If there is something that distinguishes Yucatecan cuisine, it is its great variety of dishes and its incomparable flavor. This is largely due to the ingredients used to prepare them and to the traditional techniques that have been handed down from generation to generation, but the final touch comes from the sauces that accompany them. Do you want to know more? Keep reading!
It wouldn’t be the same to eat a delicious plate of Cochinita Pibil without “xnipec” (the Yucatecan version of “pico de gallo”), a tamal without Yucatecan tomato sauce, or any dish of this region without a chile habanero sauce in one of its varieties: mashed, “kut,” and more.
Yucatecan Tomato Sauce
Made with tomato, oil, onion, salt, and garlic. Easy to prepare, it only requires 2 to 3 tomatoes to accompany a meal. When choosing tomatoes, pick those that look shiny and are slightly strong, as they will give a better flavor. Put them in hot water for a few minutes, then blend with the salt, garlic and onion. Finally, fry until slightly thick. Use it to accompany papadzules, tamales (“vaporcitos”), and in general any Yucatecan “antojitos”.
Salsa “Xnipec” (Dog’s Nose) or “Pico de Gallo” Yucatecan-style
Its name comes from the damp feeling it will leave in your nose. It is one of the star sauces of Yucatecan food with a version that includes local ingredients such as habanero chile, red onion, and sour orange, unlike traditional “pico de gallo” sauce. It is also prepared with Yucatecan tomatoes, mixing all the above ingredients in small pieces, seasoned with salt and coriander. Use it to accompany Cochinita Pibil, “antojitos,” and many other dishes. Its rich flavor gives a fresh sensation, but be careful when choosing the chiles, as they can be very hot.
Habanero Chile “Kut” Sauce
Habanero chiles and onions are fried with garlic, blended or mashed (in a “molcajete,” or mortar) with salt, coriander, and sour orange or vinegar added if you want to keep it preserved. It is ideal for various meals, as it highlights the flavors of food in general. Prepare it if you are very brave, because depending on the amount of habanero chiles that you use, it can be extremely spicy.
In addition to these versions, you can also prepare a sauce of just habanero chiles with sour orange and salt; add onion and garlic to make it pickled. There are lot of variants of sauces for all tastes using local ingredients: tomatoes, habanero chiles of all colors, red onion, coriander, garlic, and oil. Don’t forget you can also roast them on a comal (griddle) to give it a different flavor.
What we can say is that there is no Yucatecan dish that does not come accompanied by a delicious sauce that complements and highlights the flavors. Do you dare to prepare yours?
By: Violeta H. Cantarell
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