Posts filed under Drinks and Desserts

Elaichi Champurrado

Happy New Year, Masalitos!

Today's recipe is the perfect opportunity to break your new year's resolution. Champurrado is a thickened chocolate drink traditionally served in the winter to warm you up and fill your tummy. This drink will make you want to curl up with your favorite book next to the fireplace.


Corn masa (Maseca) is used to thicken the chocolate milk. The more flour you add, the thicker your drink.


For this recipe, I used Mexican cinnamon which is readily available at most supermarkets but you can substitute it with regular cinnamon. I prefer Mexican cinnamon because of its citrus undertones and sweet, warm flavor. 


I added cardamom to this recipe to add an extra layer of aroma. Cardamom (Elaichi) is a spice widely used in India, you may recognize its flavor if you've ever had chai latte. Cardamom is generally pricey at supermarkets, to find a much better deal, head to your local Indian grocery store. 



- 1 1/2 tablets Chocolate Abuelita

- 3 cups whole milk

- 1 cup condensed milk

- 1 cup evaporated milk

- 1/4 cup Maseca (corn masa flour)

- 1 cup warm water

- 2 sticks Mexican cinnamon

- 6 pods green cardamom (or 1 teaspoon ground cardamom)

- 1 shot Bailey's Irish Cream (optional)



1. In a large pot, warm up the whole milk at medium high heat.

2. Dissolve the corn flour in warm water.

3. Crush the cardamom pods (crack open the shell, but keep the seeds inside). 

4. Once the milk is warm, add the cardamom, cinnamon, and Chocolate Abuelita. Stir constantly.

5. When the chocolate is fully dissolved, add the condensed milk and evaporated milk, continue stirring.

6.  Slowly add the corn flour mixture while stirring. It is important that you don't stop stirring, or you will end up with a lumpy mess.

7. Continue stirring until the champurrado thickens and there are no more lumps. Remove the cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods. Enjoy!

Optional - serve on a large mug with a shot of Bailey's Irish Cream.

You can chill this champurrado overnight and serve it cold for a delicious breakfast treat!

Posted on January 3, 2015 and filed under Drinks and Desserts.

Pumpkin Chai Latte


Hi Masalitos,

The air is crisp and the leaves have changed colors: 'tis the season for pumpkins!

A few weeks ago, we went to Atlantic City and met up with a good friend. We had a great time. The highlight of that trip (other than the fantastic company, of course) was my discovery of Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Latte. Oh DD, you never fail to amaze my taste buds! I lived in Boston for almost a decade, so you can guess where I stand on the great Starbucks vs. Dunkin Donuts debate... I digress. Recently, Amit pointed out that I drink more coffee than humanly possible and I'm now trying to cut down a bit. Not only is coffee withdrawal painful on its own BUT it is also the peak of pumpkin flavored coffee - torture is the word that comes to mind. Then, I remembered the deliciousness that is Chai.


Chai (as sold in the US) has a combination of cinnamon, anise, cardamon, nutmeg, and cloves. These spices are a perfect match to pumpkin (your pumpkin pie spice probably has most of these). For today's recipe, I used Tazo Chai. I've tried most of the different brands of chai, and just this once, I have to give it Starbucks, their Tazo Chai is the best one out there. For pumpkin flavor, I used Torani's sugar-free Pumpkin syrup. Why sugar-free? No reason, other than I'd rather use my calories elsewhere. It reminds me of a joke by "Fluffy" Iglesias: "why do I drink diet coke? so I can eat regular fries!" oh, that Fluffy cracks me up! I digress, again... this is what happens when my brain doesn't get enough caffeine, I have the attention span of a fruit fly.

To add creaminess, I mixed 2 tablespoons of Lecherita (Mexican condensed milk) with about half a cup of warm milk. I find that Lecherita gives hot drinks a certain je ne sais quoi that makes them taste gourmet. 

I made these at the end  of a cold, rainy day and decided to turn them into a hot cocktail by adding rum. I suggest a spiced rum to complement the flavors, but you can also add your favorite whiskey or brandy. 

To top them off, I made a spiced whipped cream with Mexican vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar. As the whipped cream slowly melted into the chai, it added even more creaminess and flavor to the drink. I think I found a nice replacement for my pumpkin flavored coffee. Buen Provecho!


Ingredients (makes 2)

- 2 Chai tea bags (I suggest Tazo chai)

- 12 oz. boiling water

- 4 oz. warm milk

- 3 tablespoons Pumpkin Spice Syrup

- 2 tablespoons Lecherita (Mexican condensed milk)

- 3 tablespoons Spiced Rum (*optional)

- 4 oz. heavy whipping cream

- 1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract (regular vanilla extract works fine, too)

- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder

- 1 tablespoon sugar or Splenda

- pinch of nutmeg powder



1. To make the spiced whipped cream: In a chilled bowl, place sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and whipping cream. Whisk until the cream makes stiff peaks. Cover and put it back in the fridge until ready to use.

2. Put 1 chai bag in each mug and add 6 oz. boiling water to each. Let steep for no longer than 5 minutes. Remove the tea bag.

3. Combine warm milk and condensed milk and add half of the mixture to each mug.

4. Add 1.5 tablespoons pumpkin syrup to each mug.

5. OPTIONAL: To make a hot cocktail, add 1.5 tablespoons spiced rum to each mug.

6. Top each mug with spiced whipped cream. Enjoy!

Posted on October 18, 2014 and filed under Drinks and Desserts.

Samosas de Calabaza (pumpkin samosas)

Originally posted on 10/17/2010

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere!!

I started craving the Empanadas de Calabaza that my Grandma used to make. Yum! If you've never had empanadas de calabaza, think of them as basically a mini pumpkin pie to go. Instead of making the dough for empanadas, I decided to shake it up a bit and make Samosas de Calabaza instead. To sweeten the pumpkin, we use piloncillo - a Mexican unrefined brown sugar, sold in solid cones at most major super markets. If you can't find piloncillo, you can substitute it with brown sugar. The secret that makes this recipe extra special is adding a bag of apple cinnamon tea while the pumpkin is cooking! Everyone will love these Samosas de Calabaza at your Halloween party. Enjoy!


1 small pumpkin (approx. 3 lbs)

1 piloncillo cone (approx. 2-3 cups brown sugar)

2-3 cinnamon sticks

8 cloves

1 apple cinnamon tea bag

1/3 tablespoon nutmeg

1 pack phyllo sheets

Cooking spray


1. Cut the pumpkin into large chunks.

2. In a large pot, bring water to a boil (enough to completely cover the pumpkin). Add pumpkin, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and tea bag.

3. Cook the pumpkin until soft. Remove pumpkin from water and peel off the skin. Put the peeled pumpkin back in the water.

4. Add the piloncillo and make sure it completely dissolves.

5. Cook until pumpkin is completely cooked. Remove the tea bag, cinnamon sticks and cloves.

6. Transfer the pumpkin to a food processor. Add nutmeg. You may need some of the water to create a smooth, soft paste.

7. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.

8. Cut the phyllo sheets in half (length-wise).

9. Take about 3 or 4 sheets and spray one side with cooking spray. Alternatively, you can lightly brush them with melted butter.

10. Place 2-3 tablespoons of pumpkin paste to the bottom right side of the phyllo sheet pile.

11. Grab the bottom left side of the phyllo sheets and fold it over the pumpkin.

12. Grab the bottom right side of the phyllo and fold it over the pocket formed in step 10.

13. Continue folding the phyllo from one side to the other to form a triangular pocket like a samosa.

14. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the samosas on the cooking sheet.

15. Lightly spray the samosas.

16. Bake the samosas for about 30-35 minutes or until lightly brown and crispy. You can sprinkle cinnamon sugar for an extra sweet samosa. Enjoy!

Posted on September 24, 2014 and filed under Drinks and Desserts.

Spiced Chocolate Martini

Originally posted on 10/09/2010

This month, Masala Mexicana is celebrating 3 VIP birthdays! Let's raise our spiced glasses in honor of Victor, Luis, and Ruchi. This spiced Martini has 3 main ingredients: Mexican Chocolate, Indian Chai, and Kahlua coffee liqueur. 

Luis loves chocolate

If you love chocolate but have never tried Chocolate Abuelita, do yourself a favor and run to the international aisle of your nearest grocery store to buy some - it will change your life! This frothy chocolate is spiced with cinnamon and it was traditionally sold as tablets, but you can now find the easier-to-prepare powdered version.

Ruchi loves chai

Chai is a delicious and fragrant combination of spices - black tea spiced with ginger, cinnamon, black peper, cadamom, cloves, and star anise. 

Victor loves coffee

Kahlua is a Mexican sweet coffee liqueur. Available world-wide and the perfect addition to hot chocolate drinks.

Combined, these 3 ingredients become a delicious spicy chocolate martini fit for any celebration. Enjoy!


1 -2 Chai teabags (I prefer the Starbucks Tazo)

1-2 tablespoons Chocolate Abuelita (powdered)

3/4 cup Kahlua coffee liqueur, chilled

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup boiling water

2 cinnamon sticks for garnishing


1. Pour 6 oz of boiling water over the Chai teabag(s). Let steep for 5-10 minutes.

2. Pour 2 oz of boiling water over the Chocolate Abuelita powder, mix well. Add the heavy cream. Mix well.

3. Combine the chai and chocolate mixes. Allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

4. Stir Kahlua into the chilled chocolate chai.

5. Pour into 2 chilled martini glasses. Garnish with a cinnamon stick. Enjoy!

Posted on September 24, 2014 and filed under Drinks and Desserts.