Guajes (Huajes)

Guajes has many meanings. Colloquially, Mexicans have a saying, “No te hagas guaje” which means “do not play dumb.” But in Spain, guaje generally means boy. Also, guaje may refer to type of inedible gourd that has been used to make traditional household objects for about 13 thousand years B.C., including the Mexican jícara, a cup for drinking traditional concoctions such as tejate, and taza de mate in South America. But, none of those fun facts are relevant to our discussion.

Instead, we gastro-curious types should focus on the guajes (or huajes) tree that produces a type of legume pods whose nutritious, high protein seeds are used in many Mexican sauces and moles. The green seeds are consumed raw from the pod or they may be placed raw or roasted into sauces or eaten toasted as a snack. You will often encounter guajes with Oaxacan food – fitting since the very name Oaxaca is derived from the Náhuatl word for the guajes tree, uaxin.