Pipián Verde

This recipe was originally published on October 20, 2015 and has been modified and updated for our new website.

Pipián verde is a type of Mexican sauce in which the main ingredient is pumpkin seeds.

This sauce has a similar consistency to mole. You can buy pre-made pipián verde, but nothing beats the fresh homemade one.

This is not a difficult recipe to make and the flavor is amazing.

Usually pipián is eaten with chicken, Mexican rice, and refried beans, but I served it with mackerel filets and a salad to make it a bit lighter.

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Pipián Verde

Prep Time: 15 minutes 

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 4 mackerel filets


  • 4 mackerel fillets
  • 1/4 cup green pumpkin seeds toasted 
  • 1/2 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon maseca flour
  • 2 poblano peppers deseeded and roasted (or substitute with green peppers) 
  • 1/2 small onion 
  • 1 or 2 serrano peppers
  • 3 fresh tomatillos (or substitute with one can of green tomatillos) 
  • 1 peeled garlic clove 
  • 2/3 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons rapeseed oil (or substitute with vegetable oil)
  • 1 bag of watercress salad

Preparing the poblano peppers

  • First roast the pumpkin and sesame seeds on a frying pan on medium heat for five minutes.
  • Roast the poblano or green peppers on the stove top burners until they are completely blistered and charred all over.
  • Wrap the peppers with a tea towel and place them in plastic.
  • Let the peppers sit for about 8 minutes. (Note: This will make the peppers sweat. Making the skin peel easier).
  • Peel the charred skin and remove the seed and stem.

Preparing the chiles and the sauce

  • Cook the tomatillos and serrano chiles in a medium saucepan with just enough water to cover them. (Note: If you are using tin tomatillos, only cook the serrano chiles).

  • Place the peeled roasted poblano pepperstomatillos, serrano chiles, onion, garlic, cilantro, green pumpkin seeds, maseca flour, sesame seed, and chicken stock into a blender and purée until smooth.

  • Heat a frying pan on medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil, pour in the sauce, and salt to taste.

  • Stir from time to time and cook for around 15 minutes until the sauce has a consistency of heavy cream (Note: If it’s too thick, add more chicken broth until you get the desired consistency.)

  • Turn the heat off and set aside.

  • The sauce is now ready to be served with the mackerel fillets.

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Preparing the mackerel filets

  • Heat a frying pan on medium heat and add the oil.
  • Once the oil is hot, add two mackerel filets at a time, skin down.
  • Push the filets down with a spatula (Note: This will avoid the filet to curl up). 
  • Fry them three to five minutes on each side.

Serving the mackerel filets

  • Serve some watercress salad on a dinner plate.
  • Place one mackerel filet on top of the salad
  • Drizzle some pipián sauce on top of the fish.

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If you can’t find fresh tomatillos, you can order them from Amazon here.

About the Author

Karla Zazueta

Author of Mexican Food Memories, a Mexican-food blog that focuses on recipes from her childhood. Karla learned how to cook traditional meals from her father growing up in Mexico.

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