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g Mexican Food Site

BellaOnline's Mexican Food Editor

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Vegetarian

Mexican Food Information

A Pot of Beans star
No Mexican kitchen is ever without its bubbling earthenware cazuela of frijoles – beans are an integral part of everyday life and food. They are utterly earthy, true Mexican food for the soul, wholesome, soothing, satisfying.

Autumn Gold and Squash Blossoms star
The markets of Mexico are splashed with gold and the time of year has arrived when every stall is decorated with armfuls of flamboyant courgette/zucchini and pumpkin flowers, a truly seasonal treat.

Avocado in Tomatillo Sauce Recipe star
This very typical Mexican salad partners the liveliness of ripe tomatillos with rich, smooth avocado, chillies and fragrant coriander, all characteristic Mexican ingredients – and accompanied by totopos or tortilla chips with which to scoop it up, it is a vibrant taste of Mexico.

Avocado, pear of the Indies star
The Aztecs’ ahuacatl has become the avocado but the name bestowed upon it by the Spanish conquistadores was both more romantic and more evocative: pera de las Indias, pear of the Indies, illustrating its shape and what must have seemed, in the sixteenth century, an exotic and outlandish provenance

Breakfast in Mexico - Bricklayer's eggs star
Huevos del albañil are a typical, traditional breakfast throughout the country, although a popular variation is to toss some stale tortillas into the sauce to make green “chilaquiles” which serve as a bed for the eggs. As to where the name came from and what role the bricklayer played, my extensiv

Breakfast in Mexico - Huevos Rancheros star
The “eggs from the ranch” are to be found in every nook and cranny of Mexico – every cook churns them out regularly for breakfast (and only for breakfast), and of all the egg dishes in the repertoire of traditional Mexican cuisine, they are a classic, perhaps the best known and most widely eaten.

Breakfast in Mexico – Huevos Motuleños Recipe star
The “Eggs from Motul” always strike me as a strange dish, featuring some very disparate ingredients – but the end result, although it does look rather messy, is rich and savoury, breakfast or brunch at its best.

Christmas in Mexico - Champurrado Recipe star
The crescendo of the Christmas revelry, including the very Mexican “posadas” or Christmas parties, has reached its climax and Christmas Day has finally arrived. The day gets off to a very pre-Hispanic start with a mug of steaming champurrado, traditionally accompanied by tamales.

Christmas in Mexico – Buñuelos Recipe star
The Mexican "posada" season is tremendous fun, raucous and jolly, and the street cooks and vendors do a roaring trade. Mugs of hot chocolate are downed and “buñuelos”, a fabulously crisp sweet fritter, are one of the most popular treats during the Christmas festivities.

Easter in Mexico - Cherry Turnovers Recipe star
With the end of Lent, Mexicans throw themselves into the Easter festivities and pleasures. Little pastry turnovers filled with fruit are popular during La Pascua and the market cooks bake them to crisp perfection before piling them up in large earthenware plates, ready to tempt any passers-by.

Easter in Mexico - Torrejas Recipe star
The sweet, sickly and very moreish Torrejas are a great favourite during the Easter season in Mexico and are served in one form or another all over Latin America, as well as in their country of origin, Spain. They are reminiscent of Pain Perdu, French Toast or Eggy Bread.

Eggs in Mestiza Sauce Recipe star
The traditional name is impossible to describe or interpret. Translated word for word, it means eggs in the rags and tatters of a woman born of a Spaniard and an indigenous Mexican – which of course means nothing at all!

Epiphany in Mexico – Pastel de Tres Leches Recipe star
The traditional Epiphany treat is the delicious fruity yeasted “Cake of the Kings” or “Rosca de Reyes”, baked with a tiny figurine of the baby Jesus inside it. However, the Pastel de Tres Leches or Three Milk Cake is a popular alternative, lighter but much richer.

Hibiscus Blossom Quesadillas Recipe star
While doing some research the other day, I came across an old menu from the lovely Restaurante El Arrayán in Puerto Vallarta which we visited several years ago and where we tasted some very unusual and delicious quesadillas filled with hibiscus blossoms.

Huitlacoche Quesadillas Recipe star
With the onset of the long rainy season, Mexican cooks start looking forward to the appearance of the so-called truffle of Mexico. It is smooth and velvety to the touch, soft and spongy, dark to silver grey in colour and creepy beyond description.

Huitlacoche, the Truffle of Mexico star
Rainy seasons bring fungi, and the summer and early autumn markets in Mexico, particularly in the mountains, are full of wild mushrooms, from ceps, morels, pieds de mouton, bright orange trompetitas and chanterelles, to the incredibly sinister-looking huitlacoche, known as the truffle of Mexico.

Jícama, The Mexican Turnip star
Brown, bulbous and rather hirsute, Pachyrrhizus Erosus has little to offer in the way of glamour, but it is an important member of the Mexican larder, both ancient and modern.

Lenten Cooking in Mexico - Broad Bean Soup star
Sopa de habas, or broad bean soup, makes a regular appearance in Mexican homes and restaurants during the Lenten or “La Cuaresma” season, and yet cannot be considered an ancestral or indigenous dish, as broad beans originated not in the Americas but in North Africa as well as Southeast Asia.

Lenten Cooking in Mexico - Calabacitas Entomatadas star
Lent in Mexico sees the appearance of “La Cocina Cuaresmeña” or Lenten cuisine, with its focus firmly on fish and vegetables. “Calabacitas entomatadas” is a very simple but highly popular Lenten dish which combines three of the "milpa’s" time-honoured inhabitants: squash, tomatoes and chillies.

Lenten Cooking in Mexico - Lentil Soup Recipe star
Lentils are a post-Hispanic addition to the Mexican larder but they have made themselves very much at home and team up regularly with more native ingredients, particularly during Lent, La Cuaresma, in the spring and the Días de los Muertos, Days of the Dead, in November.

Lenten cooking in Mexico - Torta de elote star
Vegetable “tortas” or “budines” are popular vegetable bakes served during La Cuaresma or Lenten period and very far removed from pre-Hispanic dishes, as they are set with eggs and tend to contain dairy products, none of which made an appearance in Mexican cuisine until after the Conquest.

Mexican Antojitos - Chilaquiles star
According to an old Mexican wives’ tale, chilaquiles are an excellent cure for a hangover, but excess consumption of tequila aside, chilaquiles are the most comforting of foods, satisfying, rib-sticking, deeply flavoured and very good for the soul.

Mexican Antojitos - Enchiladas star
As the name suggests, enchiladas pack a punch! The verb “enchilar” means to add chilli to something, and in its very simplest form, the enchilada is nothing more than a tortilla with a fiery sauce - but in most cases, the tortilla is rolled or folded around a filling and topped with the sauce.

Mexican Antojitos - Gorditas star
orditas: little plump ones.... The name alone evokes gastronomic comfort and joy and the endless delight of Mexican antojitos. There are many ways to prepare a gordita but its main characteristic is that it balloons and puffs up as it cooks, producing a wonderfully crisp crust.

Mexican Antojitos - Papadzules star
Papadzules are one of the specialities of the southern state of Yucatán, typically served at breakfast in the markets and on the streets. The word translates as “food of the lords”, a grand name indeed, but it is in fact a very simple dish with a subtle complexity of the flavours and textures.

Mexican antojitos - Quesadillas star
Quesadillas, the Mexican version of a toasted cheese sandwich, are a crisp, crusty, golden envelope made from a corn tortilla, filled with rich, savoury cheese which is all gooey, melting and oozing out around the edges.

Mexican Antojitos - Yucatecan Codzitos Recipe star
To “codz” is to roll and the Yucatecan codzitos are to all intents and purposes what the rest of Mexico calls a taco, or more specifically a taco dorado, golden taco, one which has been fried until it is deeply coloured and wonderfully crunchy.

Mexican Green Rice Recipe star
Arroz Verde is flavoured with a heady brew of roasted fresh chillies and herbs. The final hue tends more towards light khaki than the initial bright emerald green, but the taste is clean and hot, spicy and savoury while the texture is reminiscent of risotto, soft and dense rather than fluffy.

Mexican Refried Beans with Pineapple Salsa Recipe star
16th September is Mexican Independence Day and I am celebrating this momentous occasion with a quintessentially Mexican dish: “frijoles refritos”, otherwise known as refried beans. This description, however, is a misnomer as the beans are only fried once.

Mexican Refried Beans Recipe star
16th September is Mexican Independence Day, and I am celebrating this momentous occasion with a quintessentially Mexican dish: “frijoles refritos”, otherwise known as refried beans. This description, however, is a misnomer, as the beans are only fried once.

Of calabacitas, courgettes and zucchini star
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.

Pea Pudding Recipe star
Mexican budines are totally post-Hispanic and have little to do with the country’s historical gastronomy. They are however very popular and make a regular appearance in provincial restaurants as part of the comida corrida, either as a vegetable course all on their own or to accompany meat and fish.

Peanut Brittle Recipe from Veracruz star
The Aztecs called the peanut tlalcacahuatl or cacao of the earth as it grows underground, and in the state of Veracruz, it makes an appearance in a variety of guises, Palanquetas de Cacahuate, or peanut brittle, among them.

Poblano Chillies with Cream Recipe star
One of the poblano chilli’s best mates in my kitchen is dairy produce, particularly cream which somehow manages to enhance its flavour, its aroma, its warmth and its texture all at the same time. Rajas con Crema makes a rich, mellow, utterly satisfying main dish or vegetable accompaniment.

Squash Blossom Crêpes Recipe star
The season of the very traditional “flor de calabaza” or squash blossom has begun. Every market stall in Mexico is festooned with flowers and garlanded with this highly prized delicacy of late summer and early autumn and every Mexican cook is featuring them in countless traditional dishes.

Sweet Mexico - Apricot Paletas Recipe star
When I was a child, paleteros or iced lolly vendors roamed the streets, pushing a little insulated container cart which was packed with ice and delectable, wonderfully fresh paletas. They were made daily, probably by a member of the paletero´s family, from natural, unadulterated ingredients.

Sweet Mexico - Big Ears Cookie Recipe star
The panaderías of Mexico are real treasure troves and as a child, a shopping excursion to the local bread shop with our cook was a great treat, allowing me to roam the aisles of what for me at that age was no less than a living breathing Aladdin’s cave.

Sweet Mexico - Hibiscus Blossom Sorbet Recipe star
The exotic and flamboyant blossoms of the hibiscus plant are a common ingredient in Mexican cuisine and luridly coloured iced lollies – paletas - made from an infusion of the flowers are a stand-by of every icecream shop and street vendor throughout the country.

Sweet Mexico - Poor Gentlemen Recipe star
The dashingly named Poor Gentlemen of Yucatán are close relatives of Eggy Bread, French Toast and Torrejas, and however they found their way into the gastronomy, their legacy is an excellent way to use up old bread and the overall sweetness, far from being off-putting, is downright addictive.

Sweet Mexico - Poor Gentlemen Recipe star
The dashingly named Poor Gentlemen of Yucatán are close relatives of Eggy Bread, French Toast and Torrejas, and however they found their way into the gastronomy, their legacy is an excellent way to use up old bread and the overall sweetness, far from being off-putting, is downright addictive.

Sweet Potato, a Very Early Vegetable star
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.

The Chillies of Mexico - El Chile de Árbol star
The “tree chilli” is smooth-skinned, thin and pointed, often slightly curved, green when young and gradually turning from orange to scarlet as it meanders towards its prime. Barely three or four centimetres long, its stem is hard and woody but its relationship to a tree is non-existent.

The Chillies of Mexico - El Serrano star
The bullet-shaped serrano chilli, small, slender and dark green, reminds me of a delightful Mexican song, which goes: “soy como el chile verde, picante pero sabroso”, “I am like the green chilli, hot but tasty”.

The Drinks of Mexico - Barley Water Recipe star
In the steamy, tropical climate of the Yucatán Peninsula, a chilled agua fresca or fresh water like the typical and regional Agua de Cebada or barley water is heaven in a glass.

The Drinks of Mexico - Barley Water Recipe star
In the steamy, tropical climate of the Yucatán Peninsula, a chilled agua fresca or fresh water like the typical and regional Agua de Cebada or barley water is heaven in a glass.

The Drinks of Mexico - Fruit Cooler Recipes star
On a hot day, Mexico’s aguas frescas or fresh waters are a taste of heaven. They are not as dense and rich as an actual juice, as water is often added to give the required lightness and breezy zest and there are countless varieties on offer.

The Herbs of Mexico - Coriander star
The very Mexican herb, coriander or cilantro, is a newcomer to the cuisine and yet it is such an essential ingredient – wherever you wander in a Mexican market, you will see great big bunches of coriander with the roots still attached, and green-flecked salsas fragrant with its pungent aroma.

The Herbs of Mexico - Epazote star
Epazote grows wild in Mexico and spread from there across America and eventually to southern Europe and beyond, but outside its homeland, it is seen as a weed rather than a culinary herb – only in central and southern Mexico does it play an essential role and find its way into the cooking pot.

The sauces of Mexico - Salsa Verde Cocida star
Salsa Verde Cocida, cooked green sauce, is made with tomatillos or Mexican green husked tomatoes and comes in many guises, from nothing more than boiled, puréed tomatillos, to considerably more sophisticated versions.

The sauces of Mexico - Salsa Verde Cruda star
A raw “salsa”, made from tomatillos, the Mexican green husked tomato, is one of the pillars, and joys, of the Mexican table.

The Sauces of Mexico - Yucatecan Salsa Xnipec star
The Mayas’ nose of the dog has a rich sting, with the local habanero chilli providing unequivocal fire and brimstone. Salsa Xnipec is to the Yucatán Peninsula what Salsa Cruda is to the rest of the country: the most popular and traditional table sauce, served at virtually every meal.

The Sauces of Mexico - Yucatecan Sikil Paak star
Rich and creamy with pumpkin seeds, spicy with roasted chillies and fresh with the juice of the very local sour orange, naranja agria, the Mayas’ Sikil Paak is one of the Yucatán’s great specialities.

Tomatillo and Mulato Chilli Sauce Recipe star
My favourite way of serving this sauce is with a fried egg sitting on a lightly fried tortilla – very reminiscent in fact of that Mexican classic, Huevos Rancheros, Eggs from the Ranch. While the whole dish is typically served for breakfast, it also makes a delicious lunch or supper.

Tomatoes - The Aztecs´ Tomatl star
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.

Veracruz - El Torito Cocktail Recipe star
Little Bull, the Jarochos’ favourite tipple, packs a powerful punch. Based on heady fire water and tinned milk, both evaporated and condensed, El Torito is sweet and sickly, yet deeply refreshing – let alone hopelessly moreish and a thirst quencher redolent of warm tropical climes!

Veracruz - Huevos Tirados Recipe star
The “thrown eggs” from Veracruz, scrambled with black beans and topped with fresh cheese and fried plantains, are on offer in every restaurant and food stall in the state – and while they do not look wildly appetising, the texture and flavour more than make up for any shortcomings in appearance.

Veracruz - Molotes a la Veracruzana star
Plump, torpedo-shaped and decidedly carbohydrate rich, the molote’s main characteristic is its pastry, which is more often than not a mixture of pre-Hispanic masa harina or corn flour and post-Conquest wheat flour often with the addition of mashed potatoes or, in Veracruz, mashed cooked plantain.

Veracruz - Molotes a la Veracruzana Recipe star
Plump, torpedo-shaped and decidedly carbohydrate rich, the molote’s main characteristic is its pastry, which is more often than not a mixture of pre-Hispanic masa harina or corn flour and post-Conquest wheat flour often with the addition of mashed potatoes or, in Veracruz, mashed cooked plantain.

Veracruz - Picadas Recipe star
The Veracruzana Picada, like its sister, the Pellizcada, is a very regional member of the vast clan of Mexican antojitos – snacks based on corn, cooked, served and consumed mainly on the streets and in the markets.

Veracruz - Sweetcorn Bake Recipe star
Veracruz’s Torta de Elote is rich and savoury. With its grilled poblano chillies, its spicier jalapeños and chipotle, and its pungent cheeses, it is both palate tingling and soothing as well as deeply satisfying.

Veracruz - Tortillas in Black Bean Sauce Recipe star
Enfrijoladas are a simple formula: stale corn tortillas bathed in a purée of whatever the local bean may be, red, black, white, speckled or tan – it is the food of the home, the market, the countryside, cheap, comforting, soulful - a favourite of street cooks, a truly pre-Hispanic antojito.

Veracruz - White Gorditas Recipe star
The gorditas - little plump ones - of Veracruz are utterly pre-Hispanic, despite being deep fried, and as typical of the state as it comes. The negras which incorporate the local black beans and perhaps some Veracruzano chillies, are the most popular but the blancas are just as time-honoured.

Yucatán - Cream of Coriander Soup Recipe star
In the Yucatán Peninsula, cilantro is made into a wonderfully bright green soup, Crema de Cilantro or Cream of Coriander Soup. Bearing in mind the huge quantities of the herb which go into it, the flavour is surprisingly delicate, although it strengthens if kept for a couple of days.

Yucatán - Cream of Coriander Soup Recipe star
In the Yucatán Peninsula, cilantro is made into a wonderfully bright green soup, Crema de Cilantro or Cream of Coriander Soup. Bearing in mind the huge quantities of the herb which are used to make it, the flavour is surprisingly delicate, although it strengthens if kept for a couple of days.

Yucatán - Yellow Rice Recipe star
Rice which has been dyed yellow by whatever means is popular throughout Latin America. The colouring medium is usually saffron or turmeric but the Yucatecos’ Arroz Amarillo or Yellow Rice is different in that it involves the very indigenous and even regional ingredient Annatto or Achiote.

Yucatán – Black Rice Recipe star
Sinister and rather sullen looking, the Yucatecans’ Arroz Negro is cooked in the broth of the local black beans, which gives it a wonderfully earthy, mellow flavour. The colour is frankly muddy rather than actual black but once you taste it, you will forget about its appearance.

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