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Chef Eliodoro Xicum Cobá

Courtesy of Chef Eliodoro Xicum Cobá

Chanchamito de La Villa

Chef Eliodoro Xicum Cobá is the Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award winner for the Latin America Region.

09 November, 2020
Average: 2.8 (11 votes)

serves for


total time

0 HR 30 MIN


For the empanada and filling
Corn dough
240 g
50 g
X´top´ (variety of pumpkin)
50 g
120 g
Chile Xcat ic
120 g
100 ml
500 ml
For the sauce
Dutch cheese
150 g
150 g
100 ml
10 g
40 g
100 ml
60 g
Black pepper
30 g

Elio Xicum Cobá, from Yucatán, Mexico, shares his dish of Yucatecan empanada, or 'Chan Cham', which tells the story of the Mayan people and the Yucatecan Maya kitchen. “I am a chef who belongs to an indigenous community, full of traditions, customs, but above all pride in showing a little piece of my land, Yucatán,” he explains.

The dish serves as a reminder of home every time the chef from restaurant La Villa in Tekit, leaves his land. “They are the flavours that I always have in mind and they make me yearn to return to try. They are ingredients from each region of my state."

Cobá was inspired to create the dish after having returned home from the market with some pumpkins one day, to find his mother cooking empanadas in the kitchen. “Every time I cook it, it reminds me that you never have to give up. It reminds me of those moms who will always look for some way to bring something to eat at home,” he says.

The dish is traditionally cooked on a comal, an iron or clay disk that is placed over fire, and the corn dough is mixed with one of the most representative ingredients of Yucatecan cuisine - the chaya. However, all the local ingredients Cobá uses in this recipe can be substituted for more readily available ingredients, depending on where you live.

According to the chef, the dish “ tastes like a small town in Mexico”. Discover how to make it below.






Step 01

empanada dough

Courtesy of Chef Eliodoro Xicum Cobá

Empanada dough

Blend the chaya with the water and add to the dough to mix, add salt to taste, and reserve.

Chef tips: Chaya is a leaf used in the Yucatan peninsula to make tamales or stews, it can be substituted for spinach.

'Chile Xcat ic' is representative of the cuisine of the South of Mexico, and is not so spicy. It can be substituted with fresh jalapeño chillies, but in less quantity.

Step 02


Courtesy of Chef Eliodoro Xicum Cobá


In a pot, place the pumpkin cut in half, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove and crush.

Chef's tips: 'X´top' Pumpkin is a variety of pumpkin characteristic of Yucatecan Maya Gastronomy, and can be substituted with zucchini.

Step 03

garlic onion

Courtesy of Chef Eliodoro Xicum Cobá

Chop half of the garlic, the onion, the chilli and fry in oil, add the Longaniza and cook for 5 minutes. Add the squashed pumpkin and stir for another 5 minutes, season and reserve.

Step 04


Courtesy of Chef Eliodoro Xicum Cobá

Assembly of the empanadas

Make balls of dough of approximately 60 g.

With the help of a steamroller, make tortillas and put two tablespoons of the filling in each, close and cook on a hot comal or frying pan for 3 minutes on each side.

Step 05

cooking bananas

Courtesy of Chef Eliodoro Xicum Cobá

Place the plantain directly on the fire, together with the peels, until obtaining a black crust, peeled.

Grate the cheese.

Sauté the other half of the garlic and the onion, add the peeled roasted banana, and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the cream, pass through the blender then pass through a strainer. Return to the fire and, without boiling, add the ball cheese (reserve 20 gr of cheese), remove from the heat.

Step 06

final dish of Eliodoro Xicum Cobá

Courtesy of Chef Eliodoro Xicum Cobá

For decoration

Place the pumpkin flower on the comal over a very low heat for approximately 40 minutes while turning every 5 minutes.


A base of banana and cheese sauce is placed on one side of the chancham and decorated with pumpkin flower and cheese.

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