Tikin Xik, Tikinchick or Tiquenchick, pronounced “teekeen sheek” were in mayan Tikin means “Dry thing” and Xiik Ala “Fish Fin” could be translated as “Dry Fish” and is one of Isla Mujeres best known fish recipes, it typically involves a medium size to large fish, that is divided in halve by the dorsal spine, spanned on a hinged grill using a special adobo paste of achiote, lemon, onion, tomato, garlic, oil and beer and the wrapped up in a banana leave. Sounds delicious right?, well down below we will explain you exactly how the process to cock a tasty Tiken Xic Style Fish goes!.
Preparation is made with fish smeared with achiote paste and spices, roasted on the embers. By tradition it is made with grouper, red snapper, pompano or anchovy whole and with skin. The fish are butterflyed open, the bones removed, and brushed with a smooth, ground mixture that typically includes achiote seeds, black pepper, cumin, garlic, bay leaf, salt, oregano, dried chili, and sour orange juice. The fish is left to rest for several hours and is grilled on both sides.
One variety consists of marinating the fish in a similar way to that described, wrapped in banana leaves; sometimes inside the wrap include slices of tomato, onion, sweet chili or xcatik and epazote; it is also roasted on the coals. In this version, the fish is cooked in its juice. In the cities it is customary to bake it, since not all families have a space to roast the fish. Some accompany it at the table with pickled onions, xnipec sauce, tamulada chili habanero sauce and to complete the meal white rice, strained beans and corn tortillas. In the town of Chuburná, Yucatán, the achiote paste is melted in water or orange juice or oil and spread on the meat; later it is cooked. In Dzilam Bravo, Yucatán, tomato, white onion, xcatik chile and achiote are mixed; everything is cooked like a sauce, the mixture is spread on the fish and then grilled. In this town the most prized fish are silverside and mullet, because they are meats with a smooth texture like butter. Tourists are served grouper or red snapper, as they are better known fish.
To prepare the Tikin-Xic you will need: 1 grouper of three kilos, open in half, without the spine, 200 grams of red recado (or commercial achiote paste), 1 cup of sour orange juice or half of sweet orange juice and half vinegar or lemon juice, 3 xcatic chiles (güeros) cut lengthwise, 2 green or red bell peppers cut into slices, 3 medium tomatoes sliced, 2 red onions sliced, 1 tablespoon oregano leaves, 1 beer, ¼ cup of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, 1 large banana leaf passed through the flame so that it withers.
Thoroughly wash the fish and dry with absorbent paper, season with salt and pepper. Dissolve the red recado with the sour orange juice and spread the fish very well, let it rest for three hours. It is placed on the banana leaf and the chili strips, the green peppers, the tomato, the red onion, the oregano are arranged on top, bathed with the beer and the olive oil and seasoned, wrapped in the banana leaf and grilled over charcoal until the meat is tender and flakes easily. It can also be done in the oven, in which case the fish wrapped in the banana leaf is placed on a baking sheet and baked at 175ºC for 45 minutes or until cooked, bathing it from time to time with its juices.
If it is done over the coals, once it is ready, it is placed on an oven tray lined with fresh banana leaves and from there the diners are served. If the Tikin-xic is baked, it can be placed on a large clay plate lined with fresh banana leaves, it can also be served in cubes, accompanied by a good xni pec sauce.