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Recipes from Tulum

Tulum Inspired Food

Mexico is not just tamales, guacamole, or enchiladas. The regions within the country all have their own distinct cuisine. With Tulum’s beach vibes, It’s no surprise that seafood, including ceviche, are what’s on the menu. And if you’re not beach-bound and no matter where you live, you can bring recipes from Tulum home to you and your family.

villa bokeh ceviche

Shrimp Ceviche with Homemade Corn Tortillas

This is one of the simplest recipes from Tulum, that works for everyone looking to eat light and looking to indulge. Either way, shrimp ceviche and homemade corn tortillas are healthy. They are also a staple that you can keep in your fridge and eat all week.


1  pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 8-10 limes)
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4-5 lemons)
1 cup finely diced shallots
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

For Garnish

Avocado slices
Tortilla chips


Start by preparing the shrimp. Break out your steamer and in a pot of water, add salt, a half stick of butter, orange slices, lemon, onion and lime. This is your court bouillon for both the shrimp and the lobster in the salbutes recipe below. Bring the court bouillon to a boil and in the steamer compartment, add the shrimp. Steam for about 2-3 minutes until they turn pink and opaque, taking care not to overcook. Drain the cooked shrimp and place them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, drain them again. Cut the cooked shrimp into small bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl, combine the diced red onion, tomatoes, cucumber, chopped cilantro, chopped parsley, and jalapeño peppers.

Add the diced shrimp to the bowl with the other ingredients. Pour the freshly squeezed lime and lemon juice over the shrimp and vegetables. Make sure the shrimp and vegetables are fully submerged in the citrus juice. This acid will “cook” the shrimp, turning them opaque and firm over time. Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything together gently.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and the shrimp to fully “cook” in the citrus juice. You can leave it in the fridge for up to 2 hours. Before serving, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. You can add more salt, pepper, or lime juice according to your preferences. Serve the shrimp ceviche in individual bowls or glasses. You can garnish with avocado slices, extra cilantro, and serve with fresh corn tortillas.


Fresh Corn Tortillas

There is nothing like fresh corn tortillas, especially when made the traditional Mayan way. This may no be exclusively one of the recipes from Tulum, but they are a staple of Mexican cuisine.


2 cups masa harina
1 1/4 cups warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)


In a mixing bowl or optimally in a large stone molcajete, combine the masa harina and salt. Gradually add the warm water to the masa harina while stirring with a spoon or your hands. Mix until the dough comes together and is smooth, not too dry or too sticky. You may need to adjust the water or masa harina to achieve the right consistency.

Once the dough is formed, divide it into small golf-ball-sized portions and roll them into balls. You can stop at this point and start to cook the corn tortillas. Otherwise  you can go the traditional Mayan route and knead the dough with a stone pestle several times until you have a fine dough. This will create the best dough for the lightest corn tortilla.

Preheat a griddle or a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Place a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper on a tortilla press or a heavy flat-bottomed pan. Put one of the dough balls in the center and press it down to flatten it into a tortilla shape. Aim for a thickness of about 1/8 inch.

Carefully peel the flattened dough from the plastic wrap or parchment paper and transfer it to the hot griddle or skillet. Cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side, or until the tortilla puffs up slightly and develops brown spots. You don’t need to use oil for cooking the tortillas.

Remove the cooked tortilla from the griddle and place it in a clean kitchen towel to keep it warm and pliable. Repeat the process with the remaining dough balls. Serve the corn tortillas immediately while they are warm.

Queso Relleno

For when  you want a heartier meal, this is one of the recipes from Tulum that will stick to the bones. Queso Relleno is a traditional Mexican dish that features a stuffed cheese. You can go traditional and keep the pork, or you can make the rellenos vegetarian or even pescatarian.


For the Filling

1 lb ground pork or turkey
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1  cup diced tomato
1/2 cup diced green olives
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup capers
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Fleur du sel and pepper to taste

For the Cheese

1 large Edam or Gouda cheese wheel (about 2 lbs)
2 tablespoons achiote paste (annatto paste)

For the Sauce

3 large tomatoes, roasted and peeled
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup orange zest1/4 cup lime zest
Salt to taste


Start by preparing the filling. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the ground pork or turkey and cook until it starts to brown. Add the diced onion, minced garlic and diced tomato to the skillet. Cook until the vegetables are softened. Stir in the green olives, raisins, capers, and sliced almonds. Cook for a few more minutes until everything is well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.

Now, it’s time to prepare the cheese. Cut the top off the cheese wheel and carefully scoop out the inside, leaving about a 1/2-inch thick cheese shell. Mix the achiote paste with a little water to make a smooth paste. Rub the inside of the cheese shell with the achiote paste. Stuff the cheese shell with the prepared filling mixture. Place the stuffed cheese in a baking dish and bake in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

While the cheese is baking, prepare the sauce. In a blender, combine the roasted and peeled tomatoes, chicken broth, white vinegar, orange juice, lime juice, orange zest, lime zest, and salt. Blend until smooth. Pour the sauce over the baked stuffed cheese and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Serve the Queso Relleno hot with the corn tortillas from your ceviche recipe above.

Lobster Salbutes

Salbutes are a recipe from Tulum made with fried corn tortillas and various toppings. This is one of the recipes from Tulum that’s like street food, but of course we elevate it here Galavante-style. Here’s a basic recipe for making salbutes that in our version are topped with lobster. We also give you two options to present the lobster salbutes. The first is to cut the lobster tail into medallions. This of course is the prettiest rendition. The second is to chop the lobster and mix it in with your herbs, jalapeño and other spices. This version doesn’t look as pretty but we have to say tastes better.


2 cups masa harina (corn masa flour)
1 1/4 cups warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil for frying
Steamed lobster
Shredded lettuce
Sliced tomatoes
Thinly aliced red onions
Sliced avocado
Crumbled queso fresco
Salsa (optional)


First, prepare the masa dough by combining the masa harina and salt in a large mixing bowl,  Gradually add the warm water and knead the mixture until you have a smooth, slightly sticky dough. If it’s too dry, add a little more water; if it’s too wet, add a bit more masa harina. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for about 15-20 minutes.

Shape the salbutes by dividing the masa dough into golf ball-sized portions. Flatten each ball into a disk, about 4-5 inches in diameter, with your hands. You can use a tortilla press if you have one to make this step easier.

Next fry the salbutes by heating about 1 inch of vegetable oil in a deep skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot (around 350°F or 175°C), carefully place the masa disks into the oil, one at a time. Fry each salbute until it puffs up and turns golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Use a spatula to flip them. Remove the fried salbutes from the oil and drain them on paper towels to remove excess oil.

Once the salbutes are fried and cooled slightly, top them with your favorite toppings. You can start with a layer of shredded lettuce on each salbute and add sliced tomatoes, red onions, and avocado. Place a medallion of steamed lobster then sprinkle crumbled queso fresco on top. If you like some heat, add salsa or hot sauce to taste. Alternatively you can chop the lobster in with the tomatoes, onions and avocado which makes it extra flavorful.

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