Sikil Pac recipe from Sabores Yucatecos

Taste sikil pac once and you will be addicted. If only all Mexican restaurants served this in addition to salsa with tortilla chips. Photo: Gilberto Cetina and Katherine Diaz

LOS ANGELES, January 2012—Sikil Pac, roasted tomatoes and ground pumpkin seed dip, is a wonderful Mexican salsa.  It is also completely different from most salsas and not easy to find in restaurants other than Chichén Itzá in Los Angeles.

Chef Gilberto Cetina shares the recipe in his book, Sabores Yucatecos. Once you gather the ingredients , the recipe is not difficult.

Sikil Pac

(Makes 1 1/2 cups)

 3/4 cup pepitas de calabaza (recipe follows)

3/4 cup chiltomate (recipe follows)

1 chile habanero, roasted and chopped (optional)

1/4 bunch cilantro, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped (or scallions or green onions)

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste


In a bowl, mix ingredients and adjust salt. Serve with tortilla chips.


Pepitas de calabaza toastadas sin cáscara, ground toasted hulled pumpkin seeds

(Makes about 1 pound)

1 pound hulled pumpkin seeds

  1. Heat a comal (griddle or skillet) over medium heat. Spread pumpkin seeds evenly, in one layer, over the bottom. (You may have to do it in batches.)
  2. Toast the seeds, flipping occasionally with a spatula. The seeds should be golden and crispy and crunchy to the taste.
  3. Remove from heat and cool.
  4. Place the seeds in a food processor and pulse to a fine grind.

The seeds will keep up to 3 months refrigerated in a tight container.


Chiltomate, roasted tomato sauce

(Makes 2 cups)

10 medium plum tomatoes

1 chile habanero, roasted (optional)

3-4 sprigs cilantro, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. Roast the tomatoes and chile on a comal (griddle or skillet) over low to medium heat until they are charred on the outside and soft to the touch. If the heat is too high, the tomatoes will not cook through. Let cool.
  2. Add the tomatoes and chile to a food processor. Pulse into small chunks.
  3. In a bowl, toss the chopped cilantro and salt with the chunky tomatoes and chile.


Recipes and photos from Sabores Yucatecos: A Culinary Tour of the Yucatán (WPR Books: Comida, 2012), by Chef Gilberto Cetina, Katharine A. Diaz and Gilberto Cetina, Jr.

Linda Mensinga was editor of Culinary Trends for 15 years, now a contributing writer to Great-taste Magazine. If you have a great restaurant, recipe or food you’d like to share please send an email.  You can reach her at


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Linda Mensinga

Linda Mensinga was editor of Culinary Trends for 15 years, now a contributing writer. Researching restaurants and hotels, she interviews the best and brightest chefs, not necessarily the most famous, to learn their secrets and recipes. Their talent and dedication never cease to inspire her. 

Mrs. Mensinga is happily food obsessed and fortunate enough to be married to a chef. 

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