We stayed at the beautiful Excellence Playa Mujeres which is north of Cancun city. While our girls were busy keeping Fuji Nana and Fuji Papa on their toes, we were busy drinking some of these,
enjoying the warm water of the Carribean Sea and the beautiful beach,
and enjoying the fun wildlife.
One of the days we took a trip out into the Yucatán peninsula. We went to the Cenote Ik Kil, or the “Sacred Blue Cenote.” A cenote is a naturally formed water-filled sinkhole. This particular cenote is perfectly round, 196 feet wide and about 130 feet deep. The water is about 82 feet from the surface, which you reach by walking down a large stone stairway along the outer edge. It was beautiful, with tree roots hanging down from the walls and edges of the sinkhole and beautiful clear blue water.
We then spent the rest of the day exploring the ruins of Chichen Itza in the Yucatan jungle, once the political and economic center of Mayan civilization, and now one of the new seven wonders of the world.
Two of our other days were spent scuba diving.
We did a shallow 30-foot reef dive on one day, and then an 80-foot shipwreck dive and a 50-foot reef dive on another day.
The water was very choppy on the 2nd day of diving and a bunch of people got sea sick. It’s amazing how calm the ocean is though, once you get below the surface! The sea life was stunning and we enjoyed seeing lots of coral, angelfish, barracuda, a huge moray eel, and a variety of other things.
We also did a bunch of activities at our resort, such as enjoying a circus show, going on a bike ride, and going on a tour of the resort kitchens.
The food at the resort was quite good, though some things were better than others. What I did love was the abundant use of habanero peppers in many of the dishes, a pepper that is believed to have originated in the Yucatán Peninsula. I especially loved some grilled grouper served with a simple habanero sauce made from habanero peppers and lime juice that I ate for dinner one night, and sushi served with habanero soy sauce that was offered at lunch.
Since coming home I’ve been going through habanero withdrawals and decided to whip up my own version of the habanero soy sauce to go with some sushi. It is very quick and easy to make. I suggest wearing gloves when preparing the habaneros, as the oils from the peppers will stay on your hands for a long time afterwards and will burn, especially if you happen to touch your face!
For very spicy soy sauce, use an entire pepper. For medium spicy, use half of a pepper and for mild, use a couple of slices to 1/4 of the pepper. You can always start with a few slices and add more if it’s not spicy enough!
All you have to do is lightly crush the slices of habanero pepper with the back of a spoon so that they release their juices and frangrance.
Then you pour in some soy sauce and freshly squeezed lime juice, let it sit for about 5 minutes to let all of the flavors mingle and develop, and then strain out the slices of pepper and serve the sauce with sushi!
The citrusy heat of the habanero blends nicely with the tang of the lime juice and is a delicious Mayan compliment to the sushi.
Habanero Soy Sauce
Makes about 1/2 cup
1 habanero pepper
1/2 cup soy sauce
freshly squeezed lime juice, 1/2 lime
1. Cut open the habanero pepper and scrape out the seeds and membrane, being careful not to get the juices of the pepper on your skin. Slice the pepper into thin slices. For very spicy soy sauce, use the entire pepper. For medium spicy, use half of the pepper. For mild, use a couple of slices to 1/4 of the pepper.
2. Place the pepper slices in a bowl and lightly crush them with the back of a spoon to release the juices. Pour the soy sauce and lime juice over the slices and stir everything together with a spoon. Let the sauce sit for about 5 minutes.
3. Strain out the slices of pepper and serve as a dipping sauce for sushi.