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Learning how to cook in Guatemala... PLEASE HELP!

Friday, March 29, 2013

After living for 3 years in Mexico, we moved at the beginning of the year to Guatemala. It took me almost 2 years to learn to cook in Mexico. What I mean is... learning to cook with what is available and cheaply. Things that are common back home often have an imported mark-up in other countries. For example, a can of diced tomatoes is 2 or 3 times more expensive.

Now we are living in Guatemala. So I need to learn all over again... and here I have even less access to things. We have 2 small grocery stores (size of a small corner store) which have very little variety. For example, they don't have canned diced tomatoes but they have 5 brands of refried beans. And when your grocery is composed of 3 aisles... this poses a challenge as good recipes often call for items not available. Also, meat counters are not very hygenic and meat is very expensive. So we eat meat only once or twice a week. Produce is quite inexpensive if you go to the local market (its triple at the grocery store). Not everything is available or nice enough to buy, so you need to tweak your recipes to fit what is available at the market when you go.

So my biggest challenge right now is to learn new meatless recipes that are filling. We often feel hungry an hour after eating so we need to find something that fills us up. Lately, we've been using pasta or bread to fill the void but this is not great for weightloss. I try to include beans or legumes but my husband still complains of hunger.

Do you have any tips or recipes to share with me? Of course, the recipes have to have basic ingredients, nothing imported as I will probably not have access to it. I would greatly appreciate any tips or recipes!

Thanks for reading!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I like the rice, everything goes with it and spices really affect the flavor
    1847 days ago
    If eggs are readily available they are a great source of protein. If they aren't can you keep a couple of chickens? Can you get milk powder? With that and just one pottle of yoghurt as a starter you can make yoghurt, and from that, greek yoghurt by simply straining the yoghurt, use the liquid in baking and soups. You can make a paneer, asoft cheese, from milk powder. Smoothies made with extra skim milk powder are creamy and a great way of adding extra protein. Good luck in Guatemala.
    1848 days ago
    This certainly sounds challenging. I think I would check out how the locals eat.
    1849 days ago
    I'm not sure I could offer too much specific without knowing exactly what you have available, but I would suggest scouring vegetarian and vegan recipe websites for ideas that you can adapt. My husband is vegetarian/tomato allergic; my son is vegetarian/dairy allergic -- those sites have been godsends for us at times when we are desperate to get out of the South Indian food rut for a while and try something new.

    And another random thought -- if you can get coconut milk, dishes made with that are pretty filling. Tasty too.
    1849 days ago
    Thanks RenataRuns. That's a good point! I'm still trying to figure out how to make rice on a gas stove without undercooking it or turning it to sludge. If you have any good beans or rice recipes, I'd love to have some! Variety is key!
    1849 days ago
    I almost hate to say it, but ... beans and rice (assuming you can get rice). Rice is more filling than bread or pasta; it still has the protein you need to go with the beans; and it's the food of poor people the world over for a reason.

    With vegetables, spices, and different ways of preparation, the variety of meals you can make on that basis is amazing.
    1849 days ago
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