Salbutes are a corn-based cuisine by meztizos, a tasty on-the-go dish. Belizean salbutes is found in any local street vendor or deli. Salbutes are a perfect choice for lunch, dinner, or a late night snack before going out! So if you had them when you were in Belize and miss them, now’s the time to make them for yourself!
In this blog post, find our recipe on how to make delicious Belizean salbutes at home!
- fresh corn masa/maseca (1 lb)
- 1 1-inch cube red recado*
- Stewed boneless chicken breast (1 lb)
- 1 head lettuce, chopped
- Tomato (1 lb)
- Onions (1 lb)
- Limes (2-3)
- Habanero or jalapeno peppers
- Salt, pepper, & cooking oil
*Red (or black) recado is a key ingredient in several Belizean dishes due to the RICH flavor it adds when stewing meat. Find it in markets in the United States as anchiote paste in Mexican/Latin American markets. There are also recipes for making recado from anchiote seeds from scratch if you cannot find paste already prepared.
Belizean Street Foods
It often seems like many Belizean (and Latin American in general) dishes are some variation of a corn based tortilla with a sprinkle of meat, vegetables, and perhaps cheese. If you’re on Ambergris Caye – here’s some great places to eat local food.
First, you have the garnaches with a hard, flat corn disk, a smear of beans, and a sprinkle of dutch cheese. The corn tortillas get fried to the point of being crunchy. The topping ingredients for garnaches include beans, cheese, and sometimes a sprinkle of onions or cabbage, making it easier to make than salbutes.
Next, there are panades, which can be described as a crispy pocket of goodness made from deep-fried corn tortillas. They are typically stuffed with fish, beans, or chicken. Panades usually gets served with pepper salsa, cabbage, onions, and cilantro to give it that perfect finishing. It is one of the most loved appetizers in the country, and outside Belize, the delicacy is known as an empanada.
Then the salbutes, which happen to be one of our favorites. Let’s go ahead and get started!
- 1: In a mixing tub, add 1 cup and a half of Maseca or 1lbs of corn masa. Put in a half cup of water and blend the ingredients until it forms a dough. If the dough is too stiff, add more water until it stretches into tortillas. Then, add a little of recado do give that the masa a color
- 2: Make dough into golf size balls. Cut a small zip lock in half and place a golf ball on the plastic. Press down on the ball and pat it in a circular motion until you make a circle the size of your palm or you could use a tortilla press to flatten them.
- 3: Then fry in about two inches of hot oil. Fry until golden (do not let it get too crispy & tough), then drain on paper towels.
- 4: Season chicken breasts with a pinch of salt, a pinch of black pepper, and 1 teaspoon garlic powder and red recado. Boil the chicken. When the chicken breast is finished, shred it by hand or by machine, depending on your choice.
- 5: Add your toppings. Slice your tomato and onions, chopped the lettuce and add some lime to it. If you prefer so spicy salbutes add some slice habanero.
- 6: build your salbutes first add the shredded chicken to the tortilla second add lettuce and last your onion and tomato
Below see a photo of Salbutes prepared at Blue Bayou at Secret Beach on Ambergris Caye.
Enjoy your Belizean Salbutes!
We hope this recipe hits the spot. I know what it is like to be craving something you tried once abroad. Just remembering the name of a dish is a challenge at times. But, once you have the opportunity to make it for yourself and whisk yourself back to your dream vacation in Belize!
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