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Have you tried garnachas?


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General Discussion

Have you tried garnachas?

rworange | | Jan 31, 2011 09:18 PM

If so, what they were like? How did you eat them?

A little like Belizian garachEs, but not quite … no beans involved and more stuff in it.

Here’s what they were: Tiny fried tortilla, topped with a mystery mix of something. Ladle on some tomato sauce, sprinkle with cheese. Serve with some sort of delicious yellow cabbage, escabeche, salt and the most amazing lemons that were deep orange inside and bright green outside … nope … not sour orange here … lemon.

Here’s a nice link with a photo and info

“According to historian Celso Lara, this dish comes originally from the Tehuantepec isthmus … The best example of the cultural mixture produced in the region was the fried tortilla, which is the base for the garnacha … the tortilla is fried in big amounts of oil, which is a Mediterranean contribution … On top of the fried tortilla the garnachas have a mixture of a mestizo style spiced meat which alters the flavors to make it more delicate.

According to Lara, the garnachas came to occupy a royal place among the Guatemalan gastronomy, mainly during the town fairs, and this is why she is the queen of snacks on the month of October, during the celebration of the rosary.”

This was a new one for me. I’ve never saw them when reading about Guatemalan cuisine. None of my half-dozen Guatemalan cookbooks mentions them. Yet, when I told my family there were garnachas at the local feria (fair) it seemed as familiar to them as corndogs or funnel cakes to someone from the USA.

I guess given that, carnival food recipes don’t often show up in cookbooks or included on searches on American cuisine.

I’m interested in what the mix might be. A lot of online recipes mention ground beef, but this wasn’t it. One had potatoes in it, at that could be possible.

The description above was pretty spot on … delicate tasting mix … euphemism for no flavor … except salt … lots of salt.

Well, I’m cool with this as I get that Guatemalan food is often flavored with the condiments. The excellent lemon perked it up. I didn’t bother too much with the salt on the side as I felt it had enough. For good measure, I threw on a spicy pickled carrot from the escabeche … yeah, now we’re cooking.

However, what really made this was the yellow cabbage, the color of saffron. I’ve never seen this. It was sort of sauerkraut texture, but fresh and a thicker cut.

I’m not sure if I ate this correctly or what was in it. When I first ordered it, there was a lot of talk and the word ‘huevo’ came up a lot. It was beyond my Spanish skills so I just said “Si, pequeno” … as it seemed you could order it for different prices. I was wondering if it was just more of the same or if the filling differed by price.

Then again, I see some mention of being garnished with hard-boiled eggs, so maybe they didn’t have any and that’s what they were saying.

As to eating it, I fell on the way to the table, and after that most of my focus was on whether I broke my leg (nope), so I wasn’t asking a lot of food questions.

So … I’m hoping someone else knows more about this and can give me some tips. I couldn’t get back to the fair the next day with the family to watch them eat this thing as I was having trouble walking.

This MIGHT be the recipe (in Spanish) as it is the closest I’ve found. It seems like ground pork is involved. They don’t mention the lemons or the cabbage though.

This link seems to have compiled most of the references on the web though the focus is Mexico. What I’m reading from the Yucatan is closer that what is in other areas of Mexico … which makes sense given the Mayan connection

Photos below of the garnacharia with the finished product and a work in progress.

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