Toksel – A Yucatecan Classic, made with Rocks.

Yes, you read that right, rocks. It’s a very old recipe, traditional and all that, some say it goes back to pre-españoles Mayan times. I was going to say pre-conquest but that opens up a whole can of uncomfortable worms.

This dish is made with ibes, (EE-behs) which are the tender ‘new’ beans (phaseolus lunatus) fresh off the vine.

The origin of the word comes from the Mayan tóok (to burn or scorch) and sel/kel which means roughly ground up.

Take the beans and boil until tender, drain and mix them together with ground-up pepita which is/are of course pumpkin squash seeds – ground up with the shell on I might add – and available at any self-respecting market in any Yucatan town. This mix is cooked to completion in a clay pot which also contains some red-hot rocks (cleaned and preheated over a fire) stirring all the while.

The pot is then covered with a cloth and the pepita will emit part of its natural oils and some of the ibes will become slightly burnt. This is what gives the dish its exquisite flavor.

You can serve the toksel in hot corn tortillas or as a topping for panuchos. To accompany the dish, it is customary to use the cooking water from the ibes seasoned with a little lime juice and chile.

7 thoughts on “Toksel – A Yucatecan Classic, made with Rocks.

  1. I’ve been biting my lips imagining the taste of that food sitting under a ceiba tree. I’ve searched the ibes to find the image and buy them in the market.
    After reading an article that mentions there are 21 local varieties of ibes in Yucatan, I conclude that I can do it with tender beans, pumpkin seeds, lemon and chile from the Canary Islands.
    I don’t even try to use hot stones. The mayans are my cooking masters.
    By the way.. what kind of chile?

  2. What kind of chiles? Habanero of course! Y recuerda, la pepita se muele CON la cascarita. I imagine any small tender bean will do. And what are you going to do about rocks?

  3. I’m going to plant mi habanero’s seeds and hope they grow healthy. In the meanwhile i think can use pimienta palmera, a local chile a little bit less hot than habanero’s.
    What about te red hot stones? I don’t know how to use them and what kind of pot is available to put the stones inside and cook the mixture.

  4. I saw in internet they use epazote too.
    Do you think this is esential to cook toksel? It’s dificult to find epazote here. Can I substitute epazote with another plant?

  5. Yes, I think a local spice would be fine. As for the rocks, calientalas en una flama (chimenea or gas stove) and then throw them in the mix. Epazote is a flavorful plant/herb so yes, I think it is necessary. But you can experiment and come up with a versión canaria of this dish!

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