STUDIO CITY ( — Chef Jose Avecado of Yxta Cocina Mexicana & Mercado stopped by the KCAL9 studios to talk about Yxta’s Holiday Menu.

Jose also showed viewers how to prepare turkey tamales and pumpkin flan on the Holiday menu, and gave a quick history lesson on the foods.


• In the pre-Columbian era, the Aztecs ate tamales with the following ingredients included: dog, turkey, fish, frog, axolotl, pocket gopher, rabbit, turkey eggs, bees, honey, fruits, maize flour, squash and beans. Aztec tamales differed from modern tamales by not having added fat or grease

• In Mexico, tamales begin with a dough made from nixtamalized corn (hominy), called masa, or a masamix, such as Maseca and lard or vegetable shortening.

• Tamales are generally wrapped in corn husks or plantain leaves before cooking, depending on the region from which they come. They usually have a sweet or savory filling and are usually steamed until firm.


• Flan is found in recipes as far back as ancient Rome. It was during Roman times that domesticated chickens were first kept for laying eggs. The Romans, with eggs in surplus, and consulting the Greek’s knowledge of the art of cooking, developed new recipes, one of which turned out to be a custardly concoction known as flan.

• It was originally a savory dish (not sweet, but aromatic and pleasing to the palate). The Romans concocted many dishes that we might find interesting, such as eel flan. They also had a very nice sweet flan that was flavored with honey.


• High in fiber: one cup of pumpkin meat contains 3 grams of dietary fiber, which the body uses to control blood sugar

• Lowers bad cholesterol and aids in weight loss.

• Low in calories (and fat): If your family celebrates the holidays with a sampling of pies, bypass the pecan and apple and head straight for the pumpkin pie.

• While all that added sugar and butter aren’t doing your waist line any favors, pumpkin is naturally low in fat and calories (one cup contains only 49 calories), making pumpkin a healthy snack (and probably a healthier pie option, too).

• If plain pumpkin isn’t sweet enough, skip the sugar and try adding cinnamon to enhance pumpkin’s flavor. (Cinnamon is good for you, too.)

• Good source of vitamins: Vitamin A aside, pumpkins contain high amounts of other essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins C and E, magnesium, potassium and iron.

Flan Caramel                                                                                    


Sugar     1 1/2      cups

Water   1/4        cup

1. Heat sugar & water in small sauce pan over medium with candy thermometer inserted.

2. When sauce is 340°, remove from heat immediately. Do not burn!

3. Place in baking dish. Should cover bottom of entire dish evenly coated.

 Pumpkin Flan Custard                                                                                  

Evaporated Milk     2        12 oz.can

Condensed Milk                     1        14 oz.can

Vanilla Extract    1 tsp

Sugar     1  ½ tsp

Salt         ¼ tsp

Egg Yolk   7 each

Pureed pumpkin  1 ½ cups

Pumpkin Pie Spice 1  tbl  spoon


Water   5 qts

Fluted China Ramekins  16 oz.


Prior to making the custard, make sure the China ramekins are prepped with caramel.

2. Place all  ingredients  in a blender and mix for 30 seconds.

3. Pour 1.5 cups of mix into each prepared baking dish.  Cover with foil

4. Make sure water bath is 165º.

5. Place baking dish in water bath. Water level should be 3/4 way up the side of the baking dish.

6. Cook @ 350º for 1 1/2 hours with convection fan on low.

7. Remove from oven, remove foil and let rest at room temperature for 5 mins.

8. Place in cooler for a minimum of 3 hours before service.

9. Once flan has cooled, individually wrap with plastic and label


Masa for Tamale                                            

Masa for Tamale 5 lbs

Baking Powder  1 tbl

Sugar     1 tbl

Kosher Salt         1 tsp

Lard       3 lbs       Melt


1. Mix all ingredients together in Hobart mixer with paddle attachment for 10 mins.



Corn Husk           2  each

Masa (Tamal)     2 ½ oz

Turkey (Tamal)  2 oz or any meat


Note: Place 1″ of water to the bottom of the tamale steamer pot.

1. Soak leaves in cold water for 10-15 mins.

2. Rinse off leaves well to remove any dirt.

3. Spread masa in middle of inside of husk.

4. Place Turkey inside of masa.

5. Close side leaves over masa.

6. Fold bottom up (so ingredients don’t come out)

7. Place Tamales in Steamer.

8. Let steam for one hour.

9. Turn flame off and let sit for 10 minutes. At this point you can start to serve them.

10. Keep them in the steamer for one hour, at the most.

11. Remove tamales from steamer and place into alto sham.


Turkey for Tamale                                                                          


Pulled Turkey    4lb  From Roasted Turkey

Tomatillo Sauce  8    cup See Recipe

Chicken Stock    4    cup

Salt         2    tsp


1. Put all the ingredients in a stock pot and  bring to a boil.

2. Lower to a simmer for 13 mins.


CRANBERRY, ORANGE AND CILANTRO SALSA                                                                    


red bell pepper 2 lb         Whole

poblano peppers  2   lb  dice 1/4×1/4

sugar     8 cups

orange juice       6 cups

cranberries         15 lb

pecans  2 cups   toasted chopped

cilantro 4  cups  chopped

orange peel  ½ cup

red onions  ½  cup mince


1. Char red peppers and poblano peppers in broiler until blackened.

2. Put chiles in a plastic bag for 5 min. peel, seed

3. Mix sugar and orange juice in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves add cranberries let them cook for 10 more min.

4. Remove from heat and transfer to large bowl.

5. Cool down to room  temperature and add the rest of ingredients.

6. Season to taste with salt and pepper

7. Refrigerate


Yellow Mole Sauce                                                                                                                                                                        

Quantity Produced:        1 Gal

Shelf Life:            36 Hours


Yellow Tomatoes  6 lbs

Yellow Onion     8 oz        Diced 1/2″X1/2″

Yellow Bell Peppers   6 lbs Cleaned & de-veined

Yellow Squash   2 lb

Habanero Chile 2 each

Vegetable Stock                  1  Gallon

Lemon Juice-Fresh  2  oz

Garlic Cloves      4 oz

Ground Cinnamon  1  tsp

Ground Allspice                V    1 tsp

Sugar     2 tsp

Ground Nutmeg  1   tsp

Ground Cumin  ½ tsp

Kosher Salt         6   +  2    tbl  +  tsp

Olive Oil               1/2        cup


Note: Pre-heat oven to 350º

1. Place the bell pepper, squash, yellow tomatoes & chiles in the oven until they are soft & bright in color. (about 15 mins)

2. While the peppers are roasting, saute the onions & garlic with the oil until lightly brown.

3. Add the roasted peppers to the pot & cook for 5 mins., stirring frequently.

4. Transfer the ingredients into the blender & blend until smooth.

5. Combine the sauce, chicken stock & the rest of the ingredients back into the pot & cook for 5 mins., Stirring frequently.

6. Sauce should be thick & rich in flavor.

7. Transfer the sauce to a container & cool down to 41º, label & refrigerate.


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