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Jun 17, 2008 10:36 AM

Azafran in Mexico

The best thing I had the opportunity to eat during 10 days in Guadalajara and surrounding Jalisco was Menudo Amarillo this past Sunday.

I cannot determine what I would do if I had to choose between Laja and that outrageously haunting yellow colored soup..that good.

It was not offered anywhere I could see but the mother of the friends I went with first mentioned it to me before leaving San Diego and I was intrigued.

Her sister we stayed with offered to make it when we mentioned it and gawd was it good with her daughter's butter-like hand made tortillas.

When we went to the Market in Zapopan to pick up the spice from the chile and dried dealer - I expected the flower that you are used to for making Paella in Spain. The thing is it looked like whole peppercorns with a yellow interior that you ground. Picked up 100g.

I cant find anything about this - does anyone have an idea? Its not tumeric and has a special unique flavor and aroma.

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  1. Mexican azafran has been discussed in some saffron threads (unintentional pun!). I believe it is safflower flowers.


    2 Replies
    1. re: paulj

      I'm surprised that my post was the 'final word' on this topic, especially since I ignored your description of a peppercorn like object as opposed to a dried herb or flower parts.

      I haven't found any description of the safflower seeds, which are used for oil.

      Could it be that the flowers were rolled into hard balls during drying?


      1. re: paulj

        I am equally surprised because I know what safflower is - and it was not what I bought or was even offered.

        I think I might re-phrase my likening of peppercorns to the rather larger and rounder allspice.

        I have typed in "azafran Jalisco" "azafran mexico" "azafran mexicano" on the google image search in the hope of spotting something to no avail.

        I cannot even find one mention of menudo amarillo...

    2. I asked a local Guadalajara native restaurant owner and he said that its just called azafran and may have a hallcugenic effect much like nutmeg when consumed straight. Please I am desperate to know what this is!

      I even asked Rick Bayless on his site!

      2 Replies
      1. re: kare_raisu

        I also bought some Azafran in Guadalajara recently. It looked like a saffron version of ginger -- orange bulb, but less gnarly than ginger, and much smaller. Like the size of a child's finger. It was in an upscale grocery store, and the provedor told me I can use it like regular saffron. I will try it tonight. Mine doesn't look like large pepper corns, though. I am also curious to plant it and see if I get a crocus plant from it. Bonnie

        1. re: Bonnie Ochoa

          Bonnie - i think they gave you tumeric root

      2. Here is a picture I took:

        1. Good News!
          I bought some at Mercado Hidalgo in Tijuana four days ago.
          Where it was called Azafran de Bolita.
          Here you go:

          "Ditaxis heterantha Zucc. (azafrán de bolita), a plant of the Euphorbiaceae family, grows wild in the semiarid regions of Mexico. Its seeds are used by the inhabitants of the regions where it grows to give color and to enhance the flavor of food."