How to make Belizean Salbutes

Belizean Salbutes

Salbutes are a corn-based meztizo cuisine and an ABSOLUTE treat. Belizean salbutes are found at any local street vendor or deli around the country. They 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! See our Belizean salbutes recipe below:

 In this blog post, find our recipe on how to make delicious Belizean salbutes at home!

What are typical Belizean Street Foods?

It often seems like many Belizean (and Latin American in general) dishes are some variation of a corn 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 main feature of the garnache, is that they must fry the corn tortillas until they are crunchy. The topping ingredients for garnaches include beans, cheese, and sometimes a sprinkle of onions or cabbage.

Next, there are panades (empanades), 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 come with pepper salsa, cabbage, onions, and cilantro to give it that perfect finish. It is one of the most loved appetizers/snacks in the country.

Then, there is the salbutes, which happen to be one of our favorites. You have a thick masa disc with flavorful shredded chicken, paired with a little bit of tomato, onion, and jalapeno/habanero. 

Belizean Salbutes Recipe Ingredients

  • 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

*The key ingredient, Red (or black) recado is featured 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 food- Drift Inn Belize

Belizean Salbutes Recipe Instructions

  • First, in a mixing tub, add 1.5 cup of Maseca OR 1 pound 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 to give the masa a deeper orange color 
  • Next, 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.
  • 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.
  • Separately, season the chicken breasts with a pinch of salt, a pinch of black pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and red recado. Add the chicken to boiling water and cook until done. When the chicken breast is finished, move it to a bowl and shred it with two forks (or however you prefer).
  • Next, chop up your toppings. Slice your tomato and onions, chopped the lettuce and add some lime to it. If you prefer spicy Belizean salbutes, add some sliced habanero.
  • Finally, build your salbutes by first add the shredded chicken to the tortilla, then add a sprinkle of shredded lettuce, and top with a little 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 satisfies your cravings. It can be difficult to remember the name of a dish you tried while traveling, but when you have the chance to make it yourself, it can transport you back to that first moment you tried it. Use this recipe to reminiscence your last trip to Belize.

Visiting Belize? Stay with Drift Inn

Are you ready for an adventure in Belize? Look no further than Drift Inn. Our comfortable and affordable accommodations provide all the necessities for your trip, including premium mattresses, private bathrooms, A/C, hot water, and WIFI. Plus, our convenient location on the island or in Cayo puts you just steps away from the beach and easy access to all major tour sites.

But we don’t just offer a place to rest your head. Drift Inn is a community of travelers who live to explore and make new connections. Our staff can organize tours and excursions, from trips to the Blue Hole to golf cart or car rental. And with opportunities to meet other guests at the bar, participating in tours, and gathering for live music, you’ll never be short of company. So, book your stay with Drift Inn and start planning your Belizean dream adventure today.

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