Sikil pak with asparagus, goat’s feta, orange & avocado

Sikil pak with asparagus, goat’s feta, orange & avocado

Chris Middleton

This is more beach food than street food and is from the Yucatán Peninsula, where colourful salads of pickled vegetables are common. Sikil pak is best described as a type of Mexican hummus, an ancient Mayan relish from Campeche. Made from toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), this sweet nutty relish is much more delicate and aromatic than its Mediterranean cousin. It’s perfect with simply cooked or raw pickled vegetables like broccoli, asparagus and breakfast radishes. Serve alongside grilled fish or as an appetiser.

Sikil pak


Quantity Ingredient
300g pepitas
60ml extra-virgin olive oil
4 eschalots, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
1 large handful flat-leaf parsley
1 large handful coriander leaves
2 limes, juiced
1/2 orange, finely grated zest
50ml tahini
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
125ml boiling water
sea salt, to taste


Quantity Ingredient
sea salt, to taste
500g fresh green or white asparagus, woody stalks trimmed
Mexican-style pickles, pickle solution only
4 oranges, segmented
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
2 avocados, sliced
155g pitted black olives, roughly chopped
200g goat’s feta, crumbled
30g sunflower seeds, toasted
2 large handfuls purslane or watercress leaves


  1. For the salad, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Season with salt. Blanch the asparagus for 20 seconds, or until just tender. Drain and refresh in a bowl of iced water. Drain.
  2. Place the asparagus in a bowl, pour over the pickling solution, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 140°C.
  4. Meanwhile to make the sikil pak, spread the pepitas out on a large baking tray and bake for 10–15 minutes, until lightly toasted.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a small frying pan over low heat. Cook the eschalot, garlic and jalapeño until softened. Transfer to a food processor or blender. Add the pepitas, parsley, coriander, lime juice, remaining oil and orange zest and blend with the tahini and smoked paprika, gradually adding the boiling water as required to make a smooth paste. Season with salt. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Pass the sikil pak through a fine-mesh sieve, if desired, to create a very fine silky relish. (This step is not necessary but it’s how we do it at the restaurant.)
  6. To serve, drain the asparagus. Spread a large spoonful of sikil pak onto the serving plates. Arrange the asparagus, orange segments, red onion, jalapeño, avocado, olives, feta, sunflower seeds and leaves over the top.

Paul’s tip

  • Sikil pak can be served simply with corn (tortilla) chips and spears of vinaigrette-tossed asparagus.
Paul Wilson
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