Although not commonly seen in Xela, this atol recipe (the name used for hot drinks in the region, often made with corn) is perfect for the cold winter nights that are rapidly closing in on us. It’s a great drink to serve at your end of year fiestas and can be served as you see in the stalls in parque central, ‘con piquete’ or ‘sin piquete’ (with or without alcohol), depending on whether or not you need a little extra kick!
Ingredients: A medium pan filled to ¾ full with water.
1 whole pineapple, peeled, cored and chopped into around ½ inch pieces.
2 sticks of cinnamon or 3 tsp of ground cinnamon.
4 heaped tbs of sugar.
2-3 tbs of corn flour .
¼ cup of Rum or an octavo bottle of Quetzalteca (for those making their atol “con piquete”).
Directions: 1.Cover the pan of water with a lid and heat until the water is almost boiling.
2. Add the chopped pineapple pieces, cinnamon sticks or ground cinnamon, and 4 tbs of sugar and simmer on a low heat for roughly 15 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the sugar dissolves.
3. Place the corn flour in a cup and add 2 to 3 tbs of the atol mixture to make a paste, stir well to get rid of any lumps. Add the paste to the pan of atol and continue to stir so that the atol mixture thickens.
4. Continue to cook over a low heat while stirring for another 3-4 minutes and if you think you’d prefer a thicker atol, add another 2 tbs of corn flour making another paste before adding to the mixture.
5.Taste the atol for the sweetness. Un verdadero chapin will add perhaps two or three times the amount of sugar to make it as sweet as possible.
6. If you wish to serve this as an alcoholic beverage, add around a ¼ cup of rum or an octavo of Quetzalteca. You can add more if preferred, depending on how tipsy you feel like getting.
7. Use a ladle to serve into cups with the pineapple pieces and sit back and enjoy!
Simone works at Asociacion de Mujeres del Altiplano (AMA) where Women Circle members offer traditional Mayan cookery classes, email AMA@highlandsupportproject.org for more information about cooking classes and other cultural activities