Yaxche Maya Cuisine Restaurant in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, has graciously offered to collaborate with MexCocina to share with you some of the secrets of Mayan cuisine. This restaurant serves authentic dishes in a unique style, and in a setting that is truly memorable as well as genuine. Dining at Yaxche will instantly transport you into the world of the Maya-the very walls are inspired by Maya temples and the food by the flavors of the region. The restaurant's owner, Alberto Lizaola, gained a strong affinity for the Maya from his grandfather. He dreamed of introducing people to the Maya through their cuisine. Yaxche Maya Cuisine Restaurant is the fulfillment of the that dream.
Every year Yaxche puts on a huge celebration for the Vernal Equinox. This year it will be on May 21st and will include special recipes from their menu.
MAYAN SALSA HABANERA
This salsa is Ann's recipe. The habaneros, when mixed in lime juice, lose some of their heat. She came up with this recipe (which she made as soon as she got home and found herself needing an habanero fix) by doing a lot of tasting and asking a lot of questions about the salsas during her stay in Yucatan. There is no salsa, according to her, that can surpass this one-and she should know-she's a bonafide salsaholic! So try it! You won't be disappointed. And if your palate is very heat-sensitive, then cut down on the habanero chiles! But don't be a pansy and leave them out altogether. You'll miss all the benefits of this mysterious Mayan chile! Hint: Preparation time is about 45 minutes and this will make about a pint.
1 large red onion, finely diced
6 large tomatoes, finely diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 habanero chiles, minced
juice of 2 limes
1 tbsp Orange juice
1 tbsp salt
Mix all ingredients together in bowl. Cover and refrigerate for up to three days. Use with chips, on tacos or as a condiment to any Mexican dish.
LIMA (LIME) SOPA (SOUP)
This traditional chicken soup is a mainstay of the Maya. Don't miss it! Recipe makes enough for six people and is brought to you courtesy of Yaxche Maya Cuisine Restaurant. Allow an hour and a half for preparation.
1 whole Chicken cut into pieces or 2 big Chicken Breasts
10 Cups of water
2 Bunches of oregano
2 slices of garlic
1 onion chopped into 4 pieces
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of corn oil
2 medium peeled tomatoes (big chunks)
1 chopped sweet pepper
6 slices of lime
Cook your chicken in water with oregano, garlic, onion and salt to the taste for about an hour. Once cooked take the chicken out, let it cool down and shred it. Strain the broth. Put the onion in corn oil, add tomatoes and sweet pepper and marinate before adding the broth and 3 slices of lime.
Sauté for 10 minutes.
Add the shredded chicken, the other half of limes and tortillas. Serve it immediately (if not the tortillas won't be crispy anymore).
TIKIN XIC (pronounced Teekin Sheek)
This dish consists of a whole fish marinated in achiote and sour Orange with tomato, white onion and green pepper slices, wrapped and grilled in a banana leaf. Indigenous to the Yucatan, this one is not to be missed. Recipe serves six and is brought to you courtesy of Yaxche Restaurant. Allow an hour to prepare.
6 pieces of fish fillet (grouper or any white fish)
18 oz achiote paste (recipe immediately following)
2 whole white onions, sliced
2 whole green peppers, sliced
3 tomatoes, sliced
6 epazote sprigs
6 banana leaves.
Add a serving of mixed, fresh vegetables on the side of each plate.
Marinate the fillet with achiote for about 5 minutes. Put the fillet over the banana leaf, add epazote, onion, green pepper and tomato. Wrap and put it on the grill. Cook each side for 4 minutes. Serve with vegetable on the side.
Achiote Paste (6 servings)
11 ounces lemon juice
6 ounces achiote
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper
Blend these ingredients together.
This wonderful dish made from char grilled pork marinated inn sour-Orange with black beans, purple onions, tomato and Maya spices is also brought to you by Yaxche Restaurant.
6 blade pork steaks, 1/4 - ˝ inch thick and 10 - 12 oz. each
16 ounces sour Orange juice or regular Orange juice with 1/2 cup lime juice
1.5 ounces achiote paste (see recipe above)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 teaspoon of black pepper
Blend all marinade ingredients in blender or food processor. Marinate pork at least 3 hours.
4 cups of water
5 medium purple onions, very thinly sliced
8 ounces white vinegar
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1/4 habanero chile, roasted and finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Bring water to boil in deep saucepan. Add onions and blanch for 1 minute. Drain and place in stainless steel bowl. Toss with vinegar, cilantro, chile, salt and pepper.
Grill pork steaks on barbecue.
Serving Suggestions: Serve with Mexican Yellow Rice, (recipe following) along with Caribbean Black Beans (recipe following). Garnish with habanero chile peppers and cilantro.
CARIBBEAN FRIJOLES NEGROS (BLACK BEANS)
This recipe will make enough beans to feed twelve to sixteen people. Make a batch and freeze half. Allow four hours preparation and cooking time.
1 pound package dried black beans
4 cups water
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup bacon grease (optional)
3 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp chicken bouillon powder
1 - 2 tbsp American chili powder
Put beans and water into Dutch oven. Soak at least six hours. Pour beans into colander and rinse thoroughly. Add two cups water back into the Dutch oven, along with lime juice, bacon grease, garlic powder, bouillon and chili powder. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat, simmering for about four to six hours. Stir occasionally. You'll be able to tell when the frijoles are done because they'll be very tender. If there seems to be too much liquid in the beans, leave the lid off for the last half hour. Stir or mash beans often when lid is off.
MEXICAN YELLOW RICE WITH VEGETABLES
This easy recipe serves six and will take less than a half hour to prepare!
3 tbsp salad oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 - 1/2 cups uncooked yellow rice
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 tsp chicken bouillon powder
3 cups boiling water
1 - 10 ounce package frozen package of peas, carrots and corn
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and rice and cook, stirring constantly until onion is translucent and rice is opaque. In a separate bowl, dissolve the bouillon in boiling water. Stir cayenne into mixture in skillet. Pour in bouillon/boiling water. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Add peas, carrots, corn and tomatoes. Cook over low heat, stirring until vegetables are heated through, about three minutes.
BUEN PROVECHO Y FELIZ VIAJE!
We have no doubt your next tropical vacation will be to the Mayan Riviera! In fact, to learn more about Mayan cuisine and culture right now.