International Recipes and Cooking Around the World


Jocon Recipe (Guatemalan chicken in tomatillo-cilantro sauce)

(Guatemalan chicken in tomatillo-cilantro sauce)

Image Creative Commons by Whats4Eats

Average: 4.4 (43 votes)

Jocón or pollo en jocón is a dish popular with the Mayan population of Guatemala. Chicken is simmered in a tasty sauce tinted a beautiful green by tomatillos and cilantro and thickened with ground sesame and pumpkin seeds and corn tortillas.

4 to 6 servings


  • Chicken, cut into serving pieces -- 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
  • Water -- 4 cups
  • Salt -- 2 teaspoons
  • Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) -- 1/4 cup
  • Sesame seeds -- 1/4 cup
  • Corn tortillas, chopped, soaked in water, drained -- 2
  • Tomatillos, hulled and chopped -- 1 cup
  • Cilantro, chopped -- 1 bunch
  • Scallions, chopped -- 1 bunch
  • Jalapeño or serrano chile pepper, chopped -- from 1 to 5


  1. Place the chicken, water and salt into a large pot over medium-high flame. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. Remove the chicken to a bowl and strain and set aside the broth. Let chicken cool, then remove the meat from the bones and shred it with your fingers. Set aside.
  3. Heat a dry skillet over medium flame. Add the pumpkin and sesame seeds and toast, stirring, until lightly browned. Remove to a coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder.
  4. Add the sesame and pumpkin seeds, tortillas, tomatillos, cilantro, scallions and chile peppers to a food processor or blender. Add 1 cup of the reserved broth and process until smooth. If using a blender you may have to do this step in batches.
  5. Return the chicken to the pot. Pour over pureed sauce and add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the remaining broth to give it a sauce-like consistency.
  6. Heat over medium-low flame and simmer for an additional 15-25 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve.

Jocon Variations

  • Leave the chicken pieces whole if you prefer.
  • If you can't find pumpkin seeds, simply use 1/2 cup of sesame seeds. And if finding sesame seeds is a problem, you can substitute a slightly smaller amount of tahini.
  • Cubed pork can be substituted for the chicken. There is no need to shred the pork, but you may need to simmer it longer for it to become tender.
  • Use any remaining broth to make rice to accompany the meal.


this is the best dish you ever will get people like us from guatemala learn how to cook at the age of 10 if not younger if you leave up in the small villages but this dish is the bomb i give it 10 in my book is good you should try it. there are many other dishes too yummy.

I made this for the first time for some Guatemalan friends and added it to a huge buffet table for an wedding reception. No one could guess that a native Guatemalan was not the cook! Thank you for such a delicious addition to my recipe box. Easy, but so flavorful!

I love this dish and i prepared it to my Persian boyfriend and he loved it too. I did a minor change on mine, since the tortillas back home are freshly made i decided to warm up and toast a bit the tortillas before soaking them into the water. I dont cook well but this dish came out just the way my mother makes it.