Black Dinna, A Belizean Favorite! 

by McNab Editorial Team
black relleno

Pouring bubbly on New Year’s Eve is a must, but what about the menu? That really depends on where you live. Around the world, people eat certain foods on New Year’s Day. In Belize, some households will enjoy a nice plate of rice and beans, ham, turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing – very similar to a Thanksgiving meal.

Still, the most popular dish to consume on New Year’s Eve or Day is the traditional Black Relleno. Black Relleno, also known as “black dinna”, is a famous dish originated by the Mestizos which is a savory black soup that features chicken, pork balls, boiled eggs, and of course… spices! What makes the soup stand out is its color. The distinctive black color comes from the use of the black recado, a paste made of local chili peppers that are roasted until they are black. 

This soup is enjoyed by all in Belize, and we hope you’ll enjoy it too. Don’t judge it until you’ve tried it! Be bowled over by this classic recipe from the Flavors of Belize cookbook. The team at Caribbean Culture and Lifestyle would like to wish all a Happy New Year! 

Black Relleno Recipe


  • 4 pounds chicken, cut into serving sizes 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt 
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper and set aside. 
  • 1 cup onion, diced 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic, minced 
  • 2 teaspoons epazote leaves, crushed 
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil 
  • 2 pounds ground pork steak 
  • 2 tablespoon black recado, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
  • 1 teaspoon cumin 
  • 2 teaspoons allspice 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 6 whole hard-boiled eggs, reserve whole yolk, dice whites 


Sauté onions, garlic, and epazote in oil. Season ground pork with salt, pepper, cumin, allspice and add dissolved black recado. Combine with sautéed onions and cook until well done. Remove from heat, cool and mix with two eggs to hold meat together. Divide pork mixture into 3 equal balls. Flatten each portion in the palm of your hand and add 2 boiled egg yolks and fold over to close the ball. Set aside. 

  • 8 tablespoons black recado 
  • ½ teaspoon red recado 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
  • 6 to 8 cups water 


Dissolve black and red recado in 1 cup of water. Place 6 to 8 cups of water in a large stockpot and add dissolved seasonings. Bring to a boil. Add ground pork balls and reduce heat to medium. When the balls float add chicken, cover and continue cooking for 1 hour. Season to taste and garnish with reserved egg whites. Serve with fresh corn tortillas.  

Serves 6. 

Written by: Vivian Lizarraga 

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