Guatemalan Kak’ik Recipe: The Mayan Secret to Perfect Turkey Stew


Guatemalan Kak’ik Recipe is a traditional Mayan turkey stew that has been passed down through generations in Guatemala. Rich in flavor and steeped in history, this dish is a culinary gem that showcases the complexity and depth of Guatemalan cuisine. In this guide, we’ll unravel the Mayan secrets behind making the perfect Kak’ik.


Kak’ik is a symphony of flavors, and each ingredient plays a crucial role in creating its unique taste profile.

For the Turkey:

  • 1 whole turkey, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste

For the Broth:

  • 8 cups water
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced

For the Spice Mix:

  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon achiote (annatto)


  • Fresh cilantro for garnish
  • Lime wedges for serving


Creating Kak’ik is a labor of love, but the end result is a stew that is both comforting and exotic, a true representation of Guatemala’s rich culinary heritage.

Prepare the Turkey:

  1. Season the turkey pieces with salt and brown them in vegetable oil in a large pot.
  2. Remove the turkey and set aside.

Prepare the Broth:

  1. In the same pot, add water, onion, garlic, tomatoes, and bell pepper.
  2. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes.

Add the Spices:

  1. Add the cumin, coriander, paprika, and achiote to the broth.
  2. Return the turkey pieces to the pot and simmer until tender, about 1-2 hours.


  1. Ladle the stew into bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro.
  2. Serve with lime wedges on the side for added zest.

FAQs: Common Questions About Making Kak’ik

Kak’ik is a dish that often raises questions, given its unique blend of ingredients and cultural significance. Here are some FAQs to guide you.

Can I use chicken instead of turkey?

While turkey is traditional, chicken can be used as a substitute for a lighter version of Kak’ik.

What if I can’t find achiote?

You can use turmeric as a substitute, although the flavor will be slightly different.

How long does Kak’ik keep?

Stored properly in the refrigerator, Kak’ik can last up to 3 days.

Can I freeze Kak’ik?

Yes, Kak’ik freezes well and can be stored for up to 2 months.

Is Kak’ik gluten-free?

As long as no thickeners containing gluten are used, Kak’ik is naturally gluten-free.


Kak’ik is not just a dish; it’s a journey through the rich tapestry of Mayan and Guatemalan culinary traditions. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a cooking enthusiast, this Kak’ik recipe offers a unique opportunity to explore a dish that has stood the test of time.

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