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Sweet Potato, a Very Early Vegetable
Sweet potatoes, with their rough, scratchy skin and warm orange or deep purple flesh, were one of the first vegetables to be cultivated. They originated in South America, probably Peru, where 8,000 year old traces have been unearthed.
Tacos of Oven-roasted Achiote Carnitas Recipe
Achiote, a spice blend based on annatto seeds, is one of the most recognizable flavours of southern Mexican cuisine and finds its way into countless regional dishes including Yucatecan pork carnitas. Slow-roast belly of pork, basted with an achiote marinade, makes wonderfully succulent carnitas.
Tacos of Achiote-marinated Pork Carnitas Recipe
Achiote, a spice blend based on annatto seeds, is one of the most recognizable flavours of southern Mexican cuisine and finds its way into countless regional dishes including Yucatecan pork carnitas: rich and succulent, hot, sweet and sharp, wrapped in a warm corn tortilla with a sparkling salsa.
Tamales are among the oldest and most authentic of Mexican dishes, dating back millennia and served to the conquering Spaniards in Moctezuma’s splendid banqueting hall. The Náhuatl name itself means wrapped food, which is an excellent description of this very historical and traditional creation.
The Chilli Pepper Man
From their sunny homeland of Mexico to the sweltering heat of Kerala or the sandy beaches of Thailand, chillies are associated with warm climates and exotic dishes flavoured with coconut and cumin, coriander and cinnamon: aromatic curries and stir-fries, mellow “tagines” and gutsy “moles”.
The Chillies of Mexico
Capsicum Annuum was first cultivated in Mexico around 7000BC and is the ancestor both of all modern Mexican chillies, and of the vast majority of chillies found today outside the Americas: all the hot cuisines of the world owe their fire and fragrance to the original Mexican chilli.
The Chillies of Mexico - El Chipotle
The smooth and glossy jalapeño chilli loses much of its looks when it is transformed into one of Mexico’s most popular and widely used dried chillies, the chipotle, but its flavour, far from deteriorating, thrives on this transformation.
The Chillies of Mexico - El Habanero
El Habanero is a Yucatán lad who emigrated to Mexico from South America, probably Brazil or Peru, via Cuba, where it may have acquired its name, “from Havana”. It is the hottest chilli in the region itself and in fact in the country, as well as the most widely used in the Peninsula.
The Chillies of Mexico - El Jalapeño
The jalapeño chilli, plump, smooth and glossy, has a lively rather than fiery ardour, and while it notches up a creditable 7/10 on the heat scale, it is often relatively mild, warm without too much punch - but be warned, it can sometimes be very hot indeed and catch you unawares.
The Chillies of Mexico - El Mulato
Broad-shouldered, long, dark and handsome, El Mulato is sultry and wizened, tasting of ripe fruit and chocolate, with a whisper of smoke and a dash of sweetness which are barely tempered by its gente warmth.
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