Traditional Maya Atole (Ix-pa-xa)


November first begins the Dia de los Muertos (also known as “Day of the Dead”) festivities with All Saints Day in which the deceased children are honored and remembered. November second All Souls Day is for the remembrance of the adult dead. Dia de los Muertos combines these days to celebrate the the deceased and enjoy their memories.

A hot cup of masa gruel known as Ix-pa-xa (pronounced Ish-pa-sha), otherwise known as Atole made from purple corn is used to nourish and warm the spirits when they return and/or when they leave on these special days.

Here’s the recipe for this tasty Maya treat: Ixpaxa

3lbs purple corn (not on the cob) – this is to be left 1-2 days to “spoil” while being softened in the water.

1 tin condensed milk

1 habanero pepper


Blend corn and some of the water with condensed milk and habanero pepper.

Strain to remove husks,

Boil and add sugar to taste.



Historical note: Before the invention of condensed milk, ripe plantains were used to sweeten this dish. Hence for authentic taste substitute ripe plantains for condensed milk.