Belizean Recipes


Bollitos de Chaya

Servings: 8 medium bollitos

  • 16 Banana leaf pieces approximately 9"x9"
  • 1 lb. Corn masa
  • 1 Tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 Cup Water or as needed
  • 1 tsp Salt (approximately)
  • 1 Onion, chopped fine
  • ¾ cup Onions, chopped medium fine
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Spanish Thyme, chopped
  • ½ can Tomato paste
  • Dash Pepper
  • ½ tsp Hot sauce (regular)
  • ½ cup Green pepper, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire (Lea & Perrins)
  • 3 cups Chaya leaves (alternative: spinach), chopped
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • Dash Sugar


Wash and dry, then prepare the banana leaves by passing them over a hot flame to soften so they won't break when wrapping. Prepare the corn masa by mixing it with enough water so that it will fall slowly from a spoon in a thick stream. Add salt. Cook over medium heat for about 25 minutes, stirring frequently. Boil Chaya in a sauce pan. Throw away water and put aside Chaya. In another saucepan, saute onion, garlic, green pepper & fresh Spanish Thyme leaves. Chop Chaya and add to onion-garlic-green pepper mixture. Saute until Chaya flavors mix. Place a small amount of corn masa mixture in a banana leaf, cover with Chaya mixture. Fold up the ingredients into the leaf (See folding instructions below) and place opening side down in a steamer or on a thick bed of banana leaves. Add enough water to maintain steam, but not enough to cover any of the bollitos. Add more water from time to time at the very edge of the pot, as necessary to keep the pot from going dry. Steam covered tightly for about 1-1 ½ hours.

Keep bollitos in the pot, covered, until ready to serve.

To Serve:

Remove from the steamer with tongs, unwrap and slide onto a plate.
Top with ‘picado’, ‘curtivo’, and / or hot sauce.

Picado: Mix about a half cup each of finely chopped tomato, minced onion, and finely chopped green pepper with 3 Tbsp lime.

Folding instructions: Cut banana leaf into approximately 9"x9" pieces. Facing the leaf, place the masa about 3" from the edge nearest you. Then fold up the leaf side closest to you over the masa to make a "tamale-like case" about 2" wide and press it down tightly on the side away from you and draw it gently towards you while at the same time pressing down each side so the masa doesn't squish out the sides.
Fold each side 3"over the middle, leaving a strip of masa about 3" long. Roll the bollito over one or more times using the remaining length of banana leaf to encase it well.

*This is a regional Mestizo/Maya dish that is suitable also for vegans and for those with low fat, low cholesterol, low sugar, gluten free, dairy free restrictions.


Servings: 3 - 4 cups of sauce (about 16 servings)

  • 2 ½ cups chick peas (garbanzo beans), soaked overnight with half tsp. soda
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (add an additional 1/2 cup or more, if necessary, since taste and the strength of limes varies)
  • 5 cloves garlic, mashed to a paste with salt
  • ½ tsp salt (add more if necessary)
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  • ½ Arab bread (pocket bread) or flour tortilla per person
  • Smoked paprika for garnish
  • Parsley leaves for garnish

Wash chick peas well. Cook until tender. Rinse, then remove all skins. This is time consuming (you can use a can of chick peas instead if you wish). Mash the garbanzos very well or use food processor to puree. Add tahini to the mashed garbanzos, mixing or processing constantly. When smooth, add the lime juice, mashed garlic, and chopped parsley. The sauce should be thick and smooth. Like ice cream, it should hold its shape. Add a bit of water if it seems too thick.

To Serve:

Serve chilled on a small plate with slices of Arab Bread (or flour tortilla) encircling the hummus. Make a well in the middle of the hummus; then add ½ tsp olive oil to the well. Garnish with a tiny bit of smoked paprika (ahumada) and a leaflet of parsley.

*This is a Lebanese dish that is suitable also for vegans and for those with low fat, low cholesterol, low sugar, gluten free, dairy free restrictions.
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