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Belize Garnachas Recipe



  • Whole Fried Corn Tortillas (Or Fry Your Own, See Below)
  • Black Beans (Basically, a pureed black bean soup but you may substitute a can of black beans)
  • 1 Large Onion
  • Habanero Pepper (to taste)
  • Vinegar
  • Asiago Cheese about 1/5 lb. Grated (In Belize you would use Dutch “Hard/Red Back Cheese”
  • Salt (approx. 1/4 tsp. per cup of diced onions)

Recipe Instructions:


Belizean Black Beans

    1. Start with your Belizean Black Bean Soup, or can of black beans. In a blender puree the beans until it’s mostly smooth consistency. The result of blending is often too watery for garnachas, so you will want to simmer the pureed beans over low to medium heat until enough liquid evaporates to thicken the beans. Use lower heat to prevent burning the beans.


Everything you need to make Belizean Garnacha Onion Cortido

    1. While the beans are simmering down, dice one large onion (about a cup to a cup and half of diced onions). Place the onions in a large jar. Fill the jar white distilled vinegar.


The Finished Belizean Onion Cortido for Garnaches

    1. Carefully dice the habanero peppers. Carefully. You don’t want to touch these peppers and then your face for example. It will not feel nice. If your knife skills are not “chef level” use a fork to hold the pepper down while you chop it. Add the pepper to the onion and vinegar. Add a pinch or two of salt to this mixture. Salt to taste.


Stale Corn Tortillas Are Re-born Belize Garnaches Shells

    1. If you opt to buy the whole fried tortillas instead of making your own, keep in mind it’s not the same. Often the factory made shells are terrible… In Belize ganarches are made using day old or stale corn tortillas which are ideal for frying because of the low water content. If you live State side it’s hard to find fresh tortillas to begin with but store bought ones work ok for this. If you don’t plan ahead and dry your tortillas you can place them in a warmed oven directly on a rack (do not pile them up) to evaporate some water before frying (don’t bake the tortillas, you want to simulate stale tortillas, not cook them). We recommend using peanut oil for frying the tortillas. Added bonus, you can make tortillas chips while you are at it.


Fry Whole Corn Tortillas in Very Hot Peanut Oil

    1. In a pot, or cast iron pan put about 1 inch of peanut oil. Heat the oil to very hot. We like to try it for heat by using a single tortilla chip. When it’s hot enough the chip will float immediately and bubble vigorously. Cooking time for a whole corn tortilla will vary depending on the heat. You are looking for nice golden color but don’t burn the tortillas.


Bonus: Fresh Corn Tortilla Chips

    1. When you tortillas have cooled (you can prepare them a day ahead) spread the thickened black beans over the corn tortilla shells. Add a spoon or so of Belizean Onion Cortido, and top it off with a spinkling of asiago cheese.
    2. For a recent party we made star shaped shells using a cookie cutter for a little added personality and perfect people pleasing party snack Belize style.


Belize Salbutes Recipe
















Enjoy one of the unique Belize recipes featured in the Flavors of Belize Cookbook.

These Salbutes, are a staple in Belize culture and food. Be sure to try other Belize recipes featured in Flavors of Belize – The Cookbook.

1 pound fresh corn masa or 1½ cups Quaker Masa Harina de Maiz mix
4 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup water
3 large chicken breasts
1 teaspoon dried oregano, divided
2 cups red onion, sliced
1  jalapeño pepper, deseeded, sliced
¼ cup white vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Vegetable oil for frying
Tortilla Press


Mix masa, flour, baking powder, salt and water until soft and masa holds together.  If using Masa Harina, follow instructions on package. Divide masa and shape into 1½ inch balls. Place ball of masa in-between 2 sheets of parchment  paper in the center of a tortilla press and flatten.  Heat oil in a large frying pan and fry until lightly browned, but not crisp. The masa will inflate. Remove from frying pan and drain.

Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper and ½ teaspoon oregano. Boil in enough water to cover chicken for 20 to 25 minutes or until cooked. Remove from water, cool and shred. Reserve chicken broth.

Bring reserved broth to a boil, add onions, jalapeño pepper, vinegar and ½ teaspoon oregano. Remove from heat, cover and set aside for 10 minutes. Drain, reserve onions and pepper.

Place inflated fried corn round on a serving plate, press down slightly to flatten. Top with shredded chicken, onions and jalapeño pepper.

Serves 4 to 6

Enjoy salbutes for a unique taste of the foods in Belize. For more amazing Belize recipes, check out our cookbook with over 120 dishes!



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