All-Purpose Seasoning Substitute

Cuisine: Colombian
Servings: 4 ounces
This seasoning can be used on many classic Colombian recipes... and it has no MSG!

Open the spice cabinet of any Colombian kitchen and the one ingredient you will most likely find besides salt is "Triguisar" which is an all-purpose powdered seasoning made with cumin, annatto, turmeric, garlic powder, corn starch and rice starch. Most people use this as their go-to ingredient for many Colombian dishes like arroz con pollo, chicken stew, empanadas, tamales and more. Nowadays, you can buy Triguisar in some Latin stores here in the US, in some European countries and even online, but many people are not able to find it. The recipe below will come in handy for them because it's a very close match to the real thing.

The other reason I wanted to post this recipe is because I love to cook with Sazón Goya packets (either the ones with ground annatto or saffron) because they give my recipes a fantastic flavor. The one ingredient they do contain is MSG, which is a food additive that is used to enhance flavor; the moment it hits your tastebuds it sends a message to your brain that whatever it is you're eating is amazing. However, many people consider it unhealthy and unnecessary and prefer not to use it. I personally don't see anything wrong with MSG as long as you use it in moderation, just like you would use regular table salt, but if you prefer not to use it, the recipe below will be a great substitute for Sazón Goya.

The first thing I did was write down all of the ingredients that the Triguisar and the Sazón packets had. Then I mixed them together to see what I would get, but I felt that there was something missing. So, my next move was to try to find a recipe online that really made sense, something that had been written by someone who knew what this type of all-purpose seasoning was used for. I found the recipe below in a Chow discussion board and it is pretty amazing, specially because it does what it's supposed to do: add flavor and color to any recipe. The final result does come out a bit darker, but that's only because the annatto powder I used is pretty dark, so if all you need it for is color, just use a pinch and you'll be set. Also, if you can't find annatto, you can easily substitute it with paprika.

¡Buen Provecho!



  1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and store in an spice jar or airtight container. Use 1½ tsp to substitute 1 Sazón Goya packet.

Chef Notes

If you can't find these ingredients in powdered form, you can buy them whole and blend them in a food processor.

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