Guatemalan Cuisine: 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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