Holiday Recipes from Four Latino Chefs

RECIPESBy 2022-01-07T15:09:16-05:00December 24th, 2021|
  • "Fruits of the Earth," 1938, by Frida Kahlo. Courtesy of Banco de México and INBAL Mexico, 2005.

Food brings people together. Not only around the table but also in the kitchen. Flavors, smells, and visually striking dishes can transport the mind and the heart to moments past, shared among friends and family. The Holidays mark a season where families gather, and generations pass along idiosyncratic cooking traditions. Preparing food surrounded by loved ones is where new traditions are born, and old ones passed on even if the task is as small as crushing garlic using a molcajete or separating the hojas de tamal. The music is blasting, the chisme is heating up, everyone is together, and then, almost as if by magic, mouthwatering dishes appear. In the spirit of keeping our ancestral traditions alive during the Holidays, we asked four Latino chefs to share original recipes for this Merry time. From Providence, RI, to Oakland, CA, these chefs, and their recipes celebrate tradition while embracing the future.

Ana Regalado, @SaltyCocina
Maricopa, AZ

For Ana Regalado, or as her Instagram and TikTok followers know her @saltycocina, food has always played a central role her in life. Originally from Zacatecas, Mexico, she first learned to make tortillas with her mother for their family of eight. “I made dozens of tortillas,” she recalls. Then, in the ’80s, her parents worked in the fields in the U.S., cultivating oranges, grapefruit, lemons, or whatever the seasonal crop was. Now, Regalado shows off her cooking skills and shares traditional Mexican recipes on TikTok to a dedicated following, which she found during the first wave of the pandemic. It all happened thanks to her kids, who introduced her to TikTok. Below, she shares her recipe for Asado de Boda, a celebratory dish like mole but with the Zacatecas touch.

Asado de Boda

A typical dish of Zacatecas, Mexico


  • 3 lbs Pork (Boneless Pork Ribs, Pork Butt, Pork Shoulder)
  • 8-10 Chile Guajillo
  • 2 Chile Anchos
  • 5-6 Garlic Cloves
  • 1/4 Onion
  • Juice from ½ orange
  • 3-4 Peppercorns
  • 3-4 Whole Allspice
  • 3-4 Whole Cloves
  • 5-7 oz Piloncillo
  • 1 Stick of Cinnamon
  • 1 bar of Mexican Chocolate
  • Salt
  • 6-8 Galletas Maria or half a bolillo lightly toasted (optional)
  • 3-4 Tbsp Lard
  • 4 Cups of Water


  1. Dice into cubes 3 lbs Boneless Pork Shoulder, or Ribs. Season with salt and set aside for 15 minutes.
  2. To make the sauce: remove the stems and the seed from the peppers. In a medium pan, heat a small amount of oil and lightly toast the peppers, onion, garlic, all of the seasonings, and cinnamon stick for about 2 minutes with frequent movement making sure the peppers don’t burn; otherwise, you will end up with bitter sauce. Once they are fragrant, add two cups of water, bring to a boil, remove from the burner, and cover for 15-20 minutes.
  3. In a separate pan, melt 3-4 tbsp of lard/Manteca and add in the pork, half a cup of water, and two minced garlic cloves. Cook for 30-40 minutes over medium heat, checking on it every ten minutes to move the meat around. After 30-40 minutes, add the piloncillo and orange juice, continue cooking over low heat until the piloncillo dissolves and the meat is slightly caramelized.
  4. Blend the sauce from step 2 with the 4 cups of water, Mexican chocolate, and a handful of galletas maria or half a bolillo lightly toasted to thicken the sauce. Blend until smooth, add it directly into the pan, or strain it in. Add chicken broth or water to adjust the thickness and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
  5. Serve with a side of red rice.
Alejandra Tapia, @nanajoe19
Visalia, CA

Alejandra Tapia from California can trace her interest in the kitchen back to her grandma — “the original queen of aguas frescas.” She learned to make huevo con chile from the queen at just 9-years-old. These days, Tapia pays homage to her Abuelita by sharing her traditions and culture on TikTok. It all started with a craving for a torta de barbacoa — her first viral video. Now Tapia wants to inspire younger generations, like her kids, to carry on Latino traditions into the future. Tapia shared her recipe for Red Pork Tamales, a dish packed with flavor and nostalgia. “We used to joke that even if there weren’t presents under the Christmas tree, there were always tamales to unwrap.”


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Red Chile Pork Tamales

Makes 6-8 dozen tamales


  • Cornhusk leaves (soak them in hot water until they soften and become pliable)


  • 1 bag of Maseca for tamales
  • 3 lbs pork lard
  • 3 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp chicken bullion
  • 1 cup of reserved red Chile sauce

Pork filling:

  • 10 lbs pork shoulder
  • 6 cups or more of broth used to cook meat for filling
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic head
  • 4 bay leaves
  • Salt
  • Chicken bullion to your liking

Red Sauce:

  • 12 chile guajillos
  • 5 chile de árbol
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp thyme
  • 1 Tbsp ground peppercorns
  • 1/4 onion
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • Salt
  • Chicken bullion to your liking


  1. Pork filling: In a big pot with water, add your pork, onion, garlic, bay leaves, salt, chicken bullion, and cook until meat is fork-tender. Quick tip make sure you add bone to the broth and reserve the broth you will need for the masa.
  2. Shred pork.
  3. Red Chile Sauce: Boil your chile in a pot to hydrate them.
  4. Once hydrated, you will add them to your blender with 1/4 piece of onion, 4 garlic cloves, all your spices, salt, and chicken bullion to your liking.
  5. Blend and strain sauce.
  6. The last step to the sauce is to fry it. In a pan with 2tbs of oil, first, fry a small piece of onion for flavor and then pour your sauce in the hot oil.
  7. Once it simmers, add your shredded pork (veggies optional).
  8. Masa: In a big container, mix the Maseca and lard.
  9. Once mixed, you will add the salt, chicken bullion, baking powder, and you will mix again for about 5 mins. The kneading or mixing of the masa is an important step, so put some muscle or use a stand mixer.
  10. Then add your broth and sauce and continue mixing until you feel your arms are about to give up. Once the masa doesn’t stick to your hands, it’s ready.
  11. The last step is letting the masa rest for 30 mins.
  12. Now you’re ready to call everyone to the table to help spread and stuff tamales! Spread the masa on the leaves using a spatula and add filling to your liking.
  13. Wrap them nicely. Once all the tamales are stuffed, you will place them in a steamer for 1hr and 20 mins. Then they’re ready to enjoy!

Omi Hopper, @CookingConOmi
Providence, Rhode Island

Cooking delicious food runs in Omi Hopper’s veins. “The women in my family, Las Garcia, are all amazing cooks,” she says. From Las Garcia, she learned to make rice and beans, a staple in any Puerto Rican household. But as a kid, she was only allowed to mash the garlic using the mortero. Luckily, today she’s the boss of her own kitchen, and she has a few thousand followers to prove it. On Instagram and TikTok, as @cookingconomi, she shares nostalgic, simple, and familial dishes with a modern twist. Her goal is to keep her Taino, African and Spanish cultural influences alive, all while spreading love and joy. “I always say, ‘En tu cocina, tu mandas.’” She shared her recipe for the traditional coquito de dulce de leche, best shared with family and friends.

Coquito de Dulce de Leche 


For the Té de especias:

  • 2 cups of Water
  • 7-8 cloves
  • 5-6 tbsp grounded allspice
  • 5-6 cinnamon sticks
  • 5-6 star anise
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1-inch fresh peeled ginger

For the Milk:

  • 1 can Coconut Milk
  • 1 can Cream of Coconut
  • 1 can Evaporated Milk
  • 1 can condensed milk (made into dulce de Leche) Boil can of condensed milk for 2-3 hours completely submerged in water. Allow to cool off for about 1 hour before opening.
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon powder


  1. Boil water and spices for 5-7 minutes. Put aside and let cool.
  2. In a blender, add your milk, strain, and add your Té de especias, rum of choice (La cantidad que te diga tu corazón) or 2-4 oz and 1 tbsp cinnamon powder
  3. Serve with ice y a gozar se ha dicho!!!

Tony Ortiz, @chileconmiel
Brooklyn, NY

Hailing from Oakland, now based in Brooklyn, Tony Ortiz, a.k.a @chileconmiel, received a formal culinary arts education in New York City. Their approach to cooking also integrated the traditional Mexican skills they learned from observing grandmother growing up. As a kid, Ortiz first learned to make salsa de arbol, a seemingly simple but rather complex and must-have dish for Mexican communities. Ortiz feels like the U.S.  has a “limited view” of Mexican cuisine, which is why they’ve made it their personal mission to share their recipes with the world.  “We are resisting the loss of our identities. And at the same time creating new traditions and stories through that process.” For example, they shared a recipe for squash called Calabaza en tacha with piloncillo caramel, a dish equal parts sweet, modern, and traditional.

Calabaza en tacha

Candied kabocha squash in a star anise and piloncillo caramel


  • One medium-sized kabocha squash
  • 4 tbsp of lime powder (this will help the squash hold its shape)
  • 3 bricks of piloncillo/panela broken into chunks
  • 5 pieces star anise
  • 4 long pieces of Mexican cinnamon broken into one-inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp of salt
  • 4 cups of water


  1. Deseed the squash and cut it into wedges leaving the skin on.
  2. Fill a bowl of water large enough to hold squash and dissolve the cal powder into it. Submerge squash in the lime powder water and soak for about an hour.
  3. Take the squash out of the water and rinse the lime powder water residue off of it.
  4. Place squash into a squash pot with star anise, canela, and piloncillo, and salt.
  5. Pour in water – it should be about halfway up the squash.
  6. Bring water to a boil, then turn to a low simmer.
  7. Cover the pot with a lid and let it simmer for about 30-40 minutes. Rearranging the squash so that it is evenly coated with liquid about every 10 minutes.
  8. The piloncillo should melt into the water creating a liquid that will thicken and create a syrup. Once the squash is cooked through, it should still hold its shape.
  9. There will be a pool of syrup left that can be poured on top of the squash when serving.
  10. Serve with a side of unsweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.