Mexican cuisine is popular for its multitude of flavors, rich and vibrant mix of colors, and its ingenious use of the different spices and fresh produce that is locally grown in Mexico. That’s why if you prefer dishes with that comfort-food feel but with an added zing and bite, then Mexican food is definitely a must-try for you.
Mexican food staples are usually corn (which, by tradition, is eaten on the cob or used to make dough for tortillas and tamales), beans, squash and a wide variety of peppers. Rice is also a common ingredient found in Mexican cuisine which, according to food writer Karen Graber, was first brought to the Veracruz Port in Mexico by the Spanish during the 1500s, thus initiating one of the first and earliest fusion cuisines in the world.
As for herbs and spices, the most essential ones generally used in almost all Mexican dishes are oregano, cilantro, epazote, garlic, onions, cinnamon, cocoa, cumin and, of course, chili powder. Jalapeno peppers called Chipotle that are usually smoke-dried is also an in-demand garnish and add-on.
The Mexicans absolutely love their chili peppers. One popular dish is called “chiles en nogada,” taken from “nogal,” the Spanish term for the walnut tree. It is made up of poblano chilis stuffed with picadillo (a concoction of ground meat, fruits, and spices), walnut cream sauce as topping, and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds. The dish is said to resemble the Mexican flag with its green, white, and red ingredients. It is usually prepared during August to September and is part of the traditional Independence Day meal.
Authentic Mexican recipes are well worth making. Not only are the flavors wonderful but Mexican food recipes are a mix of all different flavors from a variety of countries. Different nations have influenced conventional Mexican recipes and these flavors and types, together with native Mexican flavors, are what is responsible for the wonderful Mexican recipes which are around today.
Before the Spanish arrived in Mexico, meat was relatively scarce, which is why beans and corn have been the principle dietary staples. Robust tasting spices and chilies were used so as to add flavor. Seafood has always been popular alongside the Mexican coastline. The Spanish additionally introduced cheese, chicken, onions, garlic and wheat, which the native Mexicans enjoyed adding to their very own dishes.
Mexican cuisines replicate colourfulness, a shade of merriment and variety in flavours. The warm climatic conditions and ethnic differences of the region have a played a telling role in shaping cooking habits.
Past conquests have led to a substantial influence of Spanish cooking. Its roots lies in the native staples of the Mayan Indians of the Yucatan Peninsula.
The staples of a Mexican diet are
Tortillas a sort of pancake comprised of wheat or maize flour. The versatility of the tortilla as a wrap is infinite. Tortillas can be used as a taco, tostada. They all are topped or stuffed with a variety of stuffings both vegetarian and meat based and served often with a dipping sauce such as chiptole, guacomole, salsa etc.
Today, a large number of these tasty dishes are based on the basic ingredients of beans, rice and corn. The cornerstone is corn which appears in virtually everything from enchiladas and tacos, to soups and even desserts. Dried beans are also widely available and another staple on the dinner plate. They can be boiled or fried.
When the Spanish arrived in the 16th century rice became another wholesome ingredient. There are a variety of different ways to prepare this; for example you can prepare with hot oils, or incorporate herbs and even mix with sugar to make a popular, local drink.
Did you know that there are more than 60 different varieties of chili peppers and each one of them can be found somewhere in the Mexican recipe book? Jalapenos may not be for the faint hearted but they are the most recognizable, hot and spicy varieties. These peppers can be used in an amazingly diverse number of ways.
One of the most famous elements to emerge from the Mexican food pantry and well known in American society in general is salsa. Some people refer to this as the Mexican version of tomato ketchup and can be made from raw ingredients, or cooked in different ways. For example you can have roasted tomato, fresca or ranchero style.
When the Spanish arrived they brought a variety of citrus fruits to really add color and taste to Mexican dishes. Oranges, lime and grapefruit can create some unique and mouthwatering taste combinations when infused with a variety of other concoctions. As the Spaniards also introduced dairy food to the Mexican diet, we can now get ready to enjoy a number of dairy products such as Cojito cheese, often used to garnish the finished product.
Life south of the border is nothing if not adventurous and they are never spoiled for choice when it comes to dinner ideas. Maybe we should take a leaf out of their book. Instead of reaching for something frozen at the end of a long hard day, prepare a little bit in advance and you can have one of these tasty Mexican concoctions to satisfy even the most discerning palate.