Modern urban environments represent a true fusion of cultures, traditions, styles and lifestyles, and certainly the most favorite meeting point of these factors is the kitchen. World cuisines have conquered every major modern city, and the luxury of an incredible experience of traveling around the globe is available to us every day, through enjoying and tasting the most diverse aromas and tastes.
Among the globally popular culinary traditions, Chinese and Italian cuisine are the most represented in our country, and more and more, oriental and Mexican. On this occasion, we will travel to distant Central America on waves of irresistible flavors and get to know all the charms of Mexican food.
Mexican tradition and European influences
Traditional Mexican cuisine and the food of nearby regions are basically a combination of the folk culinary traditions of indigenous Indian tribes and the influence of the Spanish conquistadors, who brought their food habits and ingredients with them across the ocean. We can say that Mexican food is based for the most part on corn and various products from it, and numerous varieties of legumes, primarily beans, as well as various types of peppers.
Mexican dishes consist of the native cultures of the area, as well as those brought by the Spanish during the conquest. The basis of the cuisine is corn and chili pepper, and other local ingredients include tomatoes, zucchini, avocado, coconut and vanilla, as well as some additives that are not used in other world cuisines. These are individual edible flowers, domestic vegetable crops, as well as special varieties of avocados with edible skin. The European contribution to Mexican traditional cuisine includes most types of meat, chicken, pork and beef, as well as herbs and spices, as well as certain types of fruit. Tropical fruits such as mangoes, guavas, bananas, pineapples and other types are very popular.
Today, it is often questioned how authentic Mexican food really is, and to what extent it is European, a fate it shares with most culinary traditions that are considered exotic in Europe and have inevitably mixed with European customs over time. In any case, the basis of Mexican cuisine has remained unchanged for centuries and is based on corn and beans, while chili pepper is a regular spice.
Curiosities from Mexican cuisine
Native Mexican cuisine has experienced various tastings, changes and additions over time, resulting in various varieties of dishes that today we can simply order in a restaurant or even in the form of fast food. But there are many misconceptions about this culinary tradition, and here’s a little debunking of popular myths.
Mexican food is greasy – Original Mexican dishes are prepared without the addition of animal fats and vegetable oil, thermally processed in large metal or clay vessels. They were also baked wrapped in banana, avocado or corn leaves, and the popularity and transformation in fast food chains contributed to the fact that many dishes are deep fried today.
Mexican dishes are always spicy – Some of the most famous Mexican dishes are more spicy and chili is one of the frequent food additives, but the whole range of recipes is very wide and does not include only hot dishes. This myth is accompanied by another one, which is that all red foods in Mexican dishes are spicy. This is certainly not true, since red peppers do not have to be hot at all, and tomatoes, which are often represented, also do not have such a taste. It is also believed that pregnant women should avoid Mexican food, precisely because of the spiciness. If that were true, all Mexican pregnant women would suddenly have to change all their eating habits and switch to a completely different diet.
Chimichangas is an original Mexican dish – Chimichangas is actually a traditional Mexican nacho, a form of tortilla preparation, topped with melted cheese and sour cream, and it was created by the popularization of Mexican cuisine in the world, while in Mexico itself it is almost impossible to find even on restaurant menus.
Recipes of Mexican cuisine
One of the basic recipes, which is the basis of numerous dishes, is the preparation of tortillas. Famous dishes with tortillas are certainly burritos, tacos, nachos, quesadillas and enchiladas. There are also many dishes with beans, as well as some popular dips, such as salsa and guacamole. The following are some excellent recipes of modern Mexican cuisine, which we can easily prepare ourselves.
Homemade tortillas – Traditional Mexican tortillas were made from specially processed corn flour, while here they are mostly made from white wheat. Since the arrival of the conquistadors, they have been preparing in this way in some parts of Mexico. Here is one of the simple variants to prepare. It’s necessary:
- 250 g smooth flour
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 175 ml of water
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
Mix flour and salt, then gradually add water and oil. Place the smooth dough on a floured surface and leave for ten minutes. Then divide the dough into eight parts and stretch each ball into thin parts, i.e. tortillas. They are baked in a large pan, lightly greased, so that they don’t stick. Bake at a medium temperature for about a minute on each side, until the dough is lightly browned. Serve them with filling as desired or prepare a complete dish.
Burrito with beef – Burrito is one of the most popular dishes of contemporary Mexican cuisine. Burritos are prepared with different types of meat and with minor changes in ingredients. In addition to ordering it in a Mexican restaurant, we can also try the homemade version of this specialty. The required ingredients are:
- 350 g of ground beef
- 1 can of pelate
- 1 to 2 onions
- 300 g of red and yellow peppers
- 100 g of red beans
- 100 g of sweet corn
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- 3 teaspoons of vegeta
- Chopped parsley
- 8 tortillas
Beans and corn can be boiled or used ready-made in a can. Chop the onion and fry it in oil, then add the meat and one teaspoon of vegetables. Simmer with the addition of water for about twenty minutes. Add canned tomatoes and chopped peppers and fry together for another fifteen minutes. Towards the end of stewing, add beans and corn, the rest of the vegetables and chopped parsley. Prepare the tortillas according to the given recipe or use ready-made ones. In that case, they should be slightly heated to soften. Spread two tablespoons of filling on each tortilla and roll up. Serve warm.