Confessions from a Non-Recipe Follower

I am not good at following recipes. It’s not that I don’t like them or have anything against handy measuring cups. In fact my creations would probably turn out better if I just went ahead and followed the simple steps. But for some reason it feels like its cramping my style. I like to add stuff and change a lil’ of this for a lil’ of that. I like to improvise and improve and create.

Last week my Spanish teacher asked me what I wanted to learn for the week and I told her that I wanted to learn how to make pepián, pronounced pay-pe-ahn’. If you have not had the privilege of eating this delicious soup/stew/curry like dish than you’re missing out. And the best part about it is that it’s my kind of recipe! No measuring cups, no exact amounts, just a list of fresh vegetables and a little estimation.
We started with this:

And two hours later, after some chopping, boiling, browning, blending, and stirring, we finished with this:

I feel fairly confident that I could repeat it and make it by myself; minus the slimy-chicken-skin-peeling-bone-breaking part. The end result is served hot, over rice or with tortillas. And it makes wonderful leftovers. I’ll include the “Recipe” below. (this is probably more so for me so that I can remember the ingredients and what order they go in)

Dear Blog Readers, Meet Pepián


1 libre de pollo/carne de res

2 onzas de peitoria semillas

2 onzas de ajonjoli

1 chile pasa

3 tomates

1 cebolla

2 onzas de miltomate

1 manojo mediano de cilantro

3 dientes de ajo


1) Boil chicken/carne in water with onion and any vegetables you want (potatoes, squash, carrots)

2) Brown pepitoria, el anjonjoli and child pasa in a frying pan.

3) Broil tomate, cebolla, el ajo, and miltomates

4) Put items from #2 and #3 in the blender for 5 min

5) Pour back to pot, and cook for another 20 min with chicken.

*If you like rice, cook that simultaneously.

My little gas stove and I have been becoming much better friends these past few weeks. I think because fruits and vegetables are so cheap here and I have a little more time in the evenings I’m enjoying cooking. Even though I just confessed my inability to follow recipes I’d actually like to get better. So, if you have any easy or good recipes pass them along. I promise to try and follow the directions.

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7 thoughts on “Confessions from a Non-Recipe Follower

  1. Hi, your mom recommended that I contact you. I’m looking for a language school in Antigua. She thought you might could recommend one for me. My email address is I also wondered what your thoughts were on homestays vs. staying in an apartment. I’ve heard mixed reviews on staying with a family!

    Thanks for your help! Where are you working in Guatemala? We have been working in Yalu, near Sumpango each summer.

  2. Hi Jan. Sorry for the delay. I’m living in Antigua and working in Santa Lucia. That’s great that you’ve been working in Sumpango. I’m happy to give you some recommendations. I’ll email you soon.

  3. Wow, pepián, you are brave! I’ve lived in Guatemala for two years and I’ve never done pepian. Way to go!

    I saw the comments above – are you working in Santa Lucia, Sacatepequez?

    I’d love to chat more – I tried emailing, but it refused to go through! Email me sometime if you’re interested in connecting via the blog world.

  4. Oh, you could definitely do pepian. All you need is a blender : ) So, I can’t believe that you live in Guate and that you probabaly understand so many of the wonderful and challenging things about life here better than most! That’s weird my email didn’t work. I’ll email you. Thanks for all the nice comments.

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