Achuete is a common cooking ingredient in the Philippines. It’s used as a coloring agent for a variety of popular dishes. I do think it has a flavor all its own, very subtle but distinct. For certain dishes like Pancit Malabon, kare-kare and chicken inasal, achuete is an essential ingredient.
I made some achuete oil for the chicken inasal I posted about yesterday. It’s very simple to make, just gently heat up some vegetable oil with some achuete seeds in a pan and strain for future use. For certain dishes, you can also add some hot broth or water to a few tablespoons of the seeds and swirl it around till the liquid has turned a deep orange.