Written by: Haley, Hiptipico intern
Moving to Guatemala has been a learning experience, front to back. One of the most exciting things to learn about (for me anyway) is a country’s cuisine. I’d never heard of many of the traditional dishes made here in Guatemala and I was really keen to learn a thing or two from my Guatemalan roommate/coworker, Ligia!
For our first day of dallying in the kitchen, we decided to make quichom, which is a traditional Guatemalan dish that features a spicy sauce made from tomatoes, garlic, and two special kinds of dried pepper -- chile guaque and chile pasa. Quichom is traditonal to Quetzaltenango, so luckily for us, Ligia is well-versed in making quichom. Ligia guided me through the shopping experience at the local market, where we bought all the fresh veggies we needed to whip up some quichom at the Hiptipico home office! In Panajachel there’s a really big open air market where you can find almost all the fresh fruits and veggies you could dream of. I’ve been known to indulge in the pre-sliced fruit found there (hello pineapple!) and the fresh squeezed orange juice. For our quichom feast, we bought tomatoes, onion, garlic, peppers, potatoes, wiskil (which is an odd squash variety I’d never seen before) and a bit of rice.
At the office we prepared the quichom together, though I was basically doing whatever Ligia told me to do (aka the designated chopper) since I wouldn’t even know where to begin in preparing Guatemalan food. The end result was this spicy, smoky tomato sauce that went amazing with rice, veggies and tortillas.
Quichom (vegetarian style!)
1 lb of tomatoes (about 6 medium tomatoes)
2 chile guaques (dried spicy chiles)
2 chile pasas (dried, large, smoky chiles)
1 clove of minced garlic
½ cup of masa (a dough made from corn)
1 medium yellow onion
1 bell pepper
2 cups of rice
5 white potatoes
1 guisquil, peeled and cubed
Any other veggies of choice!
Salt & pepper to taste
Bring a pot of water to a boil and place the potatoes and guisquil in with a dash of salt. Boil for about 15 minutes, or until the veggies are tender.
To make the rice, chop the bell pepper and onion into large pieces. Heat up the some olive oil in a large pan and pan fry the pepper and onion for 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened. Add the rice and enough water so that the rice is submerged. Continually stir the rice so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan for about 20 minutes. Add more water if the rice is still undercooked and sticking the the bottom of the pan.
Pan fry the tomatoes, the garlic, the chile pasas and the chile guaque in a large wok until the tomato skin is slightly blackened and slides off easily. Place the tomatoes, garlic, chiles and maiza into a blender and blend until smooth.
Pour the mixture back into the pan and bring to a low boil. Add water if the consistency is too thick after blending.
Serve the rice, veggies and quichom hot! We had ours with fresh corn tortillas as well, but I think it would be just as good with flour tortillas if you prefer :)
The only thing I needed after such a big mid-day meal was a siesta, but apparently we don’t do those here in Guatemala. Let us know in the comments on Facebook or Instagram if you’ve tried quichom before or what Guatemalan dishes we should try next!!