More Yucatan Cuisine: San Simon and Caballero Pobre

Last Saturday, we went to a birthday party for my suegro.

Jorge’s grandmother had traveled from Yucatan to celebrate, and a visit from Abuela Elsy wouldn’t be complete without some fabulous Yucatan cuisine.

First we had San Simon. This dish is basically turkey with broth, covered in lots of toppings. The toppings can vary depending on the recipe, but our San Simon was covered in fried plantains, onion and homemade french fries.

It sounds like the most random combination of ingredients ever… but it was DELICIOUS.

For dessert, I got to try Caballero Pobre (“Poor Gentleman”) for the first time. I feel like this dish is basically the “french toast” of the Yucatan. It’s a baguette soaked in egg, fried in a bit of oil, then covered in a syrupy-cinnamony sauce.

Jorge’s been going over to his parent’s house every day this week to get some more of Abuela Elsy’s food.

What dishes are popular in your area?

Yucatan Seafood: Ceviche de Chivitas

When we visit Jorge’s family in the fishing village of Chabihau in the Mexican state of Yucatan, we mostly eat at his aunt’s house by the lagoon. “Tia Lili” has her own mini-restaurant, specializing in freshly caught seafood.

My personal favorite thing that Tia Lili makes is fried fish, but second on my list is ceviche de chivitas.

I’ve been trying to find information online about chivitas so that I could out how to translate it to English for you. I had to do some very creative Googling, only to find 3 webpages with tiny tidbits of info on this type of seafood. Here’s what I found out:

-The best way to describe chivitas in English would be as small river snails.

-I can’t confirm this 100%, but they seem to only live in rivers/lagoons on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Chivitas translates literally into “little goats”. Why? Wish I could tell ya.

Anyway, the same evening that we went searching for flamingos, 2 of Jorge’s uncles took a rowboat out onto the lagoon to catch chivitas. They came back with HUNDREDS. That same night, Jorge’s uncle steamed them on his large outdoor stove.

The next day, I wake up, walk to Tia Lili’s house, and see my in-laws and Jorge’s uncles extracting the chivitas from their shells.

They use long, thick needles to get them out. Once they’ve been steamed properly, they seem to come out pretty easily.

*This might look kinda gross, but I swear it’s soooo good!*

On the left side of the board are the beautiful shells. On the right side are the chivitas.

a closer look

Konan maxin' and relaxin' under the table

They filled up an entire bucket with shells. I asked to keep them for decorating the house later (after a thorough bleach cleaning, of course)

Final product: Ceviche de chivitas with tostadas... great appetizer! and what Mexican meal would be complete without a glass of Coca Cola?