Indulge in the Rich Flavours of Recado with these Belizean Soups

Belize is renowned for its diverse culinary landscape, boasting a variety of culturally curated soups. A primary element that contributes to the distinctive flavors of several of these soups is recado, which has three varieties: black, white, and red. Each recado has its unique blend of ingredients and is used to create the flavorful bases for many traditional Belizean soups.

Relleno Negro

Relleno Negro is a traditional Yucatec Maya soup with a rich, dark broth made from a paste called “black recado.” The highlight of the soup is the chicken stuffed with a ground pork mixture of raw eggs, boiled egg whites (mashed), and black recado. The black colour of the soup comes from the burnt corn tortillas and peppers, creating its spicy taste. Some may call this dish “black dinna.” However, that differs from relleno negro as it does not have the pork-stuffed chicken. A bowl of relleno negro with a side of tortillas will have your mouth watering for more!

Relleno Negro_Indulge in the Rich Flavours of Recado with these Belizean Soups

Relleno Blanco

Unlike black and red recado, white recado is a liquid blend of cumin, cloves, cinnamon, all-spice, onions, and water. Relleno Blanco, or White Relleno, is another traditional Yucatec Maya soup made with white recado. It is mainly eaten during the Christmas Season or New Year’s Day because it takes a long time and is costly to prepare. A pork stuffing is made with white wine, raisins, olives, capers, and boiled egg whites to stuff in the local chicken and boiled as a soup. Why does both relleno negro and relleno blanco call for a local chicken? The skin keeps the chicken sewn together to keep the stuffing in place. The delicate flavours of Relleno Blanco showcase the versatility of soups in Belize. 

Relleno blanco_Indulge in the Rich Flavours of Recado with these Belizean Soups


Chak, meaning red in Maya, signifies the use of red recado to make this one-of-a-kind soup. A mixture of annatto, oregano, cumin, clove, cinnamon, black pepper, all-spice, garlic, and salt creates the red recado paste. Found commonly in the northern coastal villages and the northern islands off Belize as a fisherman’s meal, Chechack is a fish soup with a broth made from flour, water, and red recado. Other ingredients, such as black pepper, salt, onions, and garlic, are mixed into the broth. The fish of choice for the soup is snapper, which can be placed directly in the soup to be boiled or fried. Some add coconut milk or coconut oil for additional flavour to the soup. It is not a dish that would be on restaurant menus; nonetheless, you can cook CheChack in your home kitchen for some unique Belizean flavours!

The use of recado in soups in Belize is a testament to the country’s rich culture and culinary creativity, producing tasty and exciting flavours! Each type of recado brings its unique character to the table, making Belizean soups a true delight for anyone looking to experience the authentic taste of the jewel. Even though you may want to attempt cooking these delicacies, there’s no better experience than experiencing them first-hand on a culinary journey in Belize!