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Pejelagarto (Tropical Gar) in Green Sauce Recipe

Pejelagarto (Tropical Gar) in Green Sauce Recipe

Pejelagarto is a rare species of fish which is generally found in water bodies along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico (particularly throughout Tabasco). The species is most well known for having existed for 100 million years in which time it survived dramatic evolutionary changes.

Pejelagarto is traditionally fried or roasted (depending on the recipe), accompanied with different ingredients, and most often consumed as a main dish.

Pejelagarto is considered to be one of the most consumed ingredients in Tabasco and is generally served with garlic, chile sauce, tortillas, and chopped onions. For this specific recipe of Pejelagarto, the fish is first roasted and then served with green sauce. The green sauce is prepared using amashito chili leaves, Chipilín leaves, Chaya, green chilli and many other ingredients that are native to the region.

History & Cultural Significance

Pejelagarto is an endemic fish and is known to have existed for an astounding 100 million years. Its existence dates back to the Mesozoic era and as far as its consumption is concerned, pejelagarto is believed to have been eaten since the Olmecs era.

In the state of Tabasco, an area in the Chontal and Putun communities is known to be the greatest producer of Pejelagarto. This fish is considered to be a staple in local households and is also appreciated as a culinary delicacy of Tabasco cuisine. Used in a lot of traditional dishes (like pescadillas, pejelagarto asado, tamales, empanadas, and a traditional stew known as chimrol), pejelagarto is generally roasted with lime juice, salt, and chili peppers added to it. It is then folded into a tortilla and served.

However, availability of this fish is presently limited to the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean coasts, and Caribbean Sea, from Canada to Costa Rica.


Pejelagarto in Green Sauce Recipe

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes


  • Lizard Pejelagarto - 1 ½ kg
  • Corn dough - ¼ kg
  • Chaya leaves - 100 gm
  • Garlic - 5 cloves
  • Amashito chili leaves - 50 gm
  • Chipilín leaves - 100g
  • Onion (purple) - 1 medium
  • Sweet green chili (bell pepper) - 1
  • Salt - To taste
  • Lard or oil - 3 tbsp
  • Water


  1. Take the Pejelagarto and wash it properly. Next, cut it into pieces and transfer into a saucepan.
  2. Now take a medium-sized bowl. Add the amashito chili leaves, chaya, chipilín, sweet green chili and blend all the ingredients well. Make sure to reserve a slice for later use.
  3. Once blended, pour the mixed ingredients over the pejelagarto that is already in the saucepan. Add enough water and salt to the pan and start cooking it over medium flame.
  4. Next, take a frying pan, and add butter in it. Wait until it melts completely. You can also use oil instead of butter. Over low flame, start frying a slice of onion and also add in the slice of reserved sweet chili blend. Add it all to the stew.
  5. Take a small bowl and dissolve the dough in water. Add it to the saucepan containing pejelagarto. In order to preserve the green
    colour of the dish, keep in mind to not cover the saucepan until it is completely prepared.
  6. Cook for some time and your dish is ready to be served!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 5652Total Fat: 307gSaturated Fat: 96gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 131gCholesterol: 842mgSodium: 18801mgCarbohydrates: 383gFiber: 94gSugar: 59gProtein: 393g

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