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Belizean flag.

Tonight we enjoyed a dish from Belize, one that we will definitely make again. The flavours in this dish were quite tasty even though we missed one ingredient! Next time we’ll have to be sure to remember it.

Chimole, or Black Dinna as it is also known, is a type of chicken stew that we ate over rice. I order to make this we needed to first make the Black Recado sauce.

To make this we took ten ancho peppers and roasted them in the BBQ. We are guessing we needed to roast them longer as the sauce didn’t seem dark enough. These were supposed to be blackened before adding the rest of the ingredients.

The peppers were placed in a blender with garlic, cloves, allspice, achiote (annatto) seeds, oregano, cumin, white wine vinegar, salt, and pepper, then blended together until it became a black paste. This was set aside until later.

Black Recado.

For the Chimole we began by browning chicken breasts, seasoned with salt and pepper. Once browned we added water to cover the chicken, onions, garlic, and potatoes and cooked for a half hour. The recado was mixed with chicken bouillon to dissolve, then added to the chicken. The last part was adding tomatoes and cilantro with more water if necessary.

Simmering away.

The Chimole was to be served with boiled eggs and corn tortillas, which we forgot, and instead we ate it with rice. Regardless, this dish was a hit with everyone. This dish had a bit of a unique taste to me and I enjoyed the hint of cilantro that popped up every now and then. I’m sure the leftovers will disappear fast with the majority of us taking it for lunch tomorrow.

Chimole, so tasty!

For dessert we had Belizean Coconut Tarts. These were made by mixing coconut, sweetened condensed milk, sugar, a grated nutmeg, and lemon juice, which we put into store bought shells. Things were going well, they looked really good. They didn’t fill all the shells though so I created a chocolate concoction to fill the other shells, and then forgot to take out the coconut tarts when all was done. They ended up being really dark and fairly dry, which was disappointing.

Grating nutmeg into the coconut tarts.

The flavour was still pretty good, with a bit of a citrus taste coming through. I’m looking to try these again without forgetting to take them out. I expect they’d be quite moist with a lovely coconut flavour.

The Coconut Tarts before I overcooked them.

Did you know that Belize was a British colony and a source of their lumber? It is the only Central American country where English is the official language. There are many other languages including Kriol, Spanish, Garifuna, and Mayan. It is also the only country in Central America without a coastline on the North Pacific Ocean.

Belize is home to the second largest barrier reef, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The 185 mile long reef houses more than 450 species of fish. The only jaguar reserve in the world, called Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, is in Belize.

At 17 people per square km, Belize is one of the last populated countries in the world (Canada has 4), and use speed bumps instead of traffic lights. Apparently these bumps are quite large and force you to slow right down in order to not go flying.

Finally, Belize’s Black Howler Monkeys are in the top ten loudest animals in the world, and the Great Blue Hole, the biggest sink hole in the ocean, is found in Belize.

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