Authentic Mexican style chicken (and how I ended up hungry)

The fateful first official spoonful of chicken smothered with the sauce I picked sent me into a hot biting shock. It felt like I swallowed a whole colony of red angry ants and tears just fell from my eyes.

 

THERE are a million ways to cook a chicken, and anyone can do it from the simplest to the most complicated methods of cooking.

I recently had the chance to sample a chicken dish cooked in authentic Mexican style in a village in Limones, Costa Maya, a village is located along the scenic Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

We were all seated in bamboo seats and were watching the man of the house pulling out some leaves and earth from the top of a pit then digging on the ground. He then unearthed an old pot from and revealed the now tender chicken swimming in the juices of the marinade.

According to Arturo, our village guide, the chicken was marinated with different spices and herbs in an old pot and buried in an underground oven, covered with earth and leaves the fire on top cooked the chicken for the whole night.

The mama of the house started to strip the chicken from the bones and put portions on top of freshly made soft tortillas.

The long slow temperature underground while cooking produced a chicken that was soft and easily shredded but retained its natural moisture.

The mama laid out three dishes with different sauces in it.

I was busy taking photos I was only half-listening when Arturo shouted out instructions to pick the correct sauce from plates 1, 2 or 3 according to the level of spiciness our palates can tolerate. I heard him repeat the instructions but as I said, I was busy so I didn’t pay any attention. A mistake I had to pay dearly.

When it was my turn, I stared at the three kinds of sauce and spooned a generous helping from the plate has the lightest color. On a scale of 1 to 5, my spiciness tolerance is zero and you’re right, I picked out the hottest of the three.

I popped a small piece of chicken to my mouth on my way to my seat and was surprised at how succulent and flavorful it was.

Then the fateful first official spoonful of chicken smothered with the sauce I picked sent me into a hot biting shock. It felt like I swallowed a whole colony of red angry ants and tears just fell from my eyes. I almost drained my coke in can and didn’t really get to appreciate the chicken in its authentic flavor. I tried to blink back tears and tried to put on a false front. Everyone was busy eating so I deftly rolled the rest of my chicken into the tortilla and threw it to the trash bin before anyone noticed. The chicken pieces were way too spicy and beyond redemption even if I dip and wash them in the river.

Lesson? Listen. Or you’ll end up hungry and angry at yourself for being inattentive.

 

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