David Sterling’s sautéed chaya with smoked bacon: Chayas fritas / Tsajbil chaay

Chronicler Diego de Landa mentioned chaya in 1566, when he observed that the leaves were especially delicious when cooked with plenty of bacon. What isn’t? Chayas fritas is an excellent side dish; it also stars in the scrambled egg dish Huevos revueltos con chaya. Chaya continues in popularity to the present, with exuberant chefs pushing the envelope of its many possibilities: […]

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Scrambled eggs with sautéed chaya: Huevos revueltos con chaya / Chay-he

This is another Yucatecan favorite that makes use of leftovers from the day before. Chayas fritas from the afternoon meal are repurposed for breakfast the next day in this quick yet nourishing dish. Scramble the quantity of eggs desired, adding chayas fritas just as the eggs are beginning to set. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper […]

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Yucatan style chaya empanadas: Empanadas de chaya

Here the chaya, a leafy green used throughout the Yucatan, is incorporated right into the corn dough, a common technique in this region. The chopped hard boiled egg filling is complemented by the chile-laced tomato salsa, integral to this dish. Chard or spinach can be substituted for the chaya. The salsa that tops these chaya empanadas […]

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Atrium of San Antonio de Padua Convent © 2020 Jane Simon Ammeson

A fun afternoon in Izamal, Yucatan: a Pueblo Magico in Shades of Yellow

I’m traveling along narrow cobblestone streets flanked on both sides by rows of adobe buildings washed with bright yellow and accented with white trim and large ceramic pots brimming with colorful blooms. My mode of transportation is a white “coche Victoria” (or calesa) pulled by a mule named Dolly, garlanded with flowers and a hat […]

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Palenque: The Palace seen from the Temple of the Sun

The Maya civilization and cities: a resource page

To the foreigner, the words ‘Maya’ and ‘Mayan’ conjure up images of archeological ruins and a lost society and culture. Currently, the word ‘Chiapas’ brings to mind rebellion, Sub Commandante Marcos and a sense of confusion. What many do not understand is the relationship between the historical Maya and today’s living expression of that culture […]

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Cooking in the Yucatan: bright flavors and unique ingredients

One of the regions of Mexico most indelibly fixed in my mind is the Yucatan, probably because the sights, sounds, flavors and aromas are so sensual that they create truly visceral memories. When my husband and I reminisce about our journeys throughout Mexico, especially the long road trips taken in our trusty old Ford pickup, […]

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Tamales de elote © Daniel Wheeler, 2008

Los Tamales: Five Hundred Years at the Heart of the Fiesta

Mexico is the land of fiestas, and never more than during the month of December, when the feasts are so many that they overlap by several days. Starting on December 3, the beginning of the nine-day tribute to the Virgin of Guadalupe, and continuing through until January 6, Three Kings Day, there is non-stop celebration. In addition […]

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