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Sunday, April 29, 2012
Mayan Msíckquatash - Chulibu'ul
Mayan style succotash!
The Narragansett Tribe from the Rhode Island area called a stew of beans and maize msíckquatash. Some writers say that msíckquatash refers to boiled maize. There are many words in Native American languages that have more than one meaning. Succotash is basically how the Narragansett word msíckquatash phonetically sounds, when it is pronounced.
Early American european settlers called the Narragansett msíckquatash maize and bean stew succotash. The tribes of the New England area were the first ones met by europeans and they were credited by many europeans as being the creators of the succotash recipe. Many historians lose sight of the fact that nearly every tribe in the new world had a maize and bean recipe. Maize and beans are two of the three items in the Native American sacred trinity of food.
Succotash still refers to to a Maize and bean stew in modern times. Personally, I like the Narragansett word msíckquatash much better than succotash, because it is much more interesting word. The Hopi have their own name for a maize and bean stew, just like the Mayans have their own name for this recipe. The Mayan name for msíckquatash is Chulibu'ul. For most readers of my food blog, msíckquatash or succotash is the easiest name to recognize.
Msíckquatash is a regional recipe. The Mayan's recipe for msíckquatash (Chulibu'ul) used different beans than the northeastern tribes used. Pinto beans are commonly used in Mayan cuisine.
Chile peppers are part of Mayan cuisine. Cascabel peppers are called Cabo around the Mayan Riviera region. Cascabel peppers are called Sleigh Bell Peppers in English, because when the dried round ball shaped peppers are shaken, the dried seeds inside make them sound like sleigh bells. Cascabel peppers look like sleigh bells too. Cascabel peppers are also called rattler peppers and are given that name for the sound of a rattlesnake. Chile cascabel is medium spicy hot. Chile cascabel tastes like a combination of aged dry red wine, classic chile flavors and aged fine Amazon sacred tobacco. Cascabel are some very tasty peppers!
Nearly every tribe in Mexico knows of the benefits of epazote. The Aztecs are famous for the use of epazote in their recipes. The Mayans use epazote too. Epazote cures many digestive problems and it keeps the gaseous side effects of beans to a minimum. Nearly every refritos recipe requires epazote. Large amounts of epazote can be dangerous or deadly. Just a few leaves or pinches of epazote is enough for a large pot of stew.
I prefer to purchase fresh epazote and and hang the herb stalks upside down in my kitchen. I use the epazote fresh, till it dries. Later, I crumble the dried epazote as needed in recipes. Epazote is an herb with a flavor of its own.
Just forget about using hybrid sweet corn or GMO corn in traditional Native American recipes! Sweet corn is a hybrid for european tastes. GMO corn is hazardous to the health of humans and the environment. Select an old fashioned natural native hybrid of maize when making msíckquatash and the results will be much more authentic. The msíckquatash will taste better too!
Native maize comes in a wide variety of colors, flavors and kernel sizes and most are not sweet tasting. Native maize is much healthier to eat than hybrid sweet corn. I chose blue speckled yellow corn for this Mayan msíckquatash recipe.
Maize is also a much more respectful Native American word than the european word corn. The word corn has many negative meanings that refer to a peasants worth. Nobody wants to have value placed on their head, as in the term "a peasant's corn" or the total net worth of one's self, in a derogatory manner by a self serving elitist. So, maize is the word!
Mayan Msíckquatash - Chulibu'ul Recipe:
This recipe one portion and it is very easy to cook. Many people like the beans cooked till they become a mushy paste. Some like the beans tender and whole. Either style is fine.
Animal fat lard is traditional for this Mayan regional msíckquatash. Lard, home made lard, wild game lard or butter is best for this recipe. Rinsed cooked dried pinto beans or rinsed canned pinto beans are fine for this recipe.
Place 1 cup of rinsed cooked pinto beans or rinsed canned pinto beans into a sauce pot.
Cut the kernels off of 1 cob of blue speckled yellow maize.
Add the blue speckled yellow maize kernels to the sauce pot.
Add 1 pinch of dried epazote.
Add 1 finely chopped green onion.
Add sea salt.
Add black pepper. (Optional, but black pepper is good in this recipe.)
Pop the stem off of 1 dried cascabel chile pepper.
Shake the seeds out of the cascabel pepper. (Discard or plant the seeds!)
Crush and chop the cascabel pepper into small pieces.
Add 1 tablespoon of home made lard or 2 to 3 pats of unsalted butter.
Add water and cover the ingredients with about an extra inch of water.
Place the sauce pot over medium high heat.
Bring the liquid to a boil.
Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Gently simmer the msíckquatash, till the ingredients become tender and the flavors meld. Allow the liquid to simmer and reduce, till it is all nearly evaporated.
Note: For a mushy paste-like style msíckquatash, add water 2 to 3 times more and simmer 2 to 3 times more. Mash the beans after they become very soft.
Spoon the Mayan Msíckquatash into a shallow bowl.
Garnish with a cilantro sprig.
Yummy healthy Mayan Msíckquatash! Chulibu'ul! If you never really liked the modern American succotash of lima beans and sweet corn, then this pinto bean and blue speckled maize version may be more well suited to your taste. The cascabel chile pepper adds very little spicy heat, but it does add a very rich one of a kind chile pepper flavor. This is a great tasting authentic Mayan style msíckquatash! Yum! ... Shawna