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?