by Sherry Sullivan (May 2013)
Some questions from a guest about chiles rellenos had me longing for this dish and marveling at its versatility. Chiles rellenos translates to “stuffed chiles” and is a staple on many restaurant menus in the Riviera Maya that feature traditional dishes. Typically this is a roasted fresh pepper with a stuffing of cheese and a coating. There are so many variations to enjoy, and I try them all
I love the chile relleno at the small lunch counter in Akumal. It is a fresh poblano pepper, stuffed with cheese and wrapped in a thin egg omelet, then covered with tomato sauce. The pepper shows just a small amount of heat, the cheese is firm rather than gooey, and the tomato sauce smooth and on the sweet side.
This is a great breakfast (or lunch or dinner!) dish and is served with black beans and tortillas. Other chiles rellenos I have experienced in the area include stuffings of meat and raisins, seafood, or mashed potatoes. The coatings may be an egg batter, bread crumb or nothing. They may be baked or fried, and the peppers can vary widely to include dried chiles or small, hot peppers. The sauces also differ, ranging from a simple tomato sauce as described above, to creamy cheese sauces, or brown meat-based sauces.
The chile relleno represents comfort food of the region to me because it seems each cook has their own recipe which I imagine comes from the home. It is a more labor-intensive dish but because it is frequently meatless, the price is usually low.
Try this dish when you travel to the area. It is healthy and delicious!