How to make recado negro and a recipe to enjoy it

This combination of spices and aromatic elements that are ground together to season the cochinita pibil, the black stuffing, the marinade and endless other recipes are called recado and it is the backbone of cuisine throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. .

We spoke with chef David Cetina, head of La Tradición restaurant and gastronomic researcher of the culture of the southeast so that he could shed light on the subject and the secrets of its preparation.

Recado, collection… red, black, white and pickled

It is not only a custom in the state of Yucatan; the entire peninsula, including Campeche and Quintana Roo, roast and grind various spices and vegetables that combine to eye to serve as seasonings for the different stews that paint the gastronomic landscape.

Each family has its secret recipes and this is a sign of identity. They are not preparations with exact quantities: recados are living entities that evolve according to the seasoning of the food.

If you’ve ever wondered what makes black stuffing so dark, the answer is recado, which is made with chili ashes and spices.

The protagonist is the so-called “from the country”, known in the rest of Mexico as chile güero. The procedure is simple: it is roasted on the griddle along with other varieties such as tree and different spices.

The result will be a granular recado that, when hydrated, recovers the original flavors of the ingredients but with a spectacular smoky touch.

Prepare black stuffing with the recado

for the black errand

  • 50 dried Yucatecan chilies or cha’wa (country chili or paisita)
  • 1 liter of water
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 4 fat peppers
  • Four black peppers
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon cumin grains
  • 3 roasted garlic cloves
  • 1/2 roasted onion

For the chicken and but (a kind of meatball that is cooked in this stew)

  • 1 whole chicken
  • Water
  • 3 fat peppers
  • 3 black peppers
  • Charcoal for embers
  • 400 grams of ground pork
  • Salt
  • 2 tomatoes roasted and chopped
  • 1/2 onion roasted and chopped
  • 1 chili x’catik without veins or seeds finely chopped
  • 10 epazote leaves
  • 100 grams of diluted corn dough
  • Chicken cooking broth


For the black message:

  1. Heat a comal or frying pan and place the chiles. With the help of a match or a lighter, set them on fire until they are completely incinerated.

2. Turn off the heat, and add them to the salted water. Rest for 24 hours or at least one night to reduce the bitter and ashy sensation.

3. The next day, drain and grind with the rest of the ingredients to form a smooth, homogeneous paste. Reserve.

For the chicken and but

  1. Cook the chicken in abundant water with the peppers. Remove the chicken and reserve the cooking liquid.

2. On the drained chicken, spread a little of the black recado and place on the hot coals or on a surface to brown. Return to the cooking broth once golden.

3. Mix the meat with salt, tomato, onion and chili. Make balls in the form of meatballs and reserve cold.

4. In the broth where the chicken is, cook the beef balls. Add epazote to flavor and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.

5. Add the diluted and strained dough to thicken slightly. Cook for 10 more minutes over low heat to thicken and incorporate all the flavors.

6. To serve, remove a piece of chicken, place a meatball or but, and serve the black filling on top of the ingredients.

7. Accompany with freshly made tortillas and chopped habanero peppers.