The last few times I've been in Riviera Maya, I've seen a lot of fire dancing. I figured it was a Yucatan/Mayan type of cultural thing and was asked my friend Adriana Arriola Moya who lives in Playa del Carmen about the significance of the dancers -- usually men dressed in feathers with painted faces who play with fire and sometimes walk on it as well. While the Mayan fire dancers at Xcaret and the ones we saw at Yaxche during a Day of the Dead feast are part of the celebration of Yucatan's Maya customs, the rest, she tells me are more just for tourists and though she is too sweet to add "like me" I get it. No matter. I love watching the dancing and am including some photos here as well as recipes from the wonderful meal we had Yaxche in Playa del Carmen.
1 whole chicken cut into pieces or 2 whole chicken breasts
10 cups of water
2 tablespoons chopped oregano
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 onion chopped into 4 pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons corn oil
2 medium peeled tomatoes, cut into pieces
1 chopped green pepper
6 slices of lime
6 tortillas chopped in slices and fried
Cook chicken in water with oregano, garlic, onion and salt to the taste for about an hour. Once cooked take the chicken out, let it cool down and shred it. Strain the broth. Put the onion in corn oil, add tomatoes and sweet pepper and marinate before adding the broth and 3 slices of lime. Sauté for 10 minutes.
Add the shredded chicken, the rest of the limes and tortillas. Serve it immediately (if not the tortillas won't be crispy anymore).
6 pieces of fish fillet (grouper or any white fish)
18 oz achiote paste (can be bought in any Mexican grocery store)
2 whole white onions, sliced
2 whole green peppers, sliced
3 tomatoes, sliced
6 epazote sprigs (optional if not available)
6 banana leaves (or use corn husks which can be purchased at Mexican grocery stores)
Add a serving of mixed, fresh vegetables on the side of each plate.
Marinate the fillet with achiote for about 5 minutes. Put the fillet over the banana leaf or corn husks, add epazote, onion, green pepper and tomato. Wrap and put it on the grill. Cook each side for 4 minutes. Serve with vegetable on the side.