Alguashte (Salvadoran Pumpkin Seed Seasoning) Recipe

Alguashte (Salvadoran Pumpkin Seed Seasoning) Recipe

[Photograph: Karla Vasquez]

Alguashte is a seasoning popular in El Salvador made up of ground pumpkin seeds and used as a condiment for fresh-cut fruits like mangoes both ripened and green, jicama, oranges, and other tropical fruits and seeds. The aromatic, nutty ingredient is also used in savory Salvadoran dishes.

The pumpkin seeds used for alguashte are typically either from ayote or pepian, two different squash varieties (though some people use the terms interchangeably). Depending on where you shop, you may not be able to find pumpkin seeds labeled with the squash variety specifically, which is fine as long as the pumpkin seeds you buy still have the husk on—it's the husk that, once toasted and ground with the inner seeds, brings a deeper and more complex flavor to what is otherwise a seemingly simple, two-ingredient condiment.

Why It Works

  • Husk-on pepitas deliver a more complex flavor than shelled ones do.
  • Sifting the alguashte through a strainer removes any stubborn fibrous bits.
  • Yield:Makes about 1/2 cup
  • Active time: 10 minutes
  • Total time:15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup whole hull-on pumpkin seeds (1 1/2 ounces; 45g)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (8g)

Directions

  1. 1.

    In a medium stainless-steel or cast iron skillet, toast pumpkin seeds over medium heat, stirring and tossing frequently, until seeds have browned lightly in spots and have a lightly roasted aroma, about 5 minutes. Transfer seeds to a small plate or bowl and allow to cool, about 5 minutes.

  2. 2.

    Using a high-powered blender or a spice grinder, grind toasted pumpkin seeds to a fine powder. Using a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl, sift the powder to remove any larger fibrous pieces. Regrind if necessary. Mix powder with salt until well incorporated.