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What trip would be complete without a little local cuisine? In fact, I love the Guatemalan diet so much, I enrolled in a Potter’s House cooking class with some of the women from the community.
Basically, I now know what I’m doing (sort of).
As a part of their holistic mission to empower the Treasures, Potter’s House offers important life and careers skill courses. For this course, students from a local culinary institute volunteered to teach safe, sanitary food preparation techniques to anyone interested in learning.
Admittedly, I was sort of a wallflower my first day of class, but my fellow students were eager to teach me the ways of Guatemalan cooking. The teachers even gave me my very own apron (which interestingly gained me quite a few compliments).
Having learned a little from my gracious Guatemalan classmates and teachers, it’s only right to pass on a recipe! So if you’re interested in making a traditional Guatemalan dish, you might want to start with this delicious traditional soup—Kakik!
First, get a really big pot—you’ll need it. Cut up a turkey (or a couple of chickens, if you prefer) and boil it in the pot with a chopped head of garlic and a chopped onion until the meat is cooked.
To speed up the process of cooking the meat, you can add the skin of a papaya. I was somewhat skeptical of this, but the teachers assured me it’s one of the properties of the papaya and explained this concept further in Spanish…not sure I understood any of the explanation.
But the turkey cooked fast!
Once cooked, add a bunch of mint and a bunch of coriander—you don’t have to chop them up, just let them hang out for a while in the mixture to give it a little sabor, or flavor.
On the Side
In a different pan, grill about 25 small tomatoes, two pounds of green tomatoes, three onions and three heads of garlic. Take all of these things and throw them in a blender.
Liquefy it all with a well-sealed blender lid. If you have any achiote lying around, add the seeds to the mix. I highly doubt you’ll find any in the United States—it’s a fruit that resembles a sea urchin.
Once the mixture is made, strain out all of the seeds and pulp so you’re left with just the good stuff. Add this to the simmering soup broth.
To finish, add salt, pepper and chili to taste and remove the bunches of herbs. Some of the leaves will stay behind, which is alright. If you want, add cooked rice to the soup.
And most importantly, before inviting anyone over to share in your creation, practice saying the name: kah-KEEK.
Unfortunately, I strutted around after the class, apron still on, telling people I was truly chapina (or Guatemalan) because I had made kee-kock in class. One of my classmates finally had the heart to tell me I was butchering the pronunciation.
Semi-complicated name aside, this soup is good, and good for you. Give it a try!
About the Author: Laura is a journalism fellow with World Next Door. She graduated from the University of Arizona, Tucson with a degree in Animal Sciences and a minor in Spanish. She is constantly learning, making friends, dancing, and trying to understand her role in alleviating the suffering of others. Laura also attracts a lot of awkward situations.