The Mexicans have an ancient and complex cuisine that was established and developed about 9000 years ago. They use mostly their native ingredients, but the cuisine has been influenced by other countries as well .
Corn and Chile Pepper as Staples
Corn is the main ingredient of the recipes that serve in Mexican dining tables, Mexican foods are known of being very spicy and chile pepper is a great contributor to that. It is a basic ingredient in all parts of Mexico. They incorporate chile pepper to almost all their dishes - even to sweets and fruits.
For most dishes, it is the type of chile used that gives it its main flavor.
Other native ingredients found in Mexican cuisine are some fruits like avocados, mangoes, guava, pear, pineapple and tomatoes, and vegetables like squashes, cauliflower, potatoes, and also flowers like marigold.
Chilaquiles is a traditional Mexican food that dates back to the ancient Aztecs. The word chilaquiles derives from an old Aztec Nahuatl word meaning "chilis and greens." Since the tradition of preparing chilaquiles has been around for hundreds of years, it has become an everyday meal for Mexican families.
This popular breakfast dish features fried corn tortillas, which are lightly browned, cut into quarters, with some green or red salsa to top it off. Scrambled or fried eggs and chicken are usually added, also cheese and cream. Often served with a good helping of frijoles (refried beans).
As with many Mexican dishes, the pozole originated from Nahuatl. Because the Aztecs and other Mesoamerican people believed that people were made from corn gods, corn was a sacred plant. So they only cooked this dish on special occasions. A piece of the meal would come from a ritual sacrifice (human sacrifices, that is). But don't let this piece of history scare you! Who knows? You might even make it your favorite food.
Pozole is something of a mix of stew and soup. Chicken, pork, and vegan pozole versions are readily available in more conventional places today. The dish is made from hominy corn with lots of herbs and seasonings and is traditionally stewed overnight. Once it's ready, some lettuce, radish, onion, lime, and chili are added on top.
Tostadas first came from Mexico about 2000 years ago. No specific person invented it, but it is said that it was created around the Monte Alban ruins.
If you don't know what to do with stale tortillas, it's "fry them!" Meaning toasted in Spanish, tostadas are a delicious dish requiring corn tortillas deep-fried until they become crunchy and golden. These are served alone or heaped with any number of toppings. Typical toppings include frijoles (refried beans), cheese, cooked meat, seafood, and ceviche.
Tacos al Pastor
Tacos al pastor is one of the most famous variations of tacos, originating back in the 1920s and 30s when Lebanese immigrants arrived in Mexico. They wanted to introduce them to classic shawarma, and the dish was initially called tacos árabes. Thin strips of pork are placed on a corn tortilla to make this dish and then is served with coriander leaves, onions, and some pineapple.
Chiles en Nogada
The Chiles en nogada was made by nuns and is said to that it was around the time Mexican independence. It certainly is one of the most patriotic dishes of Mexico, with all the three colors of the Mexican flag incorporated into the food.
This dish features poblano chiles. The poblano chiles are stuffed with picadillo (which is ground beef, tomato, olives, and other ingredients) then topped off with nogada (cream sauce based on walnuts). The final touch to complete it is by adding pomegranate seeds and parsley on top.
The dish is usually eaten during August and September. The meal corresponds with the Mexican Independence celebrations.
The word "enchiladas" simply means "dipped in chilis." It isn't surprising to find this dish in Mexico as the country's cuisine is often described as spicy and colorful and tasty. The origin of this dish goes back to even Mayan times. The enchiladas used to not have fillings and were commonly fried.
The enchilada is a dish that comprises corn tortilla rolled around a filling and then covered in chili and tomato sauce. The most common fillers in an enchilada are meat, beans, vegetables, coriander, potatoes, and any combination of these things. The toppings usually include cheese, sliced avocados, salsa, sour cream, and cilantro.
Elote is a corn on the cob on a stick. Although it may sound simple, it's delicious and is usually served with toppings. That includes cotija cheese, some lime juice, chili powder, salt, and spices.
It still tastes great without the toppings, so this is great for a quick snack.
Some Popular Mexican Beverages
Aside from tequila, the most consumed beverage in Mexico is beer.
This beverage is so popular that it is probably the most famous tequila-based cocktail you know. It is a mixture of lime juice, Cointreau, and of course, tequila. You can enjoy it chilled, frozen, or on the rocks.
Corn is so popular in Mexico that is is not only eaten but also an important ingredient of one of their popular beverages, the Atole.
Atole is a corn-based drink that Mexicans enjoy during breakfast or after dinner. It is thick, but the consistency depends on the type of corn starch used. mexicans use piloncillo to sweeten this beverage.
Licuado means blended or liquefied. This beverage gained fame in the 1990's and is also known as "batido", this one is a mixture of milk, fresh fruit, and ice. It is considered a nutritious drink because it may also contain honey, nuts, and medicinal spices such as cinnamon, cloves, or vanilla.
This one is also combination of nutritious foods such as cucumber, fruits, seeds, flowers, and cereal, and it is a non-alcoholic beverage.
You can enjoy it in a variety of fruity flavors just like guava, orange, lemon, and mango.
Some Food Festivals of Mexico
Three Kings Festival
The three kings festival celebrates the three kings that visited baby Jesus and gave him three gifts. This festival is celebrated throughout Mexico, but the most festive of all is at Cajititlan de Los Reyes. On the night before the Epiphany, families eat together and enjoy the Rosca de Reyes (Three Kings Bread). It's an oval-shaped Mexican bread decorated with crystallized fruit. They enjoy this with some Mexican hot chocolate or any warm drink. Oh, and whoever finds the little baby Jesus in their bread, at Candlemas, they get everyone tamales!
Corn and Tortilla Fair
This festival is celebrated in Santiago Tepalcatlalpan. This event features Mexico's staple grain. Mexican food based on corn and tortilla is present here like tlacoyos and esquites.
Ice Cream Festival
At this festival at Tulyehualco, you get to enjoy the ice cream from over 80 ice cream makers! This is a 127-year-old tradition that grew from the people of Tulyehualco making frozen treats nearby snow-capped volcanoes.
Let's have a Mexican Dinner Party!
Beside Mexican Animals and Mexican Plants we of course had to explore the cuisine! Since we have it all together now why not take this months' Tutorials together and have a Mexican Dinner Party? Create some Donut Boxes you can use for a Nacho Starter, the Treat Boxes as a little present and, last but not least, let's create our own Terrazzo Coasters so we have a beautiful looking table!