Thursday, March 6, 2008

Some typical produce in Yucatan

These are a few of the simple things I really savor when I am in the Yucatan, because I cannot find them in easily the States. Above are limes, which are called limones in the Yucatan. Limes are very easy to find in Florida where I live. However, the limones in Yucatan taste so different! I cannot explain it. Lime slices are served with most meals there, something I love, as a splash of lime compliments everything.

Above are a few common types of peppers used in the Yucatan. On the far left are chile xcatic in the middle are chile dulce (these taste similar to the green bell peppers found in the US). On the right is chile habanero. Habaneros are available in Florida too, however, they taste different here and are normally found orange in color here rather than green.

Above is a typical salsa made of habanero chile. This salsa or others or even just diced habaneros are typical garnishes for most dishes in the Yucatan. If the waiter doesn't automatically provide some form of habanero on the side, just ask for some. I absolutely love it in any form. My mother in law (mi suegra) gave me a recipe for salsa de chile habanero and told me I can post in on my blog, so stay tuned. First I have to find some decent habaneros!

Above on the left are naranja agria, bitter oranges. This is used in a lot of marinades and salsas and pickled vegetables in the Yucatan. Above on the right are a type of squash that is grown there. It has a very thin edible skin and is normally boiled in soups or stews. However at an ocean front restaurant, I ordered an ensalada verde (green salad) and what I was served was a plate of slices of boiled squash and chayote (another type of squash which looks like a bright light green pear) with slices of cucumber and tomatoes, and a garnish of lime slices. I was very happy.

Italians have oregano and the French have Herbes de Provence. In the Yucatan it is epazote that gives its dishes its special flavor. Black beans are almost always cooked with epazote.

Above is the plant I avoid when I am in the Yucatan. Chaya. It is a leafy green native to the area that people have been eating for ages. However, it is poisonous. I would not recommend eating chaya in raw form at all. And I also urge caution when trying it cooked. It makes me extremely ill. My mother in law, who has lived her entire life in the Yucatan, also will not eat it, if that says anything! Instead of using chaya in Yucatecan dishes, it can be substituted with kale, spinach or Swiss chard.


ColorJoy LynnH said...

Love the story... I only see 2 photos, though...


NORA said...

Congratulations! I was looking for chile xcatic and found your blog!
I want make your vegetarian tamales made of frijoles y queso
I am mexican, live in Tampico port of Golfo de México. Very interesing your tamales made whit olive oil. One big kiss.