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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.


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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