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Get ready to fall in love with Kak’ik, a traditional Guatemalan soup that’ll surely warm your heart and soul! This Guatemalan dish is packed with flavor and nutritious ingredients, with its juicy turkey, warming spices, and fresh veggies. This Mayan dish is the perfect comfort food for those chilly nights or family gatherings, and it’s sure to become a staple in your Guatemalan recipe collection. So, grab your ingredients, find a big pot, and discover the fantastic world of Mayan cuisine through the delicious flavors of Kak’ik!
A Spoonful of Heaven: The Best Kakik Recipe
Kak’ik is a traditional Guatemalan food enjoyed for generations for a good reason! It holds a special place in my heart, reminding me of my childhood in Guatemala. This hearty soup or stew, made with turkey, has always been a staple food in my family. The warm, savory aroma of Kakik cooking on the stove would fill our home and signal that it was time for dinner.
Now, living in the US, I make this Guatemalan soup for my family and friends, sharing a taste of my homeland and the memories that come with it. I am always met with wide eyes and eager smiles as they taste this Guatemalan soup’s bold and delicious flavors. It is a reminder of the love and comfort that food can bring and the importance of preserving cultural traditions.
What Is Kak’ik?
Kak’ik (spelled Kakik, Kaq-ik, or even Kackik) is a flavorful Guatemalan recipe made by cooking turkey in a rich and spicy broth. In 2007, it was declared part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Guatemala, making it one of the most beloved traditional Guatemalan foods ever.
The word “Kak’ik” is of Mayan origin, meaning Kak (red) and Ik (hot or very spicy). The dish’s origin is not widely documented. Still, it is mainly known as an original dish from the Alta Verapaz region. It is a staple food in Mayan cuisine enjoyed by many Chapines nationwide.
What Are the Ingredients for Guatemalan Kak’ik?
The main ingredient for this traditional Guatemalan dish is turkey (drums and breasts). Still, some people use chicken instead (as turkey could be a bit more expensive). But the secret to this delicious Guatemalan soup is the broth that gives it its signature flavor.
This traditional Guatemalan food combines dried chili peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, garlic, cilantro, and mint to create a savory, aromatic sauce. It brings a perfect balance to the tender and juicy turkey meat. And with this easy-to-follow Guatemalan turkey recipe, you can make delicious traditional Kak’ik at home!
A Step-by-Step Recipe for Making Kak’ik Turkey Soup
One of the things I love about this Guatemalan typical food is its versatility, making it mild or spicy, depending on your preference. I always add a bit of Cobanero chile powder or chipotle to give it a bit of heat.
Still, it’s easy to adjust the spiciness to your liking. For example, adding achiote, which gives the dish a vibrant orange color, adds a subtle nutty and earthy flavor unique to this delicious Guatemalan turkey soup.
Ingredients For Kak’ik Guatemalan Soup
- 2 lbs. of turkey, cut into large pieces (4 turkey drumsticks or thighs work great)
- ½ lb. Roma tomatoes
- 4 oz. of Miltomates (Mexican tomatillos)
- One large onion
- One sweet red bell pepper
- Two small dried chile Guaque (Ancho pepper)
- One large dried chile Pasa (Pasilla pepper)
- Two garlic heads (peeled)
- ½ cup of fresh cilantro (chopped)
- ¼ cup of fresh mint leaves (chopped)
- ½ oz sesame seeds
- One tablespoon of whole black peppers
- One oz of Pepitoria (squash seeds)
- ½ teaspoon achiote (annatto)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- One teaspoon of Cobanero chile powder or chipotle to taste
How to make Kak’ik Guatemalan Turkey Soup
Cook the Bird
- Cut the turkey into serving-size pieces and place them in a pot. Pour enough water to cover the turkey pieces, and add salt, one garlic head, cilantro, and mint leaves.
- Bring the pot to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes until tender. Remove the meat to keep it from overcooking, and reserve the broth.
Get the Sauce Going
- While the turkey is cooking, start on the recado sauce. Start by charring the Pepitoria, sesame seeds, and black peppers. Set aside.
- Roast the tomatoes, miltomates (tomatillos), onion, garlic, and sweet pepper over the grill or in a dry skillet on the stove. Remove and set aside.
- Next, carefully remove the seeds from the dried Guaque and Pasa chiles and char in the same skillet. Again, be cautious not to burn them.
- In a food processor, combine the seeds, roasted vegetables, and chiles and process until you get a velvety puree. Add a bit of reserved turkey broth (as needed to make a smooth but still pasty sauce).
- Add Achiote, Cobanero chile powder, salt, and pepper, and process once more. If you like, put it through a strainer to remove any remaining seeds or peels.
Soup’s On! Time for Kak’Ik
- Add the recado puree and the turkey in a pot. Bring to a simmering boil until the soup is thickened (about 10-15 minutes).
- Add a little of the broth if the soup is too thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve the soup in a deep bowl with big chunks of turkey. Finally, sprinkle chopped cilantro and mint before serving.
Tips For Making the Best Guatemalan Kak’ik
- Use dark meat: Dark meat is juicier and has a stronger flavor than white meat, making it ideal for a spicy turkey soup recipe.
- Add spices gradually: When adding spices, start with a small amount and taste as you go. Of course, you can always add more, but you can’t take it away. For example, fresh chili peppers give you a more intense heat than dried chili flakes.
- Balance heat with sweetness: To balance the heat of the chili peppers, add a pinch of sugar or a touch of honey. And don’t forget to taste it at the end before serving and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Serve with cooling ingredients: I love serving this Guatemalan soup with cooling ingredients such as sour cream, plain yogurt, or avocado to balance the heat.
- Garnish with herbs: Fresh herbs such as cilantro, parsley, or green onion add a pop of flavor and color to the soup!
Make Ahead of Time
Making this spicy turkey soup ahead of time can be a great time-saver and allow the flavors to deepen and develop. Simply cook the soup according to the recipe, then allow it to cool down to room temperature.
Transfer the soup to an airtight container, ensuring it is large enough to hold the entire batch and has enough space to expand as it cools. Then, place the container in the refrigerator and let it chill for up to three days.
What Is the Best Way To Freeze Kak’ik?
To freeze this delicious spicy turkey soup, follow these steps:
- Allow the soup to cool completely: Before freezing it, let it cool to room temperature. This will prevent the temperature inside the freezer from rising and affect the quality of other frozen foods.
- Transfer to an airtight container: Transfer the soup to an airtight container once the soup has cooled. Make sure the container is freezer safe and has enough space for the soup to expand as it freezes.
- Label and date the container: Write the dish’s name and the date it was made on the container. This will help you keep track of the age of the soup and make it easier to identify in the future.
- Freeze for up to three months: Place the container of turkey soup in the freezer and freeze it for up to three months. The soup will be at its best quality within the first month but can still be enjoyed up to three months later.
Reheat And Enjoy:
When you’re ready to enjoy the soup, remove it from the freezer and thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. Do not thaw the soup at room temperature, as this can cause bacteria to grow and compromise the safety of the soup.
Reheat the thawed soup in a pot on the stove or microwave. Stir the soup frequently to ensure even heating and avoid scorching. Serve the hot, spicy turkey soup in a deep bowl, and enjoy!
What to Serve with Kakik Guatemalan Turkey Soup?
I always serve a side dish of fluffy white rice to this Guatemalan turkey soup. And for a more filling meal, Guatemalans love to add small corn dough tamales. Here are other delicious ideas on what to serve with this hearty soup:
- Corn Tortillas: Nothing complements the rich flavors of this traditional Guatemalan dish like a warm, soft corn tortilla. Serve these on the side for dipping or tearing into the soup for a satisfying crunch.
- Avocado Slices: A few slices of creamy avocado will cool your mouth after a spoonful of spicy Kak’ik. Plus, they add healthy fat to the meal.
- Salad: A simple green salad with crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, and a tangy vinaigrette is a refreshing side dish that will balance out the spices in the soup.
- Lime Wedges: A squeeze of fresh lime juice will brighten the flavors in this Guatemalan soup and add a touch of acidity.
These are just a few suggestions for what to serve with this traditional Mayan dish, but the options are endless. So choose what sounds good and enjoy a hot bowl of one of my favorite Guatemalan comfort foods!
More Traditional Guatemalan Recipes You’ll Love
Guatemalan cuisine is a delicious fusion of indigenous Mayan cooking and Spanish influence, creating a unique and flavorful blend of ingredients and spices. From the famous Guatemalan tamales Colorados to the hearty Pepian stew, you’ll surely find a recipe to make your taste buds dance with joy. So, let’s get cooking!
A classic Guatemalan dish, this simple recipe consists of a toasted tortilla topped with a mixture of vegetables or escabeche, ground beef, and tomato sauce. It’s one of my favorite authentic Guatemalan foods.
For a comforting and flavorful Guatemalan meal, try Subanik. This hearty dish is made with a mixture of three types of meat. And a rich sauce featuring a tomato base and various chili peppers, making it a perfect option for a chilly day.
Pepián is a flavorful Guatemalan chicken stew that’s bursting with roasted spices. It can be made with chicken, beef, or pork and simmered in a rich tomato-based sauce infused with toasted seeds and peppers.
Based on my grandmother’s recipe, these Guatemalan tamales are made with corn masa and filled with either chicken or pork. I’ve perfected the recipe with some personal touches and included easy step-by-step instructions to enjoy them at home.
This easy-to-make vegetable and beef stew, inspired by my grandma’s traditional Guatemalan Cocido recipe, is perfect for the slow cooker. It’s sure to become your favorite comfort food, just as it is mine.
Why settle for boring drinks when you can experience the bold and vibrant taste of Agua de Tamarindo? Get ready for a burst of tropical goodness with this Guatemalan drink! This beloved beverage is a tangy-sweet delight made from tamarind fruit pulp. Perfect for quenching your thirst on a hot day, this refreshing drink will leave you craving more!
Hen in Pepián dulce is a sweet and savory dish with a unique blend of Guatemalan and Spanish flavors. It features tender chicken stewed with roasted seeds and spices served with a rich chocolate sauce.
Barquillos are crispy sweet cookies rolled into long cylinders. This easy-to-make Guatemalan recipe is a treat for those who have never tried these delicious wafer roll cookies. You’re sure to fall in love with them.
This refreshing rice drink from Guatemala is a total game-changer! With its creamy blend of rice, cinnamon, and vanilla, this traditional Guatemalan beverage is the perfect treat on a hot day. But it is also a light dessert or snack your kids will love. So, kick back, relax, and get ready to sip your way to paradise with every delicious drop!
A savory dish with a rich history, Bacalao is a staple on many Guatemalan tables during Lent and Holy week! Made with tender cod fish and a rich and savory tomato sauce, This hearty stew is perfect for seafood lovers!
Guatemalan Kak’Ik is more than just a dish; it symbolizes my heritage and the love and comfort that food can bring. Kakik soup will always hold a special place in my heart and remind me of my family, culture, and childhood. So Whether you are a seasoned Kak’ik lover or trying it for the first time, I highly recommend giving this delicious and flavorful stew a go!
To Cook the Turkey
To Make the Sauce
To Make the Soup
Serving Size: 1 portion
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 331Total Fat: 14.5gSaturated Fat: 3.8gCholesterol: 107mgSodium: 124mgCarbohydrates: 16.9gFiber: 4.1gSugar: 3.1gProtein: 34.3g
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