Guatemalan Chuchitos


A few of us got together for a hike and a food fest last weekend. Our friend from Guatemala taught us how to make chuchitos. We also feasted on guacamole, a huge vegetable plate, and beans. Since the day was also a Spanish conversation practice session and I was having too much fun, I wasn’t able to write down the recipe. I can give you the major steps and methods, along with the photos. The major difference between the chuchitos and the Mexican-style tamales I make is in the way the chicken is prepared. It’s poached whole in small pieces rather than shredded and the sauce is a tomato-based sunflower pumpkin seed and sesame sauce that isn’t spicy but is incredibly flavorful and delicious.


Deeply toast the dried chiles, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds in a dry cast iron skillet.


Roast and blacken the tomatoes in a dry cast iron skillet.


Puree the chiles, tomatoes, and seeds with enough of the broth from poaching the chicken to make a smooth sauce.

Add cubes of soft bread (we used Mexican style rolls) to the blender to thicken the sauce. Add salt to taste.

Simmer the sauce for several minutes (I have no idea how long) until it is thick and smooth. Correct for salt.


Dip the chicken pieces in the sauce one-by-one to coat them evenly.  Either by hand or with a tortilla press, flatten a piece of masa slightly larger than a walnut into a disc as if you are making a tortilla, Place one coated piece of chicken in the center of the disc and fold it over like a turnover, crimping it a little to seal. It’s ok if the sauce squishes out a little.

Swaddle the little turnover snugly in a cornhusk and tie both ends to secure.


Steam the chuchitos for about 1 1/2 hours.


The chuchitos are ready when the masa is soft (oh so suave) and puffs up a little. It also must pull away easily from the husk.


Simply cooked pinto beans are an excellent and classic accompaniment. The tequila with fresh lemon juice wasn’t bad either.

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  1. allison hays
    Posted January 26, 2011 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    this was so delicious!!! I <3 Guatemalean food! my son loves this dish! <3 senora hays

    • leti
      Posted November 20, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

      What kind of dried chiles should I buy?

      • Posted November 21, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        Hi there,
        You could try just about any that you like. New Mexico or Ancho chiles are easy to find and good for this recipe.

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