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.