Cooking Lessons

Read this if your names are Sam or Kim or if you want to learn how to cook some delicious Guatemalan cuisine!

Could you please teach me how to make comida chapina? I asked.

Yes, Claudia replied. But not tonight. Tomorrow we will make some good Guatemalan food.

The next day I asked, So, what are we going to make.

Chomí con Pollo.

Sounds good. I replied, Do you know how to spell that? As usual, had no real idea what we would be making or eating that night.

For this recipe you need: (serves 4-6)

  • A whole chicken
  • Four Carrots
  • Guiskuil (if you can find it)
  • Three stalks of Celery (with the leaves)
  • One Red Bell Pepper
  • Half cup diced onion
  • One package of Chow Mein
  • Two Tablespoons of Soy Sauce
  • One cube of chicken bullion
  • Salt to taste
  • Two serranos (if  you dig some spice)
  1. First boil the chicken with the skin on in salt water (about 10-12 cups) for at least 30 mins (watch earlier to see if the chicken is done, all these times are at altitude of 7500ft).
  2. When waiting for the chicken to boil, cut the guiskuil and carrots into thin inch long strips, and remove the strings from the celery and dice both the celery (with the leaves) and bell pepper into small chunks.
  3. After the chicken is done, remove from the water and begin to debone the chicken and cut the skin and meat into half-to-quarter inch chunks
  4. Put the guiskuil and carrots in the same salt water and boil for 20-25mins (until the carrots are soft enough to break easily)
  5. Remove the carrots and guiskuil from the water and add one package of chow mein to the same water (the noodles broken up into 3 inch pieces).  Boil the noodles for 10 mins or until fully cooked.
  6. Strain out the salt water, and rinse the chow mein in cold water.
  7. In a large frying pan, add a tablespoon of cooking oil and the half cup of diced onion. Sautey until brown. Add the serranos here to make it a bit more spicey.
  8. Add the diced bell pepper and celery (cook for two mins)
  9. Add the chopped chicken (cook for ten mins)
  10. Add two tablespoons of soy sauce, and the guiskuil and carrots stirring the mixture constantly. (cook for one min)
  11. Add the chow mein and one cube of chicken bullion and salt to taste.
  12. Serve!

woah, woah, woah. hold up. The traditional Guatemalan food I have been waiting to learn to make isn´t chomí con pollo but Chow Mein con Pollo.

Now, you might be thinking. I´m up in the mountains. I´m cold. I just made my Chow Mein con Pollo over a word fired stove and I need a hot drink.

This, my friends, the Guatemalans call Caliente

  1. Boil a medium sized bot of water.
  2. Add 2-3 sticks of cinnamon
  3. 1 cup of sugar
  4. 2 cups of chunks of watermelon
  5. 2 cups of chunks of pineapple (can add more fruit to taste)
  6. Boil the mixture while cooking for 30-45mins

After slaving over the wood fired stove for about two hours, we finally sat down to eat. Claudia´s husband comes in and immediately says. MMm Delicious Comida Chapina (chapin means Guatemalan). I thought, so, this really isn’t a joke.  Haha, I guess the Chinese and Guatemalans have more in common than I thought.

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