The Proven Platter – Guatemala, February 2023

Guatemalan cuisine is a mix of culinary traditions of the aborginal population that inhabited the land and of those of her later colonizers. This mix of Mayan and Spanish culinary traditions is reflective of cuisince of another country: Mexico. There are thus dishes with similar sounding names but different interpretations (like the enchilidas) as well as dishes with different names in the two cultures but that have a similar culinary composition. The Atolillo Guatemalteco or Guatemalan Atolillo is very similar to the Mexican Atole, a sweet drink that is consumed warm. While Mexican Atole is made with masa harina, the Atolillo Guatemalteco is made with rice milk. Requiring just a handful of ingredients that most would have in the pantry, the drink comes together very quickly (does require overnight soaking of the rice). A comforting drink with the warmth of cinnamon and vanilla and the taste of arroz con leche, the Atolillo Guatemalteco is perfect for a cold evening in Feburary.

Atolillo Guatemalteco
Serves: 2

Long grain rice – ¼ cup
Water, to soak – 1 cup
Milk of choice – 2 cups, divided
Cinnamon stick – 1 (can substitute with ¼ tsp ground cinnamon)
Sugar – 2 tbsp
Vanilla – ¼ tsp

Cheese cloth

1. Rinse the rice until the water runs clear.
2. Soak the ¼ cup rice in a cup of water overnight.
3. Discard the water and add the rice to a blender. Add 1 cup of milk of your choice.
4. Blend until smooth.
5. Using a cheese cloth strain the blended mixture into the pot
6. Add the other cup of milk to the pot
7. Add cinnamon stick (or ground cinnamon) and sugar and simmer on low while stirring, for about 10 minutes
8. Add vanilla extract
9. Serve warm
10. Can be prepared ahead and warmed before serving

Recipe and photo credit: Vinola V. Munyon