If you've already bought Sabores Yucatecos, the cookbook from Chichén Itzá in the Mercado La Paloma, you may want to buy it again.  This doesn't mean getting two of the same thing – well not exactly. The new version contains the same 140 recipes from Yucatán, but this time they're in Spanish – the first edition was in English.

This means you can learn culinary Spanish by looking at the same recipe side by side, no dictionary needed. For example, the “2 libras de huachinango” required for ceviche in the Spanish edition is “2 pounds sole or red snapper” in the English version.

Helping Spanish learners is nice, but the translation is more for Spanish speakers who want the comfort of cooking in their native tongue. “A lot of people have been asking for it,” says Gilberto Cetina, Chichén Itzá's chef and co-author with Katharine A. Díaz and Gilberto Cetina Jr. The translator was Marissa Marrufo.


Whichever edition you buy, you get a treasury of recipes that reflect the multi-cultural nature of Yucatecan cuisine, which incorporates Spanish, French, Dutch and Lebanese influences. A few recipes are pure Mayan, among them the squash seed dip sikil pak.

The books aren't totally identical. The covers are different so that you won't grab one when you really want the other. On the cover of the Spanish-language edition is poc chuc – charbroiled pork. The cover of the English edition shows two chicken dishes, pollo alcaparrado (chicken and capers) and pollo con fideos (chicken soup with pasta).

See also: Chichén Itzá's New Cookbook + a Recipe for Sopa de Lima

Both books start with a photo and dedication to Gilberto Cetina's mother and culinary inspiration, Concepción Ávila de Cetina, who passed away in 2012, the year the first book was published.

Subtitled respectively “Un recorrido culinario a Yucatán” and “A Culinary Tour of the Yucatán,” the two books were published by WPR Books: Comida. You can get them at the restaurant, through Amazon or through wprbooks.com.

Here for barbecue season is poc chuc in both languages. The recipe itself is simple, but only a starting point. The books explain how to present the meat and provide recipes for the roasted tomato sauce (chiltomate) and marinated onions (cebolla para poc chuc) that go with it.

Poc Chuc: Puerco Al Carbon
From: Gilberto Cetina
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

3 libras de lomo de puerco, cortado en rebanadas diagonales de ¼ pulgada de ancho
Aceite vegetal

1. Póngale un poco de sal a las rebanadas de puerco por ambos lados.

2. Coloque la carne sobre un asador con carbón y ase por 5 minutos, volteando la carne una vez. También la puede hacer en una sartén con un poquito de aceite vegetal o sobre el asador de la estufa.

3. Para servir: Hay tres maneras populares de comer poc chuc. Como platillo principal, coloque las rebanadas de carne en un plato y sirva con cebolla para poc chuc, chiltomate, unas rebanadas de aguacate, tal vez longaniza y frijoles de la olla o frijoles colados a un lado. Haga una torta cortanda una barra de francés o bolillo y unte frijoles colados en cada mitad del pan. Ensamble la torta poniendo el poc chuc, unas rebanadas de tomate, lechuga, chiltomate y cebolla para poc chuc. O también puede picar la carne para hacer tacos con tortillas de maíz, frijoles colados, lechuga, chiltomate y cebolla para poc chuc. No se olvide de servir chiles habaneros si le gusta el picante.

Poc Chuc: Charcoaled Pork
From: Gilberto Cetina
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

3 pounds pork loin, sliced into ¼-inch diagonal slices
Vegetable oil

1. Lightly salt both sides of the pork slices.

2. Place the meat on a hot grill over charcoal and grill about 5 minutes, turning once. You can also prepare in a lightly oiled frying pan or on a stovetop grill.

3. To serve: There are three popular ways to eat poc chuc. As a main course, plate slices of meat with frijoles de la olla or frijoles colados, cebolla para poc chuc, chiltomate, sliced avocado and maybe even a longaniza. Make a torta by slicing a barra de francés (French roll) or bolillo and smearing each half with frijoles colados. Build the sandwich with the poc chuc, sliced tomatoes, lettuce, chiltomate and cebolla para poc chuc. Or use the meat – chopped roughly – to build tasty tacos with warmed corn tortillas, frijoles colados, lettuce, chiltomate and cebolla para poc chuc. Don't forget the chiles habaneros if you like heat.


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