Hola, amigos! Have you had the chance to try our Spicy Yucatan Chicken yet? For years people have been asking for us to bring it back, and it’s a winter flavour sensation that will warm you from the tongue to the toes.
But did you know where it came from? It’s inspired by the incredible and distinctive flavours of the Yucatan region, of course, but many of you have been asking us just what that means.
So here we go! Everything you need to know about one of the most amazing food cultures on earth – and Mad Mex is absolutely thrilled to be able to be the one to bring those flavours here to Australia.
What is “Yucatan flavour”?
The term “Yucatan spice” refers to a specific blend of spices and seasonings commonly used in the cuisine of the Yucatan Peninsula, a region located in southeastern Mexico. This unique spice blend is an integral part of Yucatecan cooking and contributes to the vibrant and distinctive flavours of the local dishes.
Yucatan cuisine is renowned for its fusion of indigenous Mayan flavours and techniques with European and Caribbean influences. The Yucatan Peninsula, home to the ancient Mayan civilization, boasts a rich culinary heritage that incorporates local ingredients and traditional cooking methods. The spice blend used in Yucatecan dishes is a key element in capturing the essence of this regional cuisine.
The Yucatan spice blend typically combines a variety of aromatic spices and herbs to create a complex and delicious profile. While the exact composition may vary from recipe to recipe or household to household, there are several common ingredients that are typically included.
One of the essential components of Yucatan spice is achiote, also known as annatto. Achiote seeds, which come from the annatto tree, have a deep red colour and a slightly sweet and peppery flavour. It is that flavour and spice that we have carefully recreated at Mad Mex. You see it, your mouth starts watering. You taste it, and you never want to eat anything else again. It’s not about making your eyes water. It’s about enjoying the complex flavours of something truly unique to Mexico.
Of course, variety is the spice of life, and other spices and seasonings that are often found in Yucatan spice blends include garlic, oregano, cumin, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and black pepper. These spices add that depth and complexity to the flavour profile, and make sure that no matter how often you have Yucatan food, it’s going to taste different (and amazing) each time!
How do the Mexicans use it?
There are two iconic dishes that Yucatan spice is used in. One iconic dish that showcases the flavours of this spice blend is cochinita pibil, a slow-roasted pork dish. The pork is marinated in achiote paste, sour orange juice, and other spices, then wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in an underground pit or an oven. The result is tender, flavourful meat with that distinctive red hue.
Another popular dish that utilizes Yucatan spice is pollo pibil, which is similar to cochinita pibil but made with chicken instead of pork. The chicken is marinated in the same spice blend and cooked in the same manner, resulting in juicy and flavourful meat. The Spicy Yucatan Chicken that you can add to your burrito at Mad Mex is inspired by this exact recipe.
And there you have it. Mad Mex’s mission has always been to bring the authentic flavours of Mexico to the Australian audience. Hopefully, after trying our Spicy Yucatan Chicken at the best Mexican Restaurant Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth or regional Australia has to offer, you’re inspired. Above and beyond the food culture, Yucatan is a region that is rich in history, art, and culture. If you ever get the chance, consider adding it to your travel bucket list. You (and your taste buds) won’t be sorry!