Cocina Navidad – Holiday Recipes from Riviera Maya

Holiday recipes from Cancun

Nothing brings people together for the holidays like the promise of good food, and here in Mexico, the Christmas holidays are more about family and food than anything else. We hope you are spending your holidays with us here on the coast, but if not, maybe you would like to bring a little bit of Mexico into your home this season with recipes from our Loco Gringo family. If you decide to try your hand at any of these recipes, let us know how they turn out. Enjoy!


Ponche recipe from Cancun Valet

4 liters of water

1 pound of peeled and seeded tejocotes (small, speckled orange fruits with an apple-pear taste)

1 pound of guavas cut in slices

3 yellow apples cut in slices

8 ounces of sugar cane peeled and cut lengthwise into strips

8 ounces of dried prunes cut in 4

8 flowers of jamaica (hibiscus tea leaves)

3 cinnamon sticks

8 ounces of piloncillo or dark brown sugar

Put the water in a big pot and add the cinnamon and the brown sugar. Once water boils, add the sugar canes, apples and the tejocotes then boil for 15 minutes, stir gently in 5 minutes interval. Add guavas, the jamaica and the prune. Simmer in low flame for approximately half-hour until fruit is soft, it might take up to 45 minutes.  You will have a delicious warm punch. For adults, if you like, add a shot of cognac, brandy or rum to your mug.

Recipe from our extended family at Cancun Valet.

Bacalao (codfish stew)

Traditional Mexican holiday recipes

 2 pounds dried salt cod fish

1 chile, ancho

2 pounds tomatoes

1/2 cup olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 bay leaf

1 pinch ground cinnamon

1 pinch fresh ground pepper

1 jar roasted red peppers

1/2 cup sliced blanched almond

1/4 cup raisins

1/2 cup pimento stuffed olives

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 pound small potatoes, cooked and peeled


Prepare the cod the day before by placing it in a dish of cold water. Change out the water every few hours, until the cod no longer tastes overly salty. Drain. Place in saucepan, cover with water and bring just to a boil. Drain, remove the skin and bones, shred the flesh and set aside. Remove the stem and seeds from the chile ancho and soak in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain then puree in blender with the tomatoes and strain.  Heat the oil in a large skillet, add the onion and garlic over low heat until transparent. Add the puree and cook over low heat until it thickens. Stir in the cod, bay leaf, cinnamon, pepper, red peppers, almonds, raisins, olives, capers and parsley. Cook over medium heat, covered, for 15 minutes. Add the potatoes, cover and cook over high heat for 10 more minutes to heat through. Add salt to taste.

Contributed by Loco Gringo’s own Jose Chan, but probably his mom’s recipe.

Sweet Tamales

Christmas holiday recipes

1 cup vegetable shortening

4 cups milk

4 cups corn masa

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

12 corn husks, soaked in warm water

2 cups Abuelita chocolate discs crushed

1 cup crushed nuts

1 cup raisins

Whisk shortening with 1 cup milk until light. Mix corn masa with baking powder, brown sugar and vanilla, then combine with shortening mixture. Gently mix to make a fluffy dough, adding more milk as needed. Spread the dough over one side of each corn husk to about 1/4-inch thickness. Sprinkle chocolate, raisins and nuts over dough and fold over sides of corn husks to seal. Secure with twine or string. Place tamales in a steamer pot and steam for about 1 hour. Remove tamales from steamer, unwrap and enjoy!

Recipe compliments of Scott Brown, Loco Gringo’s reservations agent extraordinaire.


Christmas recipes from Riviera Maya, mexico

1 ½ liters of whole milk

2 cinnamon sticks

½ kilo sugar

15 egg yolks

½ liter of brandy or rum

Place the milk, cinnamon and sugar in a large pot over low heat. Bring to boil, stirring constantly, until most of the milk has evaporated and reduced to slightly less than 1 liter. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Whisk the egg yolks and mix with a little warm milk. Pour the mixture into the pot with the remaining milk and return to heat to give a final boil. Turn off the flame, remove the cinnamon sticks and when it has cooled to warm add the brandy or rum. Garnish each glass with sprinkles of cinnamon and a mint sprig.

Guaranteed delicious by our commander and chief, Kay Walten.

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