Cook at Home With Mahekal’s Executive Chef
You might not be able to visit the Riviera Maya now, but we’re bringing the flavors and magic of the region to your kitchen. We enlisted the help of our Executive Chef, Crescenciano Nerey, to help channel the unique, exotic flavors of the area. Cook along to some of our most treasured recipes, learn about local cuisine, and get some inspiration for your future culinary adventures.
Fish Tikin Xic
The vibrant cuisine of Yucatán is different from the rest of Mexico, drawing strongly from the ancient Mayan people that once flourished here. Tikin Xic, meaning “dry fish” is a perfect example — this traditional dish involves coating fish with the area’s unique spices and wrapping it in banana leaves before cooking. This adds subtle flavors and keeps the fish perfectly moist.
Ingredients (Serves four):
1 grouper or equally firm-fleshed white fish, about 2½ lbs., cleaned, with the head, tail and spine removed, split down the middle so that it lies flat
3 oz. (1 package) achiote paste
⅓ cup bitter orange juice
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and cut into rings or slices
1 small red or yellow pepper, seeded and cut into rings or slices
1 medium tomato, sliced into thin rounds
1 small purple onion, sliced into rings
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1½ oz. garlic (2 cloves)
1 banana leaf, softened over a flame
Wash the grouper, dry it with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper. Mix the achiote paste and bitter orange juice. Spread the mixture over the fish and let it marinate. Place the fish on the softened banana leaf and place the bell pepper, tomato, and onion slices on the fish. Sprinkle the fish with oregano and olive oil. Wrap the banana leaf around the fish and place it in an oblong baking dish. Bake the fish in the oven at 350º for approximately 30 minutes, or until it flakes easily when tested with a fork. In Yucatán, the fish is served with purple onion slices marinated in olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and thyme.
Sopa de lima is considered one of the dishes that best typifies Yucatán cuisine, and thankfully, it’s also one of the easiest to make!
Ingredients (Serves six):
1½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped green onions
4 cans (14.5 oz.) chicken broth
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
⅓ cup chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 medium avocados, peeled, cored, and diced
Freshly ground black pepper
In a large pot, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, sauté onions and garlic for 30 seconds. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, and cumin, and season with salt and pepper to taste before adding the chicken breasts. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium to high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium, cover with a lid, and allow the chicken to cook, stirring occasionally. The chicken should be fully cooked within 10-15 minutes. Reduce the flame, remove the chicken from the pot, and let it rest on a cutting board for five minutes before shredding the chicken and placing it back in the soup. Stir in cilantro and lime juice. Add avocados to the soup just before serving. Serve with tortilla chips.
Fresh flavors and even fresher seafood are two of the biggest themes in Yucatán cuisine, and few dishes sum that up like ceviche. One bite of our delicious shrimp ceviche and you’ll be transported to the beaches of the Riviera Maya.
Ingredients (Serves four):
2¼ lbs. shrimp (40-50 medium-sized shrimp), blanched
5 oz. lemon juice
2 tomatoes, diced
1 lb. cilantro, finely chopped
1 white onion, diced
1 tablespoon salt
½ tablespoon pepper
2½ oz. olive oil
1-2 avocados, cut into medium-sized cubes
2 cloves garlic
¾ oz. guajillo chili, sliced
Fried garlic flakes
Begin by blanching the shrimp. Afterward, cut the shrimp into pieces about ½ an inch in length. Mix the shrimp with the onion, tomatoes, and avocado. Add lemon juice, finely chopped cilantro, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and decorate with fried garlic flakes and guajillo chili. Serve with tortilla chips.