In Mexico, you can eat at any time, but
remember Cuisine is an Art. You will be surprised by its variety.
Mexican cuisine possesses a lot of ingredients. Mexico
is a country rich in traditional dishes, some issued from old pre-Hispanic
recipes. The Indian influence stays preponderant in this field.
The products are numerous, abundant, rich and tasty. We owe Mexico
numerous foods from Pre-Hispanic
time like corn, cacao, beans, pineapples, avocado, pumpkins, vanilla,
tomatoes and turkeys. Mexican cuisine is a mixture of various ingredients,
spiced and sometimes hot, but spiced doesn’t mean hot. You
have to venture to the countryside, especially in the States of
if you want to discover the culinary art.
or chile - all sizes, shapes and colors
is presented in sauces on every table like ketchup in the USA. Mexico
has a big variety of chile. The most famous are : The guero
: it looks like a banana because of its appearance and color. You
can eat it crystallized as an appetizer with eggs. The chile
de arbol and the chile piquín (small round
and very hot red pepper) for hot sauces ; you can even use it as
a cure for constipation and sore throat There are also the poblano,
green and sweet, served stuffed with meat, the xalapeio,
usually served with vinaigrette and the serrano, green, thinner
than the previous one. The peppers, stuffed with meat or cheese
are called chiles rellenos.
You can find also the green peppers from Puebla,
stuffed with pork meat, dried fruits and apples, fried and covered
with a walnut-pomegranate sauce. The chiles jalapenos are
big peppers, quite hot, green, and marinated with onions and carrots.
You can find them in sandwiches called tortas. There is
also the chile xcatic (Maya name) that makes the dishes
tasty and the chile habanero, red-orange, which is the
hottest at first sight but the taste is a little bit sweeter after
all. There are more than 150 varieties of peppers.
- an ancestral cereal
Corn is to Mexican cuisine what bread is to French cuisine, since
As a symbol of life, it is eaten in numerous and various forms.
With a grinding stone (metate) and a cylindrical mill (metlapili),
the corn is crushed, and then cooked, in the old days on a clay
griddle, and now over gas. One of the ancestral forms of presentation
of this food is the “pancake” (tortilla
by hand-patting a bowl of dough with this typical slap slap sound
that you can sometimes hear. Made with slaked lime and water, it
is, still today, the equivalent of bread on our tables, with the
slight difference that you eat it rather warm.
Today, the most offered varieties are : the enchiladas
stuffed with tomatoes, salads, chile, cream and cooked in oil or
baked, the sopes, which look like small tarts spread with frijoles
(purée of beans, tomato and cilantro), the tamales
tender small breads, sometimes filled with meat, wrapped in corn
husks or banana leaves and then steamed, the pozole, one of the
national dish made from grinded corn, vegetable and meat. The chilaquiles
kind of tortillas
stuffed with chorizo, beans, onions,
avocado, and cheese and rolled and fried in a hot sauce. The antojitos
are snacks made from tortillas
, like the tacos
which are rolled tortillas
stuffed with meat, chicken or
vegetables, or the quesadrillas, tortillas
turnovers filled with cheese, flower of gourd, pepper or potatoes.
You could find also corn in a puree, the atole.
A small statement that says a lot about the importance of the tortilla
in Mexican cuisine is:
Average consumption of tortilla per person per day in
Mexico : Just over 1lb !
How to make tortillas
Prepare 24 h ahead : Immerse corn in cold water with pieces
of lime. The following day, get rid of the white water and
grin the corn with a pestle carved from volcanic rock on
a surface made from the same substance.
Make the “pancakes” and bake them (8 to 10 at
the same time) on a comal (clay griddle) in olden times
and on a steel grill now.
For your information, the lime was the source of calcium
for the Indians. They did not discover milk and its by-products
until the Spanish arrived. You could find lime in every
market as white stones.
are kept hot in a hollow colocynth
with a narrow opening and covered with a napkin.
USA is the biggest corn producer, followed by China, Brazil, Russia,
beans, or frijoles
A lot of varieties are proposed on the markets
and they vary depending on the States : black, beige-pink or red
and small. They are served at every meal, either in a soup or as
a side dish in a puree or refritos, meaning squashed and
fried with oil.
It is not from the same family as
the red tomato but is a variety of plants called, in Mexico,
the Chinese lantern or the Prisoner Heart.
The mole is
a sauce prepared with different dry and ground chiles,
chocolate and various seasonings. The most famous is the mole
poblano, but there is also the mole
verde (made with green tomatoes), rojo and amarillo,
the mole negro from Oaxaca,
the mole de olla, kind of Mexican boiled beef with vegetables.
This sauce usually goes with chicken. The guacamole is
a puree of avocado mixed with onion, green chile, chervil
and a green tomato, the whole thing sprinkled with lime juice.
It is served with tostaditas (pieces of fried de tortillas).
The pipian is a red or green sauce made with ground seeds of gourd
mixed with chile. The mole poblano is the national
dish : it is a chocolate-chile sauce poured over turkey.
Mash a small green
pepper. With a mortar, squash the pulp of two ripe dark-green skinned
avocados. Add a small, finely minced onion, the ground pepper, and
a tablespoon of finely minced cilantro leave, the juice
of a lime and a big peeled tomato, cubed and seeded. Mix in order
to obtain a thick, homogeneous sauce.
Melt 100g of lard in a pan and fry the pieces of tortillas
until they turn golden. Drain on an absorbent paper towel.
the Aztec word for « sauce »
How to prepare the « mole poblano “:
The preparation of mole poblano, specialty of Puebla
(it is named after Puebla), is a fiesta itself. Prepared during
the whole night, it is the dish for big occasions. It is made from
boiled turkey and pasilla, a dry chile that gives
its color. It is served with hot tortillas and white rice.
Its particularity is that it has to be composed with 35 ingredients
or at least 25 according to custom.
Plunge the turkey in cold water and bring it to a boil. Cook until
tender. Meanwhile, seed the chile and brown progressively
all the ingredients with a little bit of oil, crush them to obtain
a homogeneous dough (keep some sesame seeds for the presentation).
Then put the preparation in a little bit of oil, and cook it wetting
it with the turkey stock. Serve the turkey with white rice sprinkled
with grilled sesame seeds and tortillas.
In brief, you need at least a turkey, almonds, onions, cloves, cinnamon,
dried raisins, sesame, cumin, peanuts, pepper and a few squares
of chocolate or cacao seeds, chile pasilla and mulato depending
on your taste. Bon appétit !
Mexican people eat beef, veal, pork, chicken, turkey and a little
bit of lamb. The meat is finely sliced in tortillas.
You could find it in filet, in a whole piece, fried, sautéed
or raw marinated.
Fish and seafood, delicious, are remarkably well prepared in the
Gulf of Mexico and Yucatán.
The huachinango a la Veracruzana (red snapper boiled in
tomato sauce and served with onions, olives and capers) has to be
tasted as well as the robalo. Mexican people love fish. The ceviche,
pieces of raw fish marinated in lemon juice, is served in tall glasses,
with chile to taste. Be aware of the restaurants that would
serve it with ketchup in order to please North American tourists
Mexico is a big producer of fruits with a quasi-paradisiacal
range. Don’t hesitate to taste in addition to the familiar
fruits, the papayas, guavas, apple-cinnamon, guanabana, pineapples,
sugar canes, lime (always on the Mexican table), water melon, mangos,
flowers of gourd, and growths of cactus; you won’t be disappointed.
Mexican people eat fruits at any time, in juice or syrup and often
in ice cream. Every State has its fruits : pineapple in the Gulf
of Mexico, apples in Northern Mexico, zapotes
in the State of Oaxaca, bananas
in the State of Tabasco, and strawberries in the State of Michoacán.
It is a dream country for the fan of tropical fruits.
Drink only boiled water (agua hervida) or purified (agua
When you think of Mexico, you think often of coffee.
However, the country exports the essential of its production. Coffee
is offered in different ways: café con leche that is a specialty
at breakfast, served with milk; cafe de olla that is a coffee traditionally
prepared in earthenware pots with cinnamon and sugar, called piloncillo,
and served with sweet rolls and finally black coffee with cream.
You can’t neglect the chocolate, made in
the old way, with exceptional texture and flavor, often flavored
with cinnamon and crushed almonds. With starch, it is a Pre-Hispanic
drink called champurrado, served with beignets (churros)
that sometimes replaces dinner.
As a precaution, it is recommended to drink only boiled water and
you’ll have choices with herbal teas like the tamarindo
from tamarind pods or the jamaica, decoction of red flowers of hibiscus.
Fruit juices are numerous too and the pulp is mixed either with
cornstarch, either with rice and water. Very refreshing are the
aguas frescas also from lime or melon, served in big bowls covered
with mint leaves. Give your preference to the small supermarkets
(like the chain Michoacana), which prepare delicious jugos
(tropical fruits), jugo verde (orange or grapefruit, parsley,
celery), licuado (fruits juice and milk) and finally the
licuado de platano with bananas.
Last but not least non-alcoholic drink : the coke supposedly responsible
for the non-dehydration of the children as a first producer and
Wines are essentially produced in Hidalgo and Baja California and
you have to pay for the quality. The brands : La Ceto, Cassa Madero,
Hidalgo, Domecq, Vergel,
Santo Tomas, Monte Xanic, San Lorenzo, Calafia and Los Reyes are
good red (tinto) and white (blanco) wines.
Like the wine, the Cognac can’t be compared to French Cognac,
but it has creditable quality, specially the brands: Madero, Viejo,
Let’s talk about Tequila,
famous since the 18th Century and made from the maguey azul, blue
agave. It is produced in the state of Jalisco
and has to be served with salt and lime. You can drink it before
as well as after diner. The most famous brands are: Don Julio, Cazadores
Beers (cerveza), lager (clara) as well as dark
(oscura) are good; they are light and they go perfectly
with hot Mexican meals. You could try a Christmas specialty : the
Nochebuena. The best brands are : Corona, Dos Esquis, Blanca, Bohemia,
Sol, Tecate, Victoria, Superior and Caria for lager beers and: Pacifico
(especially in the north), Negra Modelo, Montejo and Tres Esquis
for the dark ones.
: tequila cocktail sweetened with
piña colada : tropical cocktail with coconut, condensed
milk, pineapple and rum.
is syrupy liquor with yolks and rum (similar to eggnog).
And also the mezcal, a distilled
spirit (of 40°) made from the agave plant and the pulque, from
maguey’s unfermented (and not distilled) juice.
It gets its name from a village located 50 km West from Guadalajara,
in the heart of the region where it is prepared. It is extracted
from the agave tequilana. This blue (maguey azul) agave
plant grows at an elevation of 2 000 m, on slightly hilly and not
so fertile soils. The agaves are cultivated 7 years after being
planted; the harvest occurs during the following two years. Once
the leaves are chopped, remains the heart (piña),
which is cut before being put in a traditional oven dug in the ground
and covered with hot stones. The decoction and cooling last 4 days.
Then, the cooked piñas are grinded in a crushing mill and
pressed with a millstone moved by an animal or a tractor which stirs
the whole thing. The obtained agave juice as well as the remaining
fibers is combined with water in a vat to ferment. The fermentation
process lasts 72 hours at a certain temperature in the darkness.
Then they are distilled in a still.
You need a margarita glass, salt, tequila,
Cointreau, lime, crushed ice. Moisten the rim of the glass with
limejuice and dip it in salt; spread on a plate. Pour the juice
of one lime, 4cl of tequila and 1cl of cointreau; pour delicately
the crushed ice to fill the glass.
The women could drink beer. They mix beer, salt and lemon to obtain
the chelada, beer, salt, Worcertershire sauce and chile
to obtain the michelada.
special chapter about the production of tequila
The Mexican will take a morning coffee in order not to leave the
house fasting, then breakfast (desayuno) around 11:00 AM;
this breakfast is composed of coffee, fruits juices, omelets or
eggs and the famous puree of beans (frijoles). At lunchtime, between
2:00 and 4:00 PM, it is the main meal of the day (the almuerzo or
the comida) composed of an average of three dishes (soup
or salad, main dish with meat or fish, vegetables and rice, then
a dessert). You can also have a snack (merienda) around
6:00 PM, usually a sweet roll with hot chocolate. Diner (the cena)
is usually a light meal, a soup or a few tacos, taken late evening.
AT THE RESTAURANT
They won’t bring you the bill if you don’t ask for it.
The service is usually not included. A 10-15% tip is expected. Be
aware that if you pay with a credit card, you need to fill in the
line reserved for the tip and write down the total amount (bill
Mexican cuisine lovers can take classes with professionals in the
excellent culinary schools in the whole country.
You can log onto the web sites for Mexican recipes :
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