Papadzules Con Mole de Hierbas (Rolled Stuffed Tortillas in Pumpkin Seed Sauce)

This Caribbean pepper is famous for being the hottest chile pepper in the world. They come in a variety of shapes and colors(yellow, orange,green, red,chocolate). Not only are they extremely hot, but they also have a unique,distinctively fruity flavor.

It is the key ingredient in the popular Jamaican Jerk sauce. The habanero is also widely used in many different types of hot sauces. The popularity of this chile pepper continues to grow and is becoming easier to find on the grocery shelf.

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1 white onion, peeled and quartered
3 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1 habanero or jalapeño chile, seeded and sliced
3 sprigs fresh epazote or cilantro
4 cups water
12 small (4 to 5-inch corn tortillas)
6 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
2 cups cebollas encurtidas (pickled onions)
fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish (optional)

Recado de pepita:

10 oz. (about 2-1/2 cups) hulled, raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)


1 or 2 fresh habanero or jalapeño chiles
1 large white onion, unpeeled, halved
5 or 6 medium-size, firm ripe tomatoes, or 12 plum tomatoes, unpeeled, halved
2 or 3 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
3 Tbsp. lard, preferably home-rendered, or vegetable oil
1-1/2 tsp. minced fresh oregano (preferably Mexican), or 1/2 tsp. dried
2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
salt to taste


Place the quartered onion, garlic, chile and epazote in a saucepan and add the water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, just until the water is well seasoned.

Strain the liquid into a large measuring cup, discarding the vegetables and seasonings. Let the liquid cool slightly, then stir 2 to 3 Tbsp. of the seasoned water into the Recado de Pepita

When the mixture is cool enough to handle, squeeze through your fingers until the seeds release some of their oil. Spoon the oil into a small bowl and set aside.

Gradually whisk more of the seasoned water into the recado mixture, just until the sauce has the consistency of a pancake batter. Keep the sauce warm on top of a double boiler over simmering water. Stir occasionally and do not let it boil or it will curdle.

Prepare the homemade tortillas and keep warm in a tortilla basket or wrap some packaged tortillas in foil and warm them in a 350F oven for a few minutes.

To prepare the papadzules:

Pour 1/3 of the warm pumpkin seed sauce into a skillet and dip the hot tortillas, one by one, into the sauce in the skillet. Place a heaping tablespoon of egg on each tortilla and roll it up like an enchilada.

Place 2 or 3 papadzules on individual warmed plates and cover them with some warm pumpkin seed sauce and top with hot chiltomate. Drizzle them with the reserved pumpkin seed oil and garnish with cebollas.

Place the completed dishes in a warm oven until they all are assembled, then serve immediately, garnished with cilantro (if using).

To prepare the recado:

Place the hulled seeds in a large skillet over medium-low heat and toast for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until they begin to puff and make popping noises. While they are still hot, place the seeds in blender or food processor and pulse on and off until they are so finely ground they almost form a paste.

Press the ground seeds through a medium mesh sieve into a bowl. Return the un-ground portions to a blender and pulse again until finely ground, then pass through the sieve again. If not using immediately, place in an airtight container and refrigerate. It should keep several weeks.

To prepare the Chiltomate:

Preheat a grill or large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and roast the vegetables and garlic for 6-8 minutes, turning with tongs to brown all sides. Peel the chile and discard the stem and seeds.

Peel and dice the onion, tomatoes and garlic. Place the roasted ingredients and oregano in a mortar, blender or food processor, and grind or chop to the desired consistency.

Melt some lard in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the salsa. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the oregano and cilantro, and season to taste with salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe from El Restaurante Mexicano, January/February 2003.