Recently I came across a name of a dip that was new to me. It’s called Sikil Pak, and it’s Mexican – more specifically, from the Yucatán. The dip has no beans in it. Instead, the base is ground pepitas, or pumpkin seeds.
The name doesn’t sound typically Mexican because the origin is Mayan. That civilization lived primarily on the Yucatán peninsula. Sikil and Pak actually translate to pumpkin seeds and tomatoes.
Although habanero chile peppers are listed in this recipe I found from Bon Appetit, I could only find ghost peppers at my store. I used two small chocolate-colored peppers and one red.
On YouTube, I discovered a slightly different version of Sikil pak made by chef Rick Bayless, a top expert of Mexican cuisine. He suggests a few shortcuts in his video, and also uses orange and lime juices. There’s most likely not only one recipe for sikil pak, but what I made was so good, I’ll never alter it!
1 cup pepitas
1 medium onion, cut in 1” pieces
2 habaneros, halved and de-seeded
1 pound tomatoes, quartered and squeezed slightly to remove seeds
3 garlic cloves, peeled
Sea salt, to taste
2 ounces extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Reserved 2 tablespoons pepitas
Chips, for serving
Preheat the oven to a high roast setting. I like 375 degrees F convection.
Meanwhile, toast the pepitas in a skillet until golden brown. Let cool. Set aside 2 tablespoons for garnish.
Place the onion, habaneros, tomatoes and garlic to a baking dish and dry roast until somewhat charred.
Using a food processor, process the pepitas until almost smooth, then add the vegetables, salt, and the olive oil. Taste for salt.
Before serving, stir in the chopped cilantro.
Top with more cilantro leaves, and the 2 tablespoon pepitas.
Serve with chips.