Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Belize's Largest Lizard - The Iguana

Belizean Iguana

Iguanas are the largest lizard in Belize and can grow up to 10 feet including tail.  They all have the characteristic round cheek scale and smooth tail.  The young iguanas are bright green, they become duller colors as they age.  The females may be a dark gray and the males olive (with orangish to red heads in breeding season).  Iguanas are a delicacy with the locals who call it Bamboo Chicken (they say it taste like chicken).

We saw them all around the island of Ambergris Caye

IGUANA STEW - Try it, you might like it. 
1 iguana
2 onions
1 tsp salt
1/2 lb carrots
1 tsp cilantro
1 small ball recardo
Vinegar, lime
1 sweet pepper
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 lb cabbage
2 cloves garlic
1/4 lb tomato
coconut oil
1.  Skin and clean the iguana.  Wash thoroughly in vinegar and lime.
2.  Rub in the seasonings - salt, black pepper, recardo, onions, garlic, cilantro and sweet pepper.  Let it sit for about 20 minutes.
3.  Place enough coconut oil in a pan to cover the bottom and heat up.  When hot, put in the iguana.  Keep turning him or her, adding a little water for about 30 minutes.
4.  Add in cut up carrots, cabbage and tomato.  Cook for another 30 minutes.
5.  Enjoy.

Recipe for Bamboo Chicken - You gotta keychit first. (A funny Story)

Me: so how do you catch the Iguana?
Bushman: with yur hand you keychit. You got to be ready dough wid de machet in de rih han kaychim wid de lef han. You see mi machet? I shawp on de tip and on de bottom. Chop he hed offn wid the bottom ah de machet.
Me: Oooo Keeeyyy (he shows me his 30" machette is sharp at the tip and by the handle only)
Bushman: Den you stick de nife in he belly just like wan fish yew gut he and peel de skeen offa heen.
Me: Oooo Keeeyyy
Bushman: afta you skin he, mek I tell yu sonting, you mek suuur you gat wan greeeen guana, not like wat you hav pon de Caye, dems noh good eatin, wha big greeeen guana what we like.
Me: how do you take the skin off?
Busman: you do eet just like you do wan fish, just skin it. Den you gat to hang it by de tail from de tree to let all the slime come out.
Me: Slime?
Bushman: yes gial, you cyan eet de guana wid de slime.
Me: What does the slime look like?
Bushman: eet look like slime. Gial, yew see de slime yew noh wantta eet de guana, yew tew delikate like dem Merikan laydeez.
Me: What color is the slime?
Bushman: gial, slime IS slime me no noh wha kala is de slime.
Me: How long do you hang the iguana in the tree by its tail?
Bushman: kupla hours. Den you gat to lime it real good.
Me: how do you do that?
Bushman: You gat to squeeze de lime all over it and rub he wid de lime and let he soak for a coupla hours.
Me: O.K.
Bushman: den you ken bubbakew he.
Me: O.K. how do you cut the iguana up?
Bushman: whaaaaale, I brek he showda and chop off he feet and chop he on de elbow. Den I chop he belly in a couple peese, and chop he tayl.
Me: how do you barbeque him.
Bushman: Gial you just bubbakew he (I sense he's getting frustrated with having to explain everything to me.)
Me: what spices do you use when you barbeque?
Bushman: salt n peppa, gaaalik, tarrey yakki soy sawce, an peppa sawce.
Me: what does it taste like?
Bushman: chicken

Back to Living in Paradise: Recipe for Bamboo Chicken

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