An Introduction to Yucatecan Cuisine

Maybe you’ve tried the many different dishes offered up by Taco Mac and want to try something different. Well, how about sampling some Yucatecan cuisine? Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula offers a delectable mix of Caribbean, Mexican and European dishes, and while some bear Mexican and Mayan influence, several dishes are exclusive to the area.

Yucatecan meals derive most of their protein from pork, chicken and turkey, as well as fish. Aside from those, seasonings are widely used, especially achiote, a peppery, sweet sauce extracted from the annatto plant. In addition, you’ll find that most of the dishes use sour orange, which was brought into the mainland by the Spanish, adding a unique flavor to the dishes.

Ceviche

Ceviche-RestaurantMealPricesCeviche is a unique dish made up of raw fish that’s been marinated in lemon, lime or other kinds of citrus juice. Ceviche is usually served with cilantro, chiles, chopped onion and occasionally, some fruit as well. While it is a well-known Yucatecan dish, it is also popular in the Caribbean and throughout South America. The key ingredient here is the citrus juice since it will cook the fish, while the onion, chile and additional seasoning like salt and pepper add extra flavor.

The origin of the dish is unclear, but what’s clear is that it has become very popular and numerous variants have appeared.

Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles-RestaurantMealPricesChilaquiles is a popular and traditional Mexican dish and is usually served in restaurants for brunch or breakfast. The typical Chilaquiles dish is made up of fried tortilla strips that have been simmered in green or red salsa. While that’s the basic preparation, the rest of the ingredients vary according to personal and regional preferences. Among the most popular ingredients added are cilantro, onions, sour cream and strips of chicken. Other versions of Chilaquiles are served with scrambled or fried eggs, fried beans, chile and cheese.

Chiles Rellenos

Chiles-Rellenos-RestaurantMealPricesChiles Rellenos is a Yucatecan and Mexican dish that is usually served at dinner. While there are variants available, the traditional dish includes poblano chile, a non-spicy pepper that has been filled with meat and cheese, battered and fried. The typical Chiles Rellenos is usually served with red sauce although albeit only slightly spicy.

Huevos Motuenos

Huevos-Motuenos-RestaurantMealPricesThis is another traditional dish from the Yucatan Peninsula and served during breakfast. Very popular among Mexicans, it is made up of fried eggs laid out on tortillas, tomato sauce and some refried black beans. The dish may be eaten this way, but most restaurants add plantains, peas and ham and topped with generous amounts of cheese. Now gaining popularity in the United States, the dish originated from the town of Motul, which is at the Mexican Gulf Coast east of Merida.

Papadzules

Papadzules is a tasty dish made up of tortillas rolled around hardboiled eggs and topped with tomato and pepitas (pumpkin seed sauce). One makes this dish different from others is it doesn’t have any meat, making it suitable for vegetarians and those looking for a healthy meal.

Pavo Relleno Negro

Pavo Relleno Negro is made up of turkey with dark sauce consisting of spices and charred chillies, and is garnished with fresh tortillas and hardboiled eggs. Easy to prepare yet tasty, it has become very a mainstay in Mexican restaurants.

Pibil

Pibil-RestaurantMealPricesThe Pibil is Mayan for “cooked underground” and served in restaurants throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. The word Pibil actually refers to a cooking method that involves enveloping meat or pork in banana leaves. It is then marinated in achiote and sour orange and baked in a barbecue pit.

The dish is baked for several hours until the meat becomes flaky, tender and gotten that smoky flavor. Once cooked, the dish is served in soft tortillas. One of the more popular variants is the Cochinita Pibil which is made from suckling pig.

Poc Chuc

This is a classic Yucatan Peninsula dish consisting of several sliced pork chops that have been marinated in achiote and sour orange. The unique taste and preparation gives the dish a unique taste, and it is definitely a treat for Mexican food lovers.

Queso Relleno

Queso-Relleno-RestaurantMealPricesQueso Relleno is another classic Yucatecan dish made up of Edam cheese that’s been carved out and filled with spices, herbs, olives, capers and raisins. The dish is also filled with tomatoes, onions, peppers and pork, adding extra flavor.

Salbutes

There are a lot of different snacks in the Yucatecan cuisine, but the most popular is salbutes, which consists of fried tortillas, tomato, lettuce, crushed meat and assorted spices.

Sopa de Lima

Sopa-de-Lima-RestaurantMealPricesThis is a hot soup consisting of lima (a citrus fruit like lime) and chicken stock and filled with chunks of turkey or chicken.

Because of the popularity of Yucatecan and Mexican dishes, it’s become trendy for restaurants like T.G.I. Friday’s to offer dishes and treats based on them. So if you’re looking to eat something different, these treats from the Yucatan Peninsula is worth a look.

Category: Healthy Food

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