We Yucatecos are very specific about our food and the ways in which they should be prepared. We are equally precise about which dishes should be eaten on which days, and which occasion or festivity. Brazo de Reina, for example, is a dish mostly eaten during Lent. Having no meat, it is made up of corn dough, ground pumpkin seeds, Chaya (Yucatecan spinach), hard-boiled eggs and tomato sauce. Tamales Torteados, or Vaporcitos, are a typical party dish, while annatto-marinated roasted turkey is at the center of the typical Christmas dinner.
However, there are regional dishes that for years have been associated with the different days of the week. These are enjoyed by many Yucatecan families at lunch time, which happens to be our main meal of the day.
Which dishes are eaten each day?
Monday: Frijol con Puerco
The base of all pork and bean dishes is chunks of pork cooked and served with black beans and rice cooked in their broth. What gives it the special last touches are radishes, onions, cilantro, and Chiltomate, a salsa made of fire-roasted tomatoes smashed up with Habanero peppers.
Tuesday: Relleno Negro
The color of this peculiar dish draws anyone’s attention: its deep dark black sauce is made from Recado Negro, or “black seasoning”: a seasoning paste of Maya origin that uses charred chiles as its base. This creation is a combination of textures using turkey meat and ground pork, along with hard-boiled eggs and a spicy sauce. A gourmet Yucatecan dish.
“Potaje” is a lentil or bean stew that is served with chunks of pork, sausage, bacon, ham, potatoes, squash, carrots, and plantains.
Thursday: Tsíik de Venado (shredded venison)
This dish is made up of shredded venison (deer meat) marinated with bitter orange, cilantro, radishes, and onions. According to the ancestral version, the meat should be cooked underground. Nowadays because of hunting laws and regulations in Yucatán, this dish is usually prepared with beef.
Friday – Poc Chuc
One of the simplest, easiest to prepare Yucatecan dishes is the iconic Poc Chuc. Poc Chuc is made from thin slices of pork filet marinated in salt and pepper then grilled on charcoal, which gives it its smoky flavor. The traditional sides include roasted tomato sauce, roasted red onions, and bitter orange; it is also served with Frijol Colado (bean soup) and tortillas.
Saturday – Chocolomo
This particular dish is a stew made with beef tenderloin with its entrails. The meat is boiled in water with roasted onion and garlic. Once cooked it is served with a dash of chile habanero, bitter orange, cilantro and sliced radishes.
A typical Yucatecan Sunday can’t begin without a Torta de Cochinita breakfast. For lunch, Puchero is the most popular dish served at family lunches. Known as “three-meat Puchero” (as it’s usually made with chicken, pork, and beef), our Yucatecan Puchero is made with noodles, plenty of vegetables, and a sprinkling of radish and cilantro marinated in bitter orange.
By Regina Zumárraga
Communicologist specialized in food and product photography. I’m passionate about learning about the culture and gastronomy of different places. In my free time, you can find me at the beach.
Photography by Yucatán Today, Cassie Pearse, Olivia Camarena, and Hacienda Ochil for its use in Yucatán Today.
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