). Drain on paper towels.
  • 6
    Preheat a barbecue, preferably woodfire, to high. Brush one side of fish with oil and grill until charred and medium-rare (2-3 minutes). Remove from heat.
  • 7
    To serve, place fish on tortillas, top with a spoonful of tomatillo salsa, peanuts and coriander and serve hot.


Guajillo chillies and achiote paste are available from select Mexican food shops, The Essential Ingredient, (, The Essential Ingredient and online from or Masa flour is available from Mexican food shops, and online from [] (