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Pati's Mexican Table

Mango Puff

Mango Puff
Gelatina de Mango

Serves: 12

Gelatina de Mango" alt="Mango Puff
Gelatina de Mango" />


1 cup lukewarm water

2 envelopes (about 2 tablespoons) unflavored gelatin

1 14-ounce can La Lechera sweetened condensed milk

4 cups cubed mango, fresh or thawed from frozen

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 cup diced fresh mango or berries (optional, for garnish)

To Prepare

Pour 1 cup lukewarm water into a medium heatproof bowl and add 2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin. Stir and let rest until mixture puffs up, it will increase slightly in volume, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a small saucepan (that can hold the heatproof bowl) with 2 to 3 inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Place bowl with the gelatin mixture on top the saucepan, creating a water bath or double boiler. Let the bowl rest there, stirring occasionally, until gelatin completely dissolves, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a blender along with the mango chunks and lime juice, puree until completely smooth. Add the diluted gelatin and blend on low speed for a few seconds to combine. Pour into a large mixing bowl. Let it begin to set as you whip up the cream.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy whipping cream until it holds soft peaks. Fold the whipped cream with the mango gelatin until fully combined.

Pour into individual gelatin molds or ramekins, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely chilled and set, at least an hour. Alternatively you can pour it onto a container, and let it chill and spoon onto bowls later.

When ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator and decorate with diced fresh mango or berries of your choice, if desired. Or if chilled in a large bowl, spoon onto individual bowls.


Crazy Chicken and Plantain Torta

Crazy Chicken and Plantain Torta
Torta Loca de Pollo y Plátano

Serves: 6

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Torta Loca de Pollo y Plátano" />


6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breast filets)

2 teaspoons white vinegar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus 3 tablespoons if frying chicken, plus more for plantains

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste

4 whole cloves

2 very ripe plantains, peeled and diagonally sliced

1 1/2 cups refried beans, homemade or store bought

6 bolillos, teleras, individual baguettes or large baguettes cut into 4-inch pieces and halved

2 large ripe Mexican avocados, halved, pitted, meat scooped out and sliced

To Prepare

Place the chicken in a container or dish.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, oil, cumin, cinnamon, allspice black pepper and salt. With your hands, pulverize the tops of the cloves into the mix and discard the stems. Whisk with a fork or whisk until thoroughly combined. Pour the mixture all over the chicken, making sure it is entirely covered. You may marinate it for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator, or cook immediately.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Make sure your chicken thighs are not rolled out before you bake them; they should be in their normal shape, as if there were a bone still in them. Place the baking dish with the chicken in the oven and roast for 25 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 500 and roast for 5 more minutes, until the chicken has browned on top and bottom and the meat is thoroughly cooked. Alternatively, heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large casserole or frying pan set over medium high heat. Once hot, cook the chicken for about 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Let the chicken rest for a few minutes before you slice. Once it is cool enough to handle, cut each thigh into 1/2-inch slices across the grain.

Heat about 1/2-inch oil in a large casserole or frying pan over medium to medium-high heat. Once it is hot, test with a plantain slice to see if there are active bubbles all around it (without foaming over). Fry the plantain slices, without crowding the pan (you may need to do it in batches), for about 2 to 3 minutes per side until they are golden brown, a bit caramelized and crisp. Remove and place on a paper towel covered plate.

Heat your refried beans!

To assemble the tortas: If the bread is fresh, just slice it in half, no need to toast. If it isn’t fresh, toast it for a few minutes. Spread about 2 to 3 tablespoons refried beans on the bottom half, top with 4 to 5 cooked plantain slices, then a chicken thigh and then 3 to 4 slices of avocado. Place top half on bread on. Cut in half and eat, or pack and take it to go.


Sandwich Rollups

Sandwich Rollups
Rollitos de Sandwich

Serves: makes 4 whole rollups, 8 halves

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Rollitos de Sandwich" />


1 ripe Mexican avocado, halved, pitted, meat scooped out, diced and mashed in a bowl

1 teaspoon mayonnaise

2 teaspoons yellow mustard

1 teaspoon adobo sauce from chipotles in adobo sauce, optional, or more to taste

4 sandwich bread slices, whole wheat or white

4 thin slices black forest ham (or the ham or turkey of your choice)

4 slices Muenster or Monterey Jack cheese

To Prepare

In a bowl, mash the avocado and mix with the mayonnaise, mustard and adobo sauce until completely smooth and combined.

To assemble the sandwich rolls: With a rolling pin, roll out each sandwich bread slice until completely flattened. Leaving at least 1 inch around the edges of the bread, spread on a generous tablespoon of the avocado mixture and top with a slice of ham and cheese. Roll up the sandwich and pat to flatten a bit with your hand once you are done. With a sharp knife, cut off the ends of the sandwich roll (less than 1/4-inch) and cut the sandwich roll in half, diagonally.

If sending them to school, pack as is and lay flat on their side.

If you are eating them at home, you can place them in the toaster oven for 2 to 3 minutes and stand them up on the cut flat side.


Potato and Poblano Rajas Salad

Potato and Poblano Rajas Salad
Ensalada de Papitas con Rajas

Serves: 6

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Ensalada de Papitas con Rajas" />


2 pounds baby red potatoes

3 poblano chiles, charred, sweated, peeled and cut into strips

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 1/2 cups halved and thinly sliced red onion

1 teaspoon dried tarragon

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 cup sesame seeds

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt

To Prepare

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Drop in the red potatoes and cook for about 20 minutes, until they are cooked through and the tip of a knife goes in without much resistance, but the potatoes are not falling apart. When ready, drain into a colander. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut into halves.

In a large deep skillet or casserole, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once it is hot, add the sesame oil. Stir in the red onion and cook for about 12 minutes, stirring once in a while, until they have completely softened and edges have begun to slightly brown. Incorporate the poblano chile rajas (strips), stir, cook for a minute or two.

Add the tarragon, allspice and sesame seeds and cook for a couple minutes. Pour in the white wine vinegar and rice vinegar, stir, cook for another minute and turn off the heat.

Place the potatoes in a large bowl, pour the onion, rajas, oil and vinegar mixture on top, and gently toss. Serve warm, at room temperature (how I like them the best) or cold.


Pati is throwing a picnic for family and friends in her backyard. She’ll make some of her favorite “picnic foods” and serve everyone outside picnic-style. It also happens to be her husband Dany’s birthday, so a big surprise is in store!

Guava Spritzer

Guava Spritzer
Bebida de Guayaba

Serves: 8

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Bebida de Guayaba" />


2 cups freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, chilled

4 cups guava nectar, chilled

1/4 cup light agave syrup, or to taste

1 liter citrus sparkling mineral water, chilled

16 ounces tequila blanco, optional for grown ups, 2 ounces per drink

Ice, for serving

Grapefruit supremes or slices, for serving

Lime wedges, for serving

Fresh jalapeño slices (optional, for garnish)

To Prepare

In a large pitcher, combine the grapefruit juice, guava nectar and agave syrup. Stir well to combine. Taste for sweetness and add more agave as necessary. Pour the juice mixture over ice into glasses for serving, top with a splash of mineral water and serve with a grapefruit supreme and lime wedge.

For the adults, pour the juice into an ice filled glass, add 2 ounces of tequila and a splash of mineral water. Garnish with a grapefruit or lime wedge and a fresh jalapeño slice and serve.


Baked Fruit Mixiote

Baked Fruit Mixiote
Mixiote de Frutas

Serves: 6

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Mixiote de Frutas" />


1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup, or honey

2 large peaches, pitted and cut into 6 wedges each

1 cup blueberries

1 cup blackberries

Banana leaves, thawed from frozen

12 fresh mint leaves

Kosher or coarse sea salt

Kitchen twine

To Prepare

In a small saucepan set over medium heat, bring the orange juice, vanilla and agave syrup to a simmer. Leave it at a steady simmer for 15 minutes or until it has reduced by half (to about 3/4 cup). Remove from the heat.

In a bowl, place all the fruit. Pour in the orange juice syrup and gently toss.

Pass the banana leaves over the open flame, steadily, without toasting them. Pass them slowly, just until you see them shine and they become fragrant. It’s steady and slow and should only take a few seconds.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place one banana leave in the bottom of a large baking dish.

Cut 12 pieces of about 14-inches in length. They should be between 8 and 10-inches wide. Arrange two cut pieces on top of each other, crossing one another. Place about 1/6 of the fruit mixture right in the middle, place a couple mint leaves on top and add a pinch of salt. Close as in a bundle, making a package and tying a piece of twine around it to close the package. Repeat with each bundle and place them in the baking dish.

Bake in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven. Serve the bundles by themselves, or alongside ice cream, pound cake or cinnamon rolls.


Dulce de Leche Cinnamon Rolls

Dulce de Leche & Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
Roles de Canela y Dulce de Leche

Serves: makes 12 generous sized rolls

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Roles de Canela y Dulce de Leche" />


For the starter:

1/2 cup lukewarm water

3/4 cup lukewarm milk

1/4 ounce packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

For the dough:

2 eggs, lightly beaten

4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more to knead the dough

1/2 cup sugar

Pinch of kosher or coarse sea salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted, plus more to butter the bowl

For the filling:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 -inch dice

3/4 cup dulce de leche or cajeta

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or canela

3/4 cup roughly chopped pecans

For the glaze:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

To Prepare

To make the starter: Place the lukewarm milk and water in a small bowl. Be careful as it shouldn’t be hot or cold, or the yeast will not react. Sprinkle the yeast over the liquid along with a tablespoon of sugar. Stir and let rest until it puffs up and becomes foamy, about 10 minutes.

To make the batter: Place the flour in a large mixing bowl. Make a hole in the middle and pour in the beaten eggs, foamy yeast starter, sugar, and salt. Start combining the ingredients with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. After a few strokes, add the melted butter. Mix with energy, until fully combined. The dough will be very sticky and gooey.

Sprinkle your counter or work surface very generously with all-purpose flour. Turn the sticky dough onto the surface, and knead until it transforms from being sticky and gooey to soft and elastic, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add a bit more flour to the counter, if needed, and use a bench scraper to gather the sticky dough from the counter as you knead the dough, and it becomes malleable and soft. Shape the dough into a ball.

Butter a large bowl, place the ball of dough in it, cover it with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rest in a warm area of your kitchen with no drafts or air currents, for about 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until it doubles in size.

To make the rolls: Butter a 9x13-inch baking pan.

Sprinkle your counter or working surface generously with all-purpose flour. Place the dough on the floured counter and knead gently to begin to form a rectangle. Sprinkle a rolling pin with flour and use it to roll the dough into a long rectangle of about 10-inches wide by 24-inches long.

Leaving a 1-inch frame around the rectangle spread the dulce de leche across the length of the dough to form a centered and long 6-inch stripe. Sprinkle the chopped pecans, the cinnamon, and the butter chunks all over the surface, except for that 1-inch frame.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Working lengthwise, roll up the rectangle tightly. Brush the top 1 inch edge of the rectangle, with water, and close the roll up. Cut into 12 rolls: I like to cut the log in half first, then that half in half, and each of those quarters into 3 rolls. Place them in the buttered baking dish. Cover the baking dish with a kitchen towel, and let them rest in a warm area of your kitchen with no drafts or air currents, until they double in size, about an hour.

Bake the cinnamon rolls for 27 to 30 minutes, until they are fully cooked and golden brown on top. Remove from the oven.

To make glaze: In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter with the vanilla, lime juice, and sweetened condensed milk and mix with a whisk or spatula. Incorporate the confectioners sugar and mix until fully combined. Pour freely all over the rolls.

If you add the glaze while the rolls are still hot, they will turn out even better. Eat as soon as glaze has set, or at least try; it will be just a few minutes.


Baked Egg Casserole

Baked Egg Casserole
Cazuela de Huevos

Serves: 4

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Cazuela de Huevos" />


Vegetable oil, for frying eggs

8 eggs

Kosher or coarse sea salt, to taste

3 cups refried beans

8 slices of turkey or ham

1 batch of salsa ranchera

2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated cheese such as Oaxaca, mozzarella or Monterrey Jack

To Prepare

Preheat oven to 400.

In a medium skillet set over medium-low heat, heat a teaspoon of vegetable oil. Once hot, crack in 4 eggs, sprinkle with salt, and cover with a lid. Cook for about 3 minutes, until eggs are set, but not fully done, and the yolk is gooey. Repeat with the remaining 4 eggs, or make two skillets at once.

In an individual casserole, ovenproof bowl or large ramekin, spoon 3/4 cup refried beans, add a slice of turkey or ham, and a pair of the cooked eggs. Ladle in a generous amount of salsa ranchera to completely cover, and add shredded cheese on top. Assemble the rest of the casseroles. Alternatively, it can be made in a large casserole for everyone to share.

Place in the oven until the cheese has completely melted, about 4 to 5 minutes.


Salsa Ranchera

Salsa Ranchera

Serves: makes about 4 cups

Salsa Ranchera


2 pounds ripe roma tomatoes

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup finely chopped white onion

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 or 2 jalapeño or serrano chiles, chopped

1 cup chicken broth or water, or more if needed

1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste

To Prepare

Place the tomatoes under the broiler anywhere from 6 to 10 minutes, until completely charred and mushy. Alternatively, you can char them on a hot comal or skillet set over medium heat, or on a grill. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Once cool enough to handle, chop, without discarding the juices or seeds.

In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Once hot, onion, and cook stirring often until softened. Add the garlic and cook for less than a minute until fragrant and lightly browned, but don’t let it burn. Incorporate the chile (add 2 for a more spicy salsa), stir, and cook for a minute. Raise the heat to high. Add the tomatoes, with all of the seeds and juices, and cook for about 6 to 8 minutes.

Pour in the chicken broth and salt, stir, and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes. Add more broth if needed. The salsa should have a thick, yet still very wet, consistency.


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