Mexican cuisine is no less famous than Italian or Japanese, for example, and has dishes that make it instantly recognizable. Mexico is associated primarily with pungency and sauces – Mexicans are very fond of spicy chili peppers.
Mexican cuisine has historically been a mixture of Spanish and Native American culinary traditions. Indians began to work on the territory of the future capital with foods such as beans, corn, hot chili, spices, tomatoes and Mexican cactus. The Spaniards in the 16th century added barley, wheat, rice, meat, olive oil, wine and nuts to their diet. Of course, these foods were not limited to the menu, but these ingredients were the basis.
The hot Spaniards also donated cheese to Mexican cuisine, bringing domestic goats, sheep and cows to their territory. Sheep Manchego is considered to be the first Mexican cheese.
When we say Mexico, we think corn. The famous tortilla cakes are made from corn flour, corn is eaten with salt and seasonings for a side dish or snack, spicy or sweet porridge – tamales – is made. For cooking, corn leaves are also used, in which cooked food is wrapped after cooking. Popular in Mexico and corn starch, and corn oil, as well as corn sugar, which is obtained from special varieties of corn.
The second most popular side dish is beans, which they try to cook with as little seasoned as possible. Its task is to accompany those spicy dishes that Mexicans love so much. White rice plays a similar role.
Meat and seafood in Mexico is served with various sauces, the most popular of which is salsa – based on tomatoes and a lot of spices, as well as guacamole – avocado puree. The meat is preferably pork and beef, poultry is also popular, all of which are fried on the grill.
The hot seasoning of Mexicans is not only the famous chili of varying degrees of pungency, but also garlic, herbs, onions, bay leaves, Jamaican peppers, coriander seeds, peppercorns, thyme, caraway seeds, anise, cloves, cinnamon and vanilla. At the same time, soups in Mexico are served soft and somewhat bland in taste.
Tomatoes are very popular in Mexican cuisine. In this country, excellent harvests of the most delicious tomatoes in the world are harvested. Salads, sauces are prepared from them, they are added when cooking meat and vegetables, and they also drink juice and make mashed potatoes.
Among other vegetable foods, Mexicans also prefer avocado fruit with its inherent nutty flavor. Sauces, soups, desserts and salads are made on the basis of avocados.
Mexican bananas, which are large in size, are also used in national cuisine. They are fried in vegetable oil, porridge is boiled on their basis, dough for tortillas is prepared, and meat and garnish are wrapped in banana leaves.
Chili peppers are considered a highlight of Mexican cuisine, and more than 100 species of it are grown in this country. They all differ in taste, color, size, shape and intensity of spiciness. For Europeans, a special scale for assessing the pungency of a dish from 1 to 120 has been introduced. More than 20 – you try at your own peril and risk.
The most popular chili varieties:
chili ancho – has a mild flavor reminiscent of green bell peppers;
chili serrano – intense, medium pungent taste;
chili cayene (cayenne pepper) – very hot;
Chili chipotle is a very spicy variety and is used for marinades;
chili gualo – hot hot pepper;
chili tabasco – fragrant and hot-spicy, used to make sauce.
Mexico is tequila, you say, and it will be partly true. Partly because this country in its culinary traditions is not limited only to it. In Mexico, liquid chocolate, fruit juices, coffee are popular, and from alcohol – beer, tequila, rum and pulque.
The chocolate drink is not at all like our cocoa. It is prepared from melted chocolate, whipped with milk.
The traditional Mexican drink atoll is made from young corn, which is squeezed out of juice and mixed with sugar, fruits and spices.
The Mexicans prepare a tonic mate tea from palm leaves, which contains a lot of caffeine.
And from the fermented agave juice, the national drink pulque is prepared. It looks like milk, but it tastes like whey and contains alcohol. Tequila, which is so popular all over the world, is also prepared from agave. They drink it with lemon and salt.
The most popular Mexican dishes
Tortilla is a thin tortilla made from cornmeal. In Mexico, tortilla is an addition to any dish, like bread to us. For Mexicans, tortilla can also replace a plate, becoming the basis for an arbitrary dish.
Nachos – Corn tortilla chips. Often, nachos have a neutral taste and are served with hot sauces for alcoholic beverages.
A taco is a stuffed corn tortilla, traditionally made from meat, beans, vegetables, but can also be fruit or fish. The sauce is prepared for the tacos and sprinkled with hot cheese.
Enchilada is similar to tacos, but smaller in size. It is stuffed with meat and additionally fried or baked with chili sauce.
For burritos, the same tortilla is used, in which minced meat, rice, beans, tomatoes, salad are wrapped and seasoned with spices and sauce.