What is Tikin Xic? Tikin Xic fish (Tikin Xiic') is a typical dish of Yucatecan cuisine cooked mainly in the coastal areas of the Yucatan Peninsula. Its name, coming from Yucatecan Mayan, means "dry fin". Its pronunciation is "teekeen sheek".
Usually, the Maya who inhabited the Yucatan peninsula prepared their food with corn, squash, legumes, and different types of chili peppers. The consumption of animals varied according to the area. For example, the communities closer to the sea consumed more fish, and those in the jungle consumed more deer meat and wild birds.
Mestizo cuisine - Mexico and Spain
With the arrival of the Spaniards to the Yucatan Peninsula, cheeses, meat from livestock, and spices such as cinnamon, anise, and garlic were introduced. This fusion brought typical dishes such as Cochinita Pibil and Frijol con Puerco (beans with pork).
History of Tikin Xic
Since the first place where this dish was cooked was in Isla Mujeres (which used to belong to Yucatan), both Yucatan and Quintana Roo claim Tikin Xic as a tradition of their territory. Sadly for Yucatan, Isla Mujeres is currently part of Quintana Roo.
Due to the simplicity of its preparation, some sources indicate that the recipe for Tikin Xic dates back to pre-Columbian times before the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexican territory.
Until now, the preparation of Tikin Xic has remained faithful to the original recipe and only varies in its presentation and accompaniment. This dish is famous on the coasts of Yucatan and Quintana Roo, and you will almost certainly find it on the menu of any seafood restaurant in the region. Locals eat Tikin Xic to enjoy a day at the beach with the family or at parties and special events.
Preparation of a traditional homemade Tikin Xic.
How to cook Tikin Xic?
The following is the traditional recipe of Tikin Xic from Isla Mujeres.
Ingredients: 1 grouper of 3 kilograms, xcatic chiles (chile güero), onion, lemons and salt. To prepare the achiote, you need red recado (red achiote), cumin, salt, and pepper.
How to prepare:
Cut the fish lengthwise along the top until it has a butterfly shape. Since the bone of the head is harder, it can be opened by tapping the knife. Remove the giblets and the backbone, then slash the meat so the ingredients impregnate it correctly.
Bathe all the meat with lemon juice and salt, and let it rest. In another container, prepare the achiote by mixing red recado, cumin, pepper, salt, and lemon juice. Then rub the fish meat with this achiote mixture, ensuring all get colored.
Place the prepared fish on a grill and distribute slices of tomato, onion, and chili on top. Place a second grill on top of everything and take it to the firewood. Ensure the embers are on low heat because the fish burns quickly.
When the fish begins to draw juices, and the back skin looks golden brown, turn it over. Leave the meat facing the fire for a few minutes. Once the fish is cooked, serve to taste.
Tikin Xic platting
Since the preparation of Tikin Xic is quite simple and requires few ingredients, many chefs also add a special touch when serving it.
Some places marinate the fish in sour orange juice and even beer. It's also common to see it topped with green or red peppers, lettuce, and wrapped in banana leaves. Some places even bake it instead of grilling it.
Tikin Xic has many ways to be served and enjoyed. Some add mayonnaise and hot sauces, some eat it with tortillas, and others accompany it with a delicious side dish such as guacamole or pico de gallo.
Where to eat Tikin Xic in Isla Mujeres and Cancun?
Playa Lancheros, the home of Tikin Xic
With more than 60 years of experience, Playa Lancheros is the pioneer restaurant in preparing Tikin Xic in Isla Mujeres. Its recipe and preparation method remain faithful to the original recipe of the island's boatmen. Enjoying a good time with the family in front of the beach is ideal.
IXI Beach Club
Located in front of the beautiful North Beach in Isla Mujeres, IXI Beach has a concept based on the Mayan Goddess of fertility, Ixchel, and its menu is no exception. Enjoy delicacies of Mayan and Mexican cuisine such as kibis, tacos, sopes, and the local favorite: Tikin Xic fish from Isla Mujeres.
Flamingos, located on the Cancun side of the road to Punta Sam, specializes in Caribbean cuisine and has a fish market where you can buy the catch of the day. Its menu is focused on seafood and fish, so the Tikin Xic is a must!
If you visit Cancun and Isla Mujeres, the Tikin Xic is the star dish you must try!