Authentic Belize Recipes

Like most people, when I travel I’m on the lookout for a couple of souvenirs.

Belize Map - Crooked Tree

On my trip to Belize, every store I went into had a paperback book Silly Bug and Bittle Recipes, published by the Crooked Tree Women’s Group. The cookbook included the history of this isolated village and had traditional recipes that included very unusual recipes…there were a few that called for tiger’s paw!

Photo credit: Tillett's

Photo Credits (map & woman cooking): Tillett’s Village Lodge

Tillett’s Village Lodge provides tours and accommodations in this historically isolated part of Belize:

The village’s recent history dates back to the mid 18th century, when Crooked Tree was discovered by European settlers, navigating up the Belize river and its tributaries in search of logwood used in dye production. Its name ‘Crooked Tree’ quite probably could be the result of the exageratedly crooked logwoods which lined the shorelines of the ‘island’ village. Being accessible only by boat until 1984, Crooked Tree’s population grew with limited invasion by ‘outsiders’…

I decided to buy the book for my favorite summer camp, Sherwood Forest Camp, whose mission is to break the cycle of poverty through camping experiences. Since the Crooked Tree residents all cooked over open hearths and the kids spend a lot of time cooking over campfires, I thought it was a perfect fit. The book even included instructions on how to make a traditional open hearth for cooking. I thought it would be fun for the campers and counselors to try some recipes from a far away corner of the world.

Before I turned the book over to the camp, I went through all of the recipes and added the ones I wanted to try to my account. So far I have only tried 2 of them, but I definitely plan to get around to the others.

Belize Fu-Fu:

Mashed plantains

I love plantains and I love mashed sweet potatoes, so I’m guessed I would like these mashed plaintains. The original recipe calls for just the plantain but I ended up adding some butter and salt. The recipe is sweet enough just as it stands, so taste it before you add any butter or salt to it to decide if you think you need it.


1 ripe plantain


  1. Plantains are ripe when the skin turns black and they are soft to the touch. Peel the plantain and cut in half. (I’ve found it easiest to peel by scoring the skin with a knife in several spots before attempting to peel).
  2. Put plantain in a pot covered with water and boil until soft.
  3. Drain and mash with potato masher.
  4. Optional (not part of the original recipe)…add butter or salt to taste.

Belize Baked Rice Pudding:

Belizean Baked Rice Pudding (JLong from

Photo Credit: J Long ( member)

I’ve tried a few rice pudding recipes before, but never had it baked. The recipe says you can serve it warm or after cooling. There have been 2 reviews on so far (I haven’t tried it yet). J Long, the reviewer who took the picture above, said it came out like a custard and she recommended stirring it halfway since the rice settles to the bottom. She also soaked some raisins to plump them up and added them to the mix before baking.

The other reviewer also liked it. She commented:

My can of sweetened condensed milk was 14 oz so instead of adding the half cup of milk and half of the can, I just used the entire can and no sugar. It was plenty sweet.


1 cup uncooked rice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
14 1/2 ounces evaporated milk
6 ounces sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs, whipped until fluffy
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract or 1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 nutmeg, grated
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 ounces raisins (optional)


  1. Cook rice in plain water until rice is very soft (do not add oil or salt to water when cooking).
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Drain hot rice and place in bowl. While stirring, add all other ingredients. Continue stirring until butter is melted and all ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Pour into pan that you have greased or sprayed with cooking spray. Rice mixture should be around 2 inches deep in the pan.
  5. Bake approximately 60 minutes, or until firm and knife inserted in center comes out clean. (NOTE: the recipe did not include cooking time. I based this time on reviews by people who tried it on

Belize Bread Pudding:

I love bread pudding and this looks easy and tasty. The original recipe called for condensed milk but wikipedia says that it’s the same thing as sweetened condensed milk. The recipe did not include baking time. If you try the recipe, let me know and I’ll add it to the directions.

I posted the recipe on, and one review of the recipe has been posted:

love this recipe, just how my mom use to make it…. yam yam, love when it sticks on the baking pan… an crispy..”dont grease pan”


1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg, grated
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
1 loaf white bread
1/2 cup butter, melted
6 ounces sweetened condensed milk
14 1/2 ounces evaporated milk
1 cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup raisins
2 eggs, beaten


  1. In a small bowl, combine sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon.
  2. Tear bread into pieces and place in large bowl.
  3. Pour butter over bread, then add both types of milk, vanilla, eggs and water. Mix well.
  4. Add sugar mixture and mix well with hands. Stir raisins into mixture.
  5. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  6. Pour mixture into 9×13 pan coated with cooking spray and bake until brown on top.

NOTE: The original recipe calls for an ungreased 9×12 pan, but it seems to me that a pan coated in cooking spray would be much easier to work with when serving.

Belize Steamed Fish:

Fish is one of those things that I like but rarely make. I tried this recipe and it was good and easy. I made it with fresh lemon instead of lime since that’s what I had in the house, and left out the green pepper (can’t stand it).


1 lb white fish fillet
2 limes, juiced
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1 large green pepper, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1/4 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Rinse and dry fish, then drench with juice of limes.
  3. Drain and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place 1 layer of fish in a shallow pan.
  5. Cover with green pepper and onion, then sprinkle with curry powder.
  6. Drizzle with coconut oil or melted butter.
  7. Squeeze remaining lime juice on fish.
  8. Cover tightly with lid or foil and bake for 10 minutes, then baste with liquid. Fish is done when it flakes easily with fork (total cooking time was not offered in recipe, but I’ve often heard 10 minutes per inch of thickness).

If you try any of these recipes, please let me know how they turned out!