Cris Alvarez, a California-born native of Mexican heritage, recently visited Jordan and I in Beijing. Cris and Jordan attended culinary school together in San Francisco. In his repertoire are a handful of Mexican home style recipes. He shared a few with me while he was in Beijing (See Mexican home cooking in Beijing).

Guisado de puerco garnished with cilantro

With the scarcity of palatable Mexican restaurants in Beijing, it’s handy to have an authentic recipe for Mexican food that includes ingredients available in China! If you don’t have a pressure cooker, it’s okay! I used my wok the second time I cooked this, for three hours over the lowest flame. A hush of heat for as long as you can keep this from hungry eaters will ensure tender, fall-apart pork. Muy delicioso!

You will need: a blender, skillet, pressure cooker (or wok)



  • 1 kilogram lean pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons Mexican chili powder*
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Roast and blend — salsa roja

  • 660 grams tomato
  • 150 grams green mild spice chillies
  • 300 grams white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 handful cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican chili powder*
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Brown and braise

  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 700 grams potato, diced
  • 3 tablespoons beer
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 200 mL water


  1. Rub — Combine 3 tablespoons Mexican chili powder* and 1 teaspoon table salt then rub into the cut pork pieces. Set aside to marinate.

Scorched over open flame

  1. Roast and blend — Salsa Roja — Roast tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, and 3 cloves garlic in oven at 350ºF (177ºC) for 20 minutes. Roast green chillies over open flame at stove then remove charred skin, deseed, and devein. Blend roasted vegetables with cilantro, 1 tablespoon Mexican chilli powder, and one tablespoon of salt in a blender.
  2. Brown — Heat a little cooking oil (2 tablespoons) in a skillet and brown the pork pieces over high flame, until golden brown. Brown in two parts so as to not crowd the pieces, achieving a crust.
  3. Deglaze — Saving the meat fonds, add to the skillet the red onion and minced garlic clove then the diced potatoes. Sauté for a minute then add the beer. Sauté for four minutes or until onions have softened. Transfer to a pressure cooker.
  4. Braise — Transfer pork to the pressure cooker. Add 200 mL water and a dash of beer (1 tablespoon). Add enough salsa to cover the pork partially. Cover, lock and cook for 90 minutes. Use the leftover salsa for dipping tortilla chips or spicing up your next meal. After 90 minutes, uncover and serve.

Serve with guisa de calabaza (recipe coming soon), guacamole, sour cream, and tortillas.

*Mexican chili powder includes: paprika, chili, cumin, oregano, cracked black pepper, garlic. Make you own!

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