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TAMALES NEGROS (Black Tamales)

2 Tbs squash seeds, toasted

2 ounces bitter chocolate, melted

2 Tbs sesame seeds, toasted

1/2 cup water

1 chile pasa, toasted

1 pound boneless chicken

1 chile guaque, toasted

2 pounds all purpose flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon

6 cups water

1/4 cup toasted bread crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

2 pounds ripe tomatoes, sliced

1/2 pound butter or margarine, melted

Prepare a smooth sauce in the food processor with all the sauce ingredients except the chicken. Cook the sauce and the chicken together in a covered pan over moderate to low heat for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken and cut it into 2 inch cubes. Set aside the chicken and the sauce. Mix the dough ingredients together and simmer in a pan over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mash is thick and smooth. Set aside.
Assembling the Tamale:
Aluminum foil cut into 12 inch squares (if you can find banana leaves, this is what they use in Guatemala)
1 small dired pitted prune for each tamale, 2 raisins for each tamale 2 pitted green olives for each tamale
Put 1/2 cup of the dough in the center of the foil sheet. Smooth it out to a rectangle 4x5 inches and 1 inch thick. Top this with 2 Tbs of the sauce and 1 cube of chicken. Around the side gently press in the prune, raisins and olives. Fold the foil toward the center, seal it, then give the ends a twist around to seal the ends. (If you found banana leaves, you would fold it into a packet and tie with string). Cook in a steamer over moderate heat for 1 1/2 hours.
To serve, unfold the foil and cut around the edges with scissors, leaving the center part of the foil intact. It is your plate. For banana leaves, cut string and unfold.


PICADO DE RABANO (Radish Salad)

1/2 pound radishes (about 20)

1/4 cup of a mix containing 2/3 orange juice and 1/3 lemon juice

12 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

Salt to taste

Trim and thinly slice the radishes. Combine sliced radishes with remaining ingredients in a bowl and serve as a salad.


JOCON (Chicken in Green Sauce)

1 chicken, cut into serving pieces, loose skin and fat discarded

1 cup sliced scallions, green part only

4 cups water

1 cup cilantro, packed

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup sliced small tomatoes

2 tortillas, sliced

1 to 2 tsp hot green chile slices

1 Tbs squash seeds

1 Tbs corn oil

1/2 cup sesame seeds

Cook the chicken in the water with the salt in a covered kettle until soft, about 30 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside.
Reserve broth and soak tortillas in it. Toast the squash seeds and sesame seeds in a dry skillet over moderate to low heat until they turn a light tan color, about 10 minutes. Prepare sauce in processor. First grind the squash and sesame seeds. Add the cilantro, scallions, tomatoes, hot chile pepper and 1 cup of the reserved broth. Add the soaked tortillas and process to a smooth paste.
Brown the chicken pieces in oil over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Add the green sauce and the balance of the broth, about 2 cups. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, until the sauce is reduced to a thick, rich, green consistency.



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