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Playa del Carmen, Q. Roo, México

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Yucatecan Cuisine

Food | Drinks | Chaya

The culinary delights of a typical Yucatecan kitchen come from a mouth watering mixture of European and Mexican flavors (Mestizo Cuisine). A bit of history will explain this strong European influence.

Once upon a time the Yucatecan peninsula was considered to be too far away and too difficult to reach from the rest of Mexico . Mountainous terrain and very poor roads kept the peninsula isolated. Having ports with commercial and cultural contacts with Europe, (especially France), New Orleans Cuba and Arab immigrants, the Yucatecans were easily influenced by many aspects of these countries and cultures, such as dress, architecture and cooking, which explains why there is a lot of European flare in its cuisine.

POLLO PIBIL
Chicken marinated in achiote (annatto), sour orange juice, peppercorns, garlic, cumin, salt, and then wrapped in banana leaves and baked. This dish can also be made with pork (cochinita pibil). A dish you should definitely try for lunch or dinner. Not spicy.

LIME SOUP
A delicious soup made with shredded chicken, bits of fried tortilla, and lime juice. Exquisite! And very good for you if you aren't feeling well.

MOTUL-STYLE EGGS
A scrumptious breakfast of tortilla, covered with refried beans and a fried egg and then smothered with tomato sauce, peas, chopped ham and shredded cheese. Usually served with some fried banana slices.

POC CHUC
Tender slices of pork marinated in sour orange juice and served with a tangy sauce and pickled onions.

PAPADZULES
Chopped hard boiled egg rolled up in tortilla and covered with pumpkin seed sauce.

Yucatecan pollo pibil

Above: Pollo Pibil removed from its wrapper of banana leaves.

FRIJOL CON PUERCO
The Yucatecan version of pork and beans. Chunks of pork cooked with black beans, served with rice, and garnished with radish, cilantro and onion. A regular Monday dish in most Yucatecan homes.

PANUCHOS AND SALBUTES
Pre-cooked tortilla with shredded chicken and garnished with lettuce and onion. The difference between panuchos and salbutes is that the first has refried beans inside the tortilla.

Want to learn how to cook Yucatecan food? If you're coming to Playa del Carmen, consider taking a cooking class at AJUA! Maya through the Hacienda Maya School of Culinary Arts . Contact them at their website http://www.haciendamaya.com .


Mexican Ceremonial Drinks

Part of its Rich History and Cultural Development

Below is an excerpt from this website from a wonderful website to link into and see what Mexico as to offer. I hope you enjoy. Brenda Alfaro

http://www.uv.mx/popularte/idiomas.htm

PULQUE CURINGS

Ingredients

1 liter first quality pulque (the one from Apan, Hidalgo is very famous)
½ cup condensed milk

For celery curing
3 Celery stalks

For oat curing
½ cup oat flakes

For strawberry curing
½ cup strawberries

For pecan curing
¼ cup pecans

Elaboration

Blend 1 cup of pulque with any of the ingredients you want and the condensed milk. Strain and mix with the rest of the pulque . Serve it in a jicara (a small gourd bowl).


Tepache. (From Nahuatl tepíatl or tepiatan ).

A drink made with corn with many varieties. The most popular is the one made with pineapple skin, but it is no longer made with corn .

Wash carefully the skin of one pineapple. Put in a jar or clay pot 10 cups of water and one cone of piloncillo (not-refined sugar), 2 whole cloves, 2 pepper balls and four cinnamon sticks. Cover and leave to be fermented in a fresh place for two days. Strain and serve it cold. In Guerrero it is called chicha .


Tikeri kamata or tokore and mach´estolata (cooked corn ) are two kinds of drinks from Michoacan. The first one is drank in cultivation seasons; the other one is special for parties, made with cooked corn , water and corn cane juice. It rests for two weeks and then it is drunk. There are also drinks that have pulque (fermented juice of the maguey), like Charapan . It is pure pulque boiled with water and fermented. It is intoxicating. With sour pulque , honey and red chilies, charagua or charanga is made.


Colonche is gotten by the fermentation of the juice of tuna (the fruit of the nopal plant), it was also called nochoctli . It is drunk among native and mestizo groups of Sonora , Chihuahua , Durango , Zacatecas , San Luis Potosi and Guanajuato .

Colonche has its varieties, like the one drank in Sonora by Seris and Papagos which is made with sweet and sour pitaya which is the fruit of the cactus plant sahuaro .

Papagos in the Altar desert, Sonora prepare it with the same fruit and add sahuaro seeds, it is fermented in jars with honey, sugar, brown sugar and water . They call it Navait .


Maguey wine . It is a drink which is between pulque and mezcal . Leaves are removed from maguey , burned and fermented.


Balche (from the Mayan balche, hidden tree). It was originally a ceremonial drink of Mayans and it was prepared with tree barks. They were mixed with wild bee-honey and water . The fermentation lasted between four and six days. For Mayan groups of the South it is a sacred drink and is only used in religious ceremonies and ritual festivities. Lacandones make, besides the fermentation, offering and drinking of the beverage, prayers. It is a stimulant also used with medicinal purposes. Ritual balche must be drank the same day it is prepared. Nowadays, its use is more general, sugar cane juice or any kind of syrup can be used.


Teshuino , Sugi or Tesgüino ( Náhuatl tecuin , heart beat). It is drank by native groups of the Occidental Sierra Madre and each one has its own modality. The base is to use germinal corn which is ground, cooked and put in special clay pots used for making Teshuino . It is fermented for 24 hours.


Beer elaboration has a similar process. The ones who talk about it describe it as a thick, opaque corn beer. Among Tarahumaras or Raramuris a spike is added before drinking it called basia´wi , which gives it an alcoholic content. That way teshuino turns into batari and if it is drunk without the spike it is called sequiki. For this native group, this drink has a sacred category and is involved in their social and economic life. They drink it in their religious or ritual ceremonies, in sports during the festivities called teshuinadas . It is also drunk in parties and cooperation jobs ( tequio ) or when there is lack of corn and during burials for the dead to be in peace.

Teshuino is sometimes made with corn cane, it is stronger, and agave pineapples can be added or hikuri ; as well as other flowers, barks or regional herbs.

It is used in curative rituals “it is used in the outside and in the inside as a remedy for all the diseases one may have”.

Among Huicholes , it is prepared the same and is given as a pay to the ones that help in the clearing of trees ( tequio ). It is drank in every ceremony or town party. It is used as an offering, it is blessed and reverenced. Ii is not drank in burials, it is prepared and put in a guaje (bottle gourd) which is offered pointing west, the direction of the dead.

Yaquis, Pimas, Guarijíos of Sonora , Tepehuanes of Durango and Nayarit prepare and drink it in a similar way and it appears even among the of Oaxaca .


All about Chaya

Tree Spinach ( Cnidoscolus chayamansa McVaughn, Euphorbiaceae),

Sopa De Chaya

6 slices bacon -- chopped
1 medium onion -- chopped
1-3 inch chorizo sausage -- in 1/4" slices
2 cloves garlic -- chopped
1/4 pound ham -- in 1/2" cubes
1- 16 oz can whole tomatoes -- chopped
6 cups water
1- 16 oz can garbanzo beans -- drained
1 pound chaya * -- coarsely chopped

 

•  Sauté the bacon, onion, chorizo, garlic, and ham at medium heat until the onion is soft.

•  Add the tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.

•  Add the water, garbanzos, and chaya and bring to a boil.

•  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.

* Chaya is a leafy plant with a cabbage-like taste

that has been used in Yucatan since pre-Hispanic times.

Fresh spinach is an acceptable substitute.

Links on Chaya

http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/proceedings1996/v3-516.html

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