Published On: Tue, Nov 1st, 2016

Do you really know the difference between Panuchos and Salbutes?

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If you are an Expat living in the Yucatán, you must know the difference between Panuchos and Salbutes by now.

And if you don’t, do not worry, we are going to graphically explain what differentiates these two Yucatecan iconic gastronomic delicacies, so next time you ask for either one of them, you can feel confident you know the difference.

Panuchos and Salbutes, alike but not the same…

Panuchos (pah-NOO-chohs) – are made with corn masa (dough), cooked on a dry, hot cast iron skillet until slightly puffy, then a slit is made in the tortilla and it is stuffed with refried beans, sealed, then lightly fried.

It is then topped with tomatos, lettuce, a slice of cucumber, ground beef, chicken or turkey, avocado and pickled onions.

Panuchos (Photo: mayan-yucatan-traveler.com)



Panuchos Ingredients:

Refried black beans
1 kg of corn dough
100g flour
oil or butter
1 head of lettuce
Pickled purple onion (like the one used for “Cochinita”)
4 large tomatoes, 1 avocado
1kg of shredded roast turkey (for Turkey Salbutes)

Preparation:
Mix the corn dough with the flour, add salt and stir well, make regular size thick tortillas, but make sure the tortillas are thick enough in order to be able to make an incision and  stuff them with refried beans.

Once stuffed, brown them in hot oil or butter, when they feel crispy, get them out of the pan and drain the excess oil on a paper towel.

Cut the lettuce and place some leaves on top of the fried tortilla, add the turkey (or main ingredient), and top with a couple of tomato slices and a slice of avocado.

 



Salbutes (sahl-BOO-tehs) – are similar to panuchos but without the refried beans inside the tortilla.

They are also fried and topped with the same ingredients though.

There are many variations of the toppings in salbutes, it can be pork (“Cochinita”, or “Castacan”), beef (“salpicón”), chicken, turkey, fish, shrimp, octopus, scrambled egg,  or other stews or “guisados” such as relleno negro, picadillo, carne en salsa verde, even scrambled eggs or simply black beans.

And most importantly, Salbutes are always less crispy than Panuchos.

Salbutes (Photo: mayan-yucatan-traveler.com)



Salbutes Ingredients:
1 kg of corn dough
100g flour
oil or butter
1 head of lettuce
Pickled purple onion (like the one used for “Cochinita”)
4 large tomatoes, 1 avocado
1kg of shredded roast turkey (for Turkey Salbutes)

Preparation:
Mix the corn dough with the flour, add salt and stir well, make regular size thick tortillas. Brown them in hot oil or butter, once crispy, drain the excess oil on a paper towel.
Cut the lettuce and place some leaves on top of the fried tortilla, add the turkey (or main ingredient), and top with a couple of tomato slices and a slice of avocado.



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Salsa de chile habanero (Google)

Salsa de Chile Habanero

In both cases, do not forget the “salsa de chile habanero” (habanero chili sauce), this ingredient truly provides the unique and unmistakably flavor of the Yucatecan traditional cuisine to any plate.

But forget about those commercial bottled habanero salsas you buy at the supermarket… to fully enjoy the real thing, you need to go to the “mercado” and buy yourself a few fresh habanero chiles, it won’t cost more than 5 pesos (25 cents US). Rinse them in fresh clean water, and grind them in a mortar (molcajete, if you have one), add lemon juice, salt, and let it rest in a small container for five minutes.

Sources:

Mexico Travel Care

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