Today I am sharing a traditional recipe from the State of Tabasco using “Chaya”, a popular ingredient in Tabasco cuisine. This post is a part of the project “Come Tabasco” (Eat Tabasco), a culinary movement started by a local group of entrepreneurs in the food industry in order to promote the regional products that form the unique Gastronomy of Tabasco. I am honored to be a part of this project by showcasing the richness that the State of Tabasco has to offer the world.
The leaves of the Chaya plant are consumed as a vegetable in some states of the Yucatan Peninsula. In Tabasco, it is cooked in the same way as kale, cabbage, or spinach; its flavor is similar to that of Swiss Chard. Since it has a certain amount of toxicity when raw, it is preferred to be consumed cooked. A way to avoid the toxic effect when preparing a salad or drink with Chaya is to add an acid agent like lime, lemon, pineapple, etc.
Chaya is a sturdy plant that can be continuously harvested, and grows very easily in Mexico; many people in the southern states grow it in their backyards and sell it at their local markets. Chaya is also a great source of calcium, magnesium, iron, proteins, and antioxidants, and people have been eating it for its many medicinal benefits since pre-Hispanic times.
- 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
- 2 Tablespoons of white onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup tomato, chopped
- 1/3 cup Chaya, cooked and chopped*
- 2 eggs**
- salt to taste
- Instructions to cook the Chaya are given bellow.
- I prefer pan scrambled eggs, but that is my choice, you can beat the eggs first in a bowl and then add them to the frying pan.
- I got my Chaya leaves online from “Carmen’s Garden”, the leaves arrived fresh and they last for several days. You can buy the leaves or a small cutting to have your own plant.
1. Wash Chaya leaves and place them in a pot with cold water over medium high heat. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. The chaya leaves will keep their bright green color. Remove from pot, drain and chop to cook.
2. Heat a medium-sized non-stick frying pan over low heat. Add the oil, once it is hot add the onion and cook for a couple of minutes.
3. Stir in the chopped tomato and cook for a minute and then add the chopped chaya leaves. Sauté for two more minutes.
4. Crack the eggs and add to the pan, stir and season with salt to taste. Cook until desire doneness.
Serve with beans, fried plantains or sliced avocado and warm corn tortillas.
To know more about the “Come Tabasco” project visit their Facebook page: “Come Tabasco”
If you have any questions about this recipe or how to use chaya, please let me know in the comments section.