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Zarandeado Sauce Recipe

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Are you intrigued by the rich flavors of traditional Mexican cuisine? Have you ever tasted the tangy, aromatic, and delightfully spicy Zarandeado sauce and wished you could recreate it at home?

If the answer to these questions is yes, but you feel daunted by the prospect of making it yourself, try not to worry.

I’m here to help, and I’ll be guiding you every step of the way.

Today, I am going to demystify the process of creating your own homemade Zarandeado sauce.

This captivating blend of flavors is traditionally used as a marinade for grilled fish and seafood, but its versatility means it can enhance a variety of dishes.

From the essential ingredients to the precise steps of the recipe, and even tips for what to pair it with, I’ve got you covered.

Here is all you will need to know, do, and consider.

What Do You Need To Make Zarandeado Sauce?


Garlic is a staple ingredient in many cuisines around the world, providing a savory depth that is fundamental to the character of the Zarandeado sauce.

It adds a pungent, slightly spicy flavor that harmonizes well with the other ingredients, enhancing the overall taste of the sauce.

Cumin Seeds

Toasted cumin seeds are an essential spice in this recipe, contributing a warm, earthy flavor with a hint of citrus and sweetness.

Their unique aroma adds complexity to the sauce, while the toasting process further intensifies their natural richness.

Dried Oregano

Dried oregano brings a subtle herbal touch to the Zarandeado sauce, contributing a slight bitterness that counteracts the sweetness of other ingredients.

Its faint minty undertone is an important aspect of the overall flavor balance.

Olive Oil

Olive oil acts as the binding agent for the Zarandeado sauce, helping to emulsify and blend the various flavors.

It contributes a mild fruitiness and smoothness that underlines and enriches the whole taste experience.

Lime Juice

Lime juice injects a tangy freshness into the sauce, providing the necessary acidity to balance out the richness of the other ingredients.

Its bright citrus notes elevate the overall flavor profile of the Zarandeado sauce.

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce brings a strong umami element to the sauce, enhancing its savory depth.

Its complex, fermented taste adds an extra layer of flavor that complements the zestiness of the lime and the spiciness of the chilies.

Maggi Seasoning Sauce

Maggi seasoning sauce, or Worcestershire sauce as a substitute, is another umami powerhouse, enriching the sauce with a combination of sweet, tangy, and savory flavors.

It amplifies the complexity of the sauce and boosts its overall taste.

Orange Juice

Orange juice adds a hint of natural sweetness and another layer of citrusy tang to the sauce.

This sweetness balances the spiciness of the chilies and the umami from the soy sauce and Maggi seasoning.

Black Pepper

Black pepper gives the sauce a bit of heat and a punch of piquancy.

Its distinctive aroma and mildly spicy flavor work to bring out the best of the other ingredients in the Zarandeado sauce.

Guajillo Chilies and Ancho Chilies

The dried guajillo and ancho chilies are key to the sauce’s distinctive smoky and slightly spicy flavor profile.

Guajillo chilies add a bright, tangy character, while ancho chilies offer a mild, fruity sweetness.

Soaking these chilies releases their full potential, rounding out the sauce with a smoky depth.

How To Make Zarandeado Sauce

Step One: Begin by heating a dry skillet on a medium flame. Toss in the cumin seeds and allow them to toast until their aroma wafts up. This usually takes around a minute.

Step Two: Once toasted, transfer the cumin seeds into a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle to crush them into a powder.

Step Three: Now take the garlic, crushed cumin, oregano, olive oil, lime juice, soy sauce, Maggi seasoning sauce, orange juice, black pepper, guajillo chilies, ancho chilies, and the chili soaking water. Put all of these ingredients into a blender or a food processor.

Step Five: Pulse these ingredients together until the mixture turns into a smooth, blended sauce.

Step Six: Transfer the sauce into a separate bowl. Give it a taste and if necessary, tweak the flavors according to your preference.

Other Things To Consider When Making Zarandeado Sauce

Using Fresh Ingredients

Whenever possible, use fresh ingredients.

This is especially true for garlic and citrus fruits like limes and oranges.

Fresh ingredients contribute to a more vibrant and authentic flavor.

Soaking the Chilies

Properly soaking the dried chilies is essential to extract the full flavor and reduce the heat.

Always deseed the chilies before soaking and discard the seeds unless you prefer a spicier sauce.

Adjusting the Spiciness

The heat level of your Zarandeado sauce can be easily adjusted.

For a milder sauce, you can use fewer chilies or choose less spicy varieties.

Conversely, for a hotter sauce, add more chilies or incorporate hotter varieties.


Zarandeado sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

This allows you to make it ahead of time and have it ready whenever you need it.

Marinating Time

While the Zarandeado sauce is versatile, remember not to marinate fish or seafood for too long.

These ingredients absorb flavors quickly, so a marinating time of 15-30 minutes should suffice.

What To serve Zarandeado Sauce With?

Grilled Fish or Seafood

Zarandeado sauce is traditionally used as a marinade for grilling fish or other types of seafood.

The robust flavor of the sauce pairs particularly well with the mild taste of fish and the sweet, briny taste of seafood.

Tacos and Enchiladas

Zarandeado sauce can make a flavorful addition to your tacos or enchiladas.

Drizzle it on top or mix it into the filling for an added burst of flavor.

Grilled Vegetables

The bold flavors of Zarandeado sauce can elevate grilled vegetables to a new level.

Toss vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, or eggplant in the sauce before grilling, or serve the sauce on the side for dipping.

Tortilla Chips

If you’re looking for a simple snack with a kick, try using Zarandeado sauce as a dip for tortilla chips.

The crunchy chips and flavorful sauce make a great combination.

Rice Dishes

Zarandeado sauce can also add a savory, spicy twist to rice dishes.

Stir it into cooked rice or use it as a base for a flavorful stir-fry.

Poultry and Meat

While it’s commonly used with fish and seafood, Zarandeado sauce can also complement grilled or roasted poultry and meat.

Use it as a marinade, or serve it on the side as a flavorful dipping sauce.


Try spicing up your breakfast by adding a drizzle of Zarandeado sauce over scrambled or fried eggs.

The tangy, spicy sauce can add a delightful kick to start your day.

Remember, the possibilities are endless when it comes to how you can use Zarandeado sauce, so feel free to get creative in your kitchen!

Zarandeado Sauce Recipe

Zarandeado Sauce

Zarandeado Sauce is a robust, tangy Mexican marinade with a medley of flavors. Garlic, cumin, oregano, and citrus harmonize with earthy chilies and umami soy sauce. It's versatile, enhancing grilled seafood or fish, lending a burst of savory, slightly spicy, and zesty taste that brings your dishes to life.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Additional Time 2 minutes
Total Time 2 minutes


  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of Maggi seasoning sauce (you can substitute Worcestershire sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons of orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper
  • 2 dried guajillo chilies, deseeded and soaked in hot water
  • 2 dried ancho chilies, deseeded and soaked in hot water
  • 1/2 cup of the soaking water from the chilies


  1. First, in a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the cumin seeds until fragrant. This should take about 1 minute.
  2. After toasting, grind the cumin seeds in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.
  3. Place the garlic, ground cumin, oregano, olive oil, lime juice, soy sauce, Maggi seasoning sauce, orange juice, black pepper, guajillo chilies, ancho chilies, and soaking water into a blender or food processor.
  4. Blend all the ingredients until you achieve a smooth sauce.
  5. Pour the sauce into a bowl and taste it. If needed, adjust the seasonings to your liking.
  6. Your Zarandeado sauce is now ready to be used as a marinade for fish or other seafood, or as a delicious sauce to top tacos or other dishes.


  • Remember, when you're marinating seafood with this sauce, you don't need to marinate for a very long time. Fish and other seafood absorb flavors quickly, so 15-30 minutes should be plenty.

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