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BellaOnline's Mexican Food Editor

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 F E A T U R E   A R C H I V E  

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The Sauces of Mexico - Cooked Tomato Sauce
A cooked tomato sauce is one of the most important building blocks of Mexican cuisine. Not only does it have a role to play in its own right, but it is also a starting point for countless other dishes for behind many great classical Mexican culinary creations stands the “salsa de tomate cocida”.

The Sauces of Mexico - Encacahuatado
A sauce thickened with seeds and nuts is an utterly pre-Hispanic concept, and Spanish chroniclers who accompanied Hernán Cortés during the conquest of Mexico talked in their accounts of great earthenware cazuelas full of bubbling red sauces which were thickened in precisely this way.

The Sauces of Mexico - Guacamole Recipe
Guacamole is one of the best known Mexican dishes and its fame has spread far and wide, to the extent that you can buy it in a tub in the refrigerated section of a supermarket, and even a ‘long-life’ version in a jar - and if that is all you have ever tasted, you are in for a big surprise.

The Sauces of Mexico - Manchamanteles
The name speaks for itself – mancha manteles is Spanish for table cloth stainer, and this brick red sauce, when spilled on a white table cloth or down the front of a white shirt, can cause very serious damage indeed.

The Sauces of Mexico - Mole
The Aztecs called it “molli” or “mulli”. In their Náhuatl language, it simply meant sauce or mixture. For the Spaniards, who encountered it in its countless versions in the cooking pots of the great market place of Tenochtitlán, it became “mole”, the name which it still bears today.

The Sauces of Mexico - Oaxacan Coloradito
Oaxaca’s Mole Coloradito is much bigger than its name which translates quite simply as Little Coloured Sauce, or Little Red Sauce. Habitually referred to as just Coloradito, it is life-sized and powerful, gutsy and spicy, rich and deep.

The Sauces of Mexico - Pico de Gallo
Pico de Gallo translates as cockerel’s beak for some unfathomable reason and is a standard salsa which appears on the table in a restaurant at the beginning of a meal, to be eaten with “totopos” or tortilla chips while perusing the menu or waiting for the rest of the meal to arrive.

The Sauces of Mexico - Pipián Verde Recipe
A truly pre-Hispanic sauce, Pipián Verde is rich with pumpkin seeds and the characteristic caramel tones of roasted tomatillos. Like all Mexican salsas it is very versatile and while I am serving it with chicken in this instance, it is equally good with steak, fish and roasted vegetables.

The Sauces of Mexico - Recado
The “recado”, like the ubiquitous “adobo”, is not really a sauce, but a spice and herb blend or paste used to flavour meat, fish or vegetables before cooking, and is a particular speciality of the Yucatán peninsula.

The Sauces of Mexico - Salsa Borracha Recipe
The blue-grey maguey, with its wavy, fleshy arms spiked with sharp thorns, is an indelible feature of the Mexican landscape and the source of a mildly alcoholic, pre-Hispanic drink known as pulque. The sweet sap of the plant has been fermented for millennia to produce something akin to beer.

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