In a nutshell: This Mexican herb, also known as Yerba santa or pepper leaf, adds a complex flavour to tamales, sauces and marinades.
Hoja Santa (Piper auritum) which means holy leaf in Spanish, is an indigenous Mexican plant, also known as hierba santa or yerba santa, pepperleaf, tlanepa and acuyo. It’s widely used in regional specialties throughout the states of Veracruz, Oaxaca, Chiapas and Tabasco. Hoja Santa leaves have a unique fragrance reminiscent of black pepper, licorice, eucalyptus and tarragon. In the southern United Sates, the plant is referred to as root beer plant, because of the similarities evoked by the drink of the same name.
In Mexico, the large, fresh heart-shaped leaves are used to wrap a variety of tamales before cooking. They’re also used in recipes such as mole Verde or mole Amarillo and in Pozole soup. Hoja Santa is also used in Puebla to make pipian verde, a chicken dish with a distinctive green mole sauce made with pepitas (pumpkin seeds).
Once dried, Hoja Santa can be used to perk up tamales or stuffed chilies. It also pairs well with garlic and coriander, as well as with tart ingredients such as limes or tomatillos. A delicious spice for marinades and fish and seafood sauces.
Details: 2g tin
About Épices de Cru
Épices de Cru began in 1982 as a catering partnership between Philippe and Ethné de Vienne. Their mission was a kind of “cooking pot anthropology:” learning the secrets of family cooking around the world and applying these techniques to the needs of hungry Montrealers. The secret, they learned, was spices. Over the last two decades, Philippe and Ethné have searched for the world’s best spices, accompanied by their children, Marika and Arik. The de Viennes believe in direct sourcing spices: visiting growing regions, spending time with growers, and developing personal relationships that last decades. In 2004, they officially opened their first spice shop in Montreal’s fantastic Jean Talon market– it’s since become a mecca for foodies from all over the world. I first visited in 2008 and have been buying and using their spices on a regular basis ever since that first exciting visit. They steadfastly maintain that they do nothing original, only facilitating the exchange of culinary common sense from one place to another. But, what they do is simply quite brilliant - by providing us with the finest quality ingredients, and their superb spice mixes, we can all experiment with unusual spices and recreate delicious recipes from around the world.