Guatemalan Cuisine: Frijoles colorados

Frijoles colorados

Frijoles colorados or red beans is the second best dish after black beans, of course, in the Guatemalan kitchen. Here you have frijoles colorados with pork ribs, rice, tortillas, fresh-fruit drink. This is a typical lunch for many Guatemalans with the variation on the main dish which in this case is red beans. Here is the recipe for frijoles colorados.

Economy side note: let me tell you, this lunch which includes fresh fruit, rice, read beans with meat, three tortillas and a drink rings Q18 (US$2.35) at the cashier.

Dietary and historical side note: Many of the dishes of the Guatemalan cuisine are based on the milpa crops. The term milpa refers normally to a maize field, but it is so much more. In a milpa field there a dozen crops at once: maize, avocados, multiple kinds of squash, chiles (hot pepper chilli), beans, tomatoes, tomatillos, camotes (sweet potatoes), jicama (a tuber also known as sengkwang, yam bean, singkamas, Mexican turnip), amaranth (also called pigweeds) and mucuma (a tropical legume). “Milpa crops are nutritionally and environmentally complementary.” said Charles C. Mann in his book 1491. H. Garrison Wilkes, a maize researcher at University of Massachusetts in Boston is quoted in the same book, “The milpa is one of the most successful human inventions ever created.”

To sum it up, it is impossible to think the Guatemalan, Mexican and Mesoamerican diet without maize. From the Popul Vuh (Popol Wuj in modern spelling), the Mayan equivalent of the Bible, which states that humans were literally created from maize, to Miguel Ángel Asturias‘ novel Hombres de maí­z (Men of Maize) which is one of the best novels to understand Mesoamerica and its people.


  • 1491, New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann

© 2006 – 2017, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • Rudy, thanks for yesterday’s and today’s photos with recipes. Never had good luck with beans; always too hard, even with pressure cooker (that scares me a bit!), but I’ll try again. Are you a gourmet cook as well as photographer??

  • Rudy, you’re killing me!! I’m so hungry now! Yo prefiero y yo quiero frijoles colorados!

  • Chapín Ausente

    No seas mala onda Rudy, mirá que tengo varios años sin comer frijoles colorados como los de esa foto. Y las tortillitas me las imagino recién saliditas del comal así todas infladitas. Púchica !

  • Kate: You’re welcomed. I am not a cook, yet I can cook some simple stuff like ceviche, and Asian foods which are my favorites. The best meal that I can prepare is Tom Yum Kung. Come back tomorrow for more food photos with recipes.

    MarieMcc: I like frijoles colorados too. They’re delicious.

    Chapín ausente: Estimado señor mio, creo que usté está en la categoría de masoquistas guatemaltecos… mañana hay otro platillo que le hará llorar por la patria perdida. 😉

  • This is a great photo, I love the complementary colors. Such an inviting table with delicious-looking food.

  • Barbaro sos Rudy…dale que solo me quedan dias antes de saciar mis deseos por la comida chapina…te veo en la Antigua para una de las fotos. 🙂

  • Meg

    Yum Yum. I found the story behind the terminology fascinating. It’s like in Japanese, the word for “cooked rice” also means “meals” or “food”. I love corn, but a few years ago all NZ corn seeds (apparently all seed corns come from US) were contaminated by GM seeds and I didn’t eat corn for 4 years, but I can’t help it – I love it – and GM or not, I’m eating it again.

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