Recipes for Change: Gak Ik (Turkey soup)

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Recipes for Change: Gak Ik (Turkey soup)

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Climate change and associated environmental degradation is impacting smallholder farmers in Cobán, Guatemala. Deforestation, decreasing rainfall, forest fires and spread of disease are exacerbating food insecurity. IFAD is offering solutions to these challenges for smallholder farmers in Guatemala.

Climate risks

  • Decreasing rainfall, in areas where people’s livelihoods derive from rainfall-based subsistence agriculture
  • Deforestation increasing the vulnerability of the water sources
  • Decreased availability of native crops
  • Forest fires, and spread of disease in poultry

IFAD solutions

  • Training in smart climate agriculture practices
  • Development of forestry nurseries to reforest degraded areas
  • Provision of lower-emission wood-burning stoves to rural households
  • Building of 788 water reservoirs at the community level

The Recipe

Gak Ik (Turkey soup)

Serves 12

Nutritional value per serving:

• Calories: 136 • Fat: 2.3g • Carbs: 27.4g • Protein: 3.6g


  • 6kg turkey
  • 500g tomatoes
  • 2 tree tomatoes (tamarillos), cooked and deseeded
  • 3 large onions
  • 12 peeled garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch coriander (cilantro)
  • 1 bunch chives
  • 4 spearmint twigs
  • 15 zamat (large coriander) leaves
  • annatto (achiote) to taste

Cooking instructions:   

  1. Chop 1 onion and 2 spearmint twigs, add salt and place in a container (green chili optional)
  2. Roast tomatoes, onions and garlic cloves, and then mash them together with the annatto (achiote) to prepare the sauce
  3. Heat 7 litres of water for the soup, bring to the boil and add the meat. Boil for half an hour and add the sauce and the herbs (coriander, chives, spearmint and zamat), season with salt
  4. Bring back to the boil and stir in the prepared vegetables
  5. Simmer for about two hours
  6. Serve in a large cup or bowl
  7. Garnish with red chili (Cobán chili)

Serve with sliced blood sausage, white rice, small corn tamales prepared with salt and lard, and wrapped in green maxan leaves.


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