Pipian Rojo de Ajonjoli (Chicken with Sesame Sauce)

cortez-montezuma-mexico-city (1)Pipián is an expression for a spicy tomato sauce containing seeds or nuts-in this recipe, sesame seeds are used. The sesame seed was introduced to Mexico by Spanish conquistadors in the seventeenth century where it found a welcoming home and is not an uncommon ingredient in Mexico. Today Mexico is an important grower of this seed. If you want to try this recipe or other with sesame seeds you will find it less expensive in Mexican or Asian Grocery stores rather than that small spice container in your local grocery store.

“Toasting ” the sesame seeds in a skillet brings out a nutty,  rich taste to the dish. This dish is all about the sauce so plain rice is a good way to enjoy it with the meat so you can soak up the flavorful sauce. I sliced up my chicken and wrapped in a tortilla and it tasted great that way too. Many pipiáns use pumpkin seeds, this particular recipe uses 1/2  of a cup of sesame seeds . I used only chicken thighs which are a less expensive alternative and have a wonderful flavor that works great in this recipe since the chicken of boiled in water first.  Sesame seeds have also been researched and shown to have many health benefits but beware because some people have had allergic reactions so if you have had reactions or other food be careful.



6-8 Servings

2 1/2 to 3 pound broiler-fryer chicken , cut up

1 cup water

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sesame seed

1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce

1 small onion

2 teaspoon chili powder

2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Snipped parsley


Heat chicken, water, garlic and salt to a boil in a dutch oven or large pot. Cover and simmer until the chicken is done, 35 to 45 minutes. Remove the chicken and keep warm. Reserve 1/2 cup of the broth from the pan.

Heat the sesame seed in  skillet without oil  over medium heat and cook until brown, 2-3 minutes.  Place in a blender or food processor and blend until finely ground. Mix the seed, tomato sauce, onion, chili powder, paprika, cinnamon, and cloves in a 2-quart saucepan. Cook and stir for 5 minutes. Stir in the broth you have reserved  Place the chicken on a plate and pour the sauce over. Sprinkle with parsley.