Annatto Seed

This little seed pod has a colorful history as a paint and fabric dye, responsible for the vibrant hues in Mexican art as early as the 16th century. The fruit of the achiote tree has a mild earthy, peppery flavor. It’s long been a staple in Mexican, Venezuelan and Colombian cuisines, and is a great option for brightening up dishes like tikka masala and cochinita pibil, and generally pairs well with mild meats and starches. (It’s also often used in tamales.)