Cochinita Pibil is the jewel of Mayan gastronomy. It is also the most famous dish in the Yucatan peninsula, which is located in Mexico’s South Eastern region.
Its traditional preparation consists of first marinating the pork meat in a highly acidic citrus juice, specifically bitter oranges. Next, its most important ingredient achiote paste or powder (also known as annatto) is added, giving it its burnt orange-red color along with a dry and earthy flavor.
Finally, the meat gets wrapped in banana leaves and is then roasted. Thanks to the high acidic content of the marinade and the slow cooking, even hard cuts of meat become thoroughly tenderized.
The main differences between traditional Mayan and modern recipes typically involve the cooking method. The Mayans bury the marinated pork meat wrapped in the banana leaves about one meter underground and start a fire over it, so that the heat from the embers cook the meat like an oven.
We find that this way in which the meat is cooked gives it its name because "pib" means "buried" in the Mayan language.
What is the best way to enjoy Cochinita Pibil ?
Cochinita Pibil is most often eaten in tacos or sandwiches, topped with pickled red onions, black beans and a traditional Habanero salsa, made from Habanero chile, one of the hottest chili peppers in the world.
At Mexicana we bring you these authentic flavors to Switzerland where you can also enjoy our Cochinita Pibil in our burritos, quesadillas, and nachos !