Bienvenidos a Los Dos: Recipes

About Chef David Sterling

  Sikil P'aak Download PDF



ALSO KNOWN AS P'AAK I TSIKIL (p'aak is Maya for “tomato” and sikil means “squash seed”), this wonderful Mayan appetizer obviously dates to the pre-conquest era. The addition of cilantro and garlic are more modern treatments but these only serve to enhance the basically rich flavor. While this dish is delicious any time of year, it was traditionally served in the autumn, when pumpkin seeds were used to celebrate an abundant harvest.

• 4 cups (500g) hulled green pepitas (squash or pumpkin seeds)
• 1 green chile habanero, charred
• 3 medium Roma tomatoes, charred on a comal or heavy skillet
• 4 large cloves garlic, charred in a flame or on a comal or heavy skillet
• 1/4 cup (75ml) juice of naranja agria (Also known as sour orange or Seville orange. Substitute: 2 parts fresh lime juice, 1 part each fresh orange juice and grapefruit juice)
• 3/4 cup (200ml) chicken broth
• 1 cup (150g) white onion, minced
• 3 Tbs. (15g) cilantro, finely chopped
• 1/8 tsp. (.625ml) canela (Substitute: Mexican cinnamon)
• 1 tsp. (5ml) salt

STEP 1  IN A HEAVY SKILLET over high flame, lightly toast the seeds. Toss regularly during the process. They should be pale brown when finished. Remove toasted seeds to a large bowl. Allow to cool.

STEP 2  PLACE SEEDS IN A FOOD PROCESSOR and grind. Continue until the seeds turn to a fine powder that sticks loosely to the sides of the processor bowl. Use a spatula to push the congealing powder back into the processor bowl. Place toasted ground seeds in a mixing bowl until ready to use.

STEP 3  REMOVE STEM, SEED AND DEVEIN THE HABANERO. Place chile, whole tomatoes with skin and garlic in a blender, along with the juice and broth. Pulse until coarsely blended but not puréed.

STEP 4  POUR THE TOMATO MIXTURE a bit at a time into the mixing bowl containing the ground seeds. Blend with a spatula until thoroughly incorporated. If necessary, add more of the tomato mixture, mixing, until you achieve the consistency of a dip – thick but not dry.

STEP 5  ADD ONIONS, CILANTRO, CANELA and salt to taste. Stir and check for seasonings.

STEP 6  PLACE DIP in a serving bowl. Garnish with a sprig of cilantro or a whole habanero if you wish. Serve with homemade Totopos (crispy fried tortilla triangles.)

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