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The Sauces of Mexico - Salsa Cruda
Salsa Cruda, raw sauce, or Salsa Fresca, fresh sauce – names which could mean anything, but in Mexico, they both refer to one very specific sauce, which is the quintessential and most common of all Mexican salsas
Salsas, the Sauces of Mexico
The word salsa simply means sauce in Spanish and although it has somehow become synonymous with a blood red, sour mess which comes out of a jar, it is light years away from a real Mexican salsa, which is a boisterous, exuberant combination of diced raw vegetables and/or fruit, chillies and herbs.
Tomatoes - The Aztecs' Tomatl
The Incas thought little of the vine with its small golden fruit, a weed growing among the bean and corn plants in their fields. However, the vine slowly spread across the continent and today the Aztecs’ tomatl is cultivated wordwide and is an intrinsic part of countless gastronomies.
The Drinks of Mexico - Tamarind Water Recipe
Tamarindus Indica, a tree native to tropical Africa, can grow to one hundred feet or more, with a massive trunk and a wide canopy of leaves. Its fruit is a pod full of sour pulp, which is used in Mexico to make a popular fresh water or agua fresca, known as tamarind water, agua de tamarindo.
Pumpkins and squashes are very much in evidence in Mexican markets and vegetable dishes throughout the summer and autumn, but the golden blossoms are their crowning glory for a brief and very colourful season when stalls and green grocers are festooned with their bright yellow and orange petals.
Mixiotes, a Mexican “En Papillote”
The name mixiote is derived from the Aztec Náhuatl language: metl, meaning maguey, and xiotl, skin of the arm, and applies both to the “envelope” and the dish itself. It is simple and very pre-Hispanic, consisting of meat slathered in a spicy sauce and wrapped in the afore-mentioned xiotl.
The Drinks of Mexico - Jamaican Water
“Agua fresca”, fresh water, is the name given to a variety of cold drinks in Mexico. Not the type which comes out of a bottle or carton and is more usually known as a “refresco” or refresher, but the kind which is lovingly made by hand from natural ingredients.
The Spanish Influence in Mexican Cuisine
The discovery of the Americas resulted in the dissemination throughout Europe of a multitude of hitherto unknown crops. But just as many Mexican foodstuffs crossed the Atlantic and were introduced to Europe, so too did non-American ingredients make their way back in the opposite direction.
Of Calabacitas, Courgettes and Zucchini
The Squash family, Cucurbita, is Mexican, whatever you may choose to call its various members, and the earliest traces, dating as far back as 7000BC, have been found in Oaxaca and Tamaulipas. However, the modern courgette or zucchini is thought to have originated in Italy in the 19th century.
Tortas, Part of Everyday Mexican Life
Tortas are an institution in Mexico, a part of every day life and an essential constituent of Mexican cuisine – there are even annual festivals in their honour. They are eaten by everybody at any time, and “torterías” are found on virtually every street corner.
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