Mexican food is full of deliciously unique flavors that will make your taste buds sit up and take notice! Today”s Mexican cuisine is largely a combination of Native American (Incan, Mayan and Aztec) and Spanish influences. Like many other ethnic foods, Mexican food comes in a couple of different subtle variations depending on what a particular region has access to. For example, while northern Mexican cooking centers on meat dishes, the coastal cities incorporate a lot of seafood into their dishes. Alternatively, the south and east regions of Mexico tend to have spicier, chicken-based dishes. Although each of these regional Mexican foods is unique in its own way, what makes them all part of authentic Mexican cuisine is the set of seasonings they have in common, as well as the use of beans and corn as central ingredients. Commonly used Mexican seasonings include:
- chili powder
Depending on the dish, Mexican cooking uses a variety of commonly used culinary techniques, including frying, grilling, boiling and steaming. Prior to the invention of ovens, Mexican people cooked their food over an open fire, usually in cast iron pans or ceramic ware.
Frijoles: A Staple of Mexican Cooking
Because meat wasn”t easily accessible to the early Mexican natives, frijoles (dried beans) were the main source of protein for their dishes. Although both meat and seafood is readily available to Mexican cooks today, beans are still a staple to their dishes, even if they are just a side dish. Along with kidney beans, Mexican cooking also makes use of black beans, pinto beans and navy beans. Whether they are boiled or refried, beans add a rich texture and flavor to Mexican food.
Pronounced “mo-lay,” mol is generic term for spicy Mexican sauces that are used for savory and sweet dishes alike. The word mol itself was derived from the Nahuatl word mōlli that means sauce or concoction. Mol sauces can be based on a number of different ingredients, ranging from chocolate to poblano chilis. In fact, the dish guacamole, an avocado dip generally served as an appetizer or side, is an avocado mole.
As Mexican cooking became popular around the world, the traditional Mexican cuisine has seen a number of variations. Did you know that tacos, guacamole and even burritos aren”t part of authentic Mexican cooking? These dishes are all American variations to traditional Mexican fare. Nevertheless, whether you enjoy authentic food or new twists on traditional cuisine, Mexican food is a spicy, enjoyable treat that is sure to rejuvenate your palate. Below, we have included some recipes so you can have fun cooking and eating Mexican food. Enjoy!
Try this delicious Mexican salsa recipe as an appetizer with corn chips or as a topping for your favorite Mexican dish.Ingredients (serves 4-6)
- 1 Serrano chili or Jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
- 6 medium fresh tomatoes chopped into 1/4-inch chunks
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 3 green onions sliced thin with green tops included
- 1/8 c. loosely-packed fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp. cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. oregano, crushed between your palms
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
- 1 (4-oz) can chopped mild green chilies
- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste.
- Combine and stir all ingredients in a large bowl.
- Refrigerate overnight to let flavors blend.
You can store this Mexican salsa in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
If you like spicy foods, chile rellenos will be a hit in your home!Ingredients (serves 4)
- 8 large green chiles, or 2 cans of green chilies
- 8 finger-width pieces of asadero or other cheese
- 4 egg whites
- 1 c. milk
- 1 c. white flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. oregano
- Optional garnishes: vegetable oil, grated cheese, sour cream or chopped cilantro.
- If using fresh chiles, hold the chiles over a flame to blacken skins.
- Peel off the skin. Slit one side and carefully remove the seeds.
- Stuff each chili with a piece of cheese.
- Beat the egg whites until they form fluffy peaks.
- Mix the milk, flour, salt, pepper and oregano.
- Gently stir in the egg whites.
- Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan (about 1″ deep of oil).
- To cook, dip each chile in the batter, then fry until light brown.
Serve with garnish, if desired.
Enchiladas Verdes de Jocoque
Make a large batch of these Mexican enchiladas for a family style dinner party. They freeze well and are wonderful as leftovers. Ingredients (serves 3-5)
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 9 corn Tortillas
- 4 c. masa harina (finely ground corn)
- 3 tbsp. flour
- 2 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 c. cooked chicken
- 1 c. chopped green chili
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
- 2 c. sour cream
- Combine one cup of broth with the flour in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the remaining broth and cook on medium heat until thickened.
- Stir the chicken, chile and garlic salt into broth and set aside.
- Heat 1/2 inch of shortening in a heavy pan at medium-high heat.
- Quickly dip each tortilla into the shortening to soften. Drain on absorbent towels.
- Combine one cup of cheese, onion and sour cream in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
- Assemble the enchiladas: Placing 1/4 cup of sauce on each dinner plate, followed by a tortilla, 1/4 cup of sauce and 1/3 cup of sour cream mixture. Top with remaining sauce and cheese.
- Place in a 350?F oven for 15 minutes, or until cheese melts.