The side dishes and salads that accompany Mexican main course can frequently become delicious vegetarian alternatives. Explore the flavors and textures of the abundant world of Mexicans produce throug
A pot of beans
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.
Avocado, pear of the Indies
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
Raw fish marinated in citrus juice is a traditional way of preparing seafood, found all along the coast of Mexico, and Latin America generally. The sharp, acid fluid effectively “cooks” the flesh without ruining the soft, delicate texture.
Christmas in Mexico - Christmas Eve Salad
Christmas Eve in Mexico is an occasion for a family dinner, served before everybody goes off to Midnight Mass, known as “Misa de Gallo”, cockerel’s mass. The meal starts off with a special Christmas Eve salad, Ensalada de Noche Buena, which is a rather peculiar concoction.
Huitlacoche Quesadillas Recipe
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.
Jícama, the Mexican turnip
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 - Torta de elote
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 Refried Beans Recipe
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 Salpicón of Beef Recipe
A salad, a filling for tacos, quesadillas, poblano chillies or even empanadas, a topping for tostadas and a stuffing for large fish – the Mexican “salpicón” is versatile and multi-faceted, fresh, light, tangy and boldly flavoured.
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.
Pea Pudding Recipe
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.
Plantain Crisps Recipe
Un tostón = fifty centavos. I do not believe that the tostón of my childhood still exists, but it was a lovely coin, with an Aztec head on one side and the Mexican eagle and snake on the reverse. My only experience of a tostón nowadays is not gastronomic, as the name of a Mexican Caribbean snack.
Poblano Chillies with Cream Recipe
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.
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.
The Sauces of Mexico - Yucatecan Sikil Paak
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.
The spices of Mexico - Cumin
“Comino” is one of the countless gastronomic immigrants which travelled to Mexico aboard the Spanish galleons and landed on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico - more likely than not in the port of Veracruz, where it made itself very much at home and was willingly absorbed into the local cuisine.
Veracruz - Tortillas in Black Bean Sauce Recipe
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.
Yucatán – Black Rice Recipe
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.
Yucatán – Venison Salpicón Recipe
The Maya hunted a small, red deer which they cooked with aromatic sauces boldly flavoured with chillies and often thickened with seeds or nuts – moles and pipianes. In modern times, domestication has enabled this species of venison to remain a traditional Yucatecan dish.
Yucatán – Yellow Rice Recipe Mexican Food Homepage | Editor's Picks Articles | Top Ten Articles | Mexican Food Site Map
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.
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