Mexican food is relished across the globe no matter what the location of the place, courtesy multi-cuisine restaurants. Salsa, tortilla, consommé, burritos, various caldos, and quesadilla are a few dishes to name. Traditional Mexican recipes are deeply influenced by the various cultures that crossed this beautiful country. These are the native Mexican cultures of Aztec and Mayan people, the Spanish and French conquistadors, and lastly the Americans.
Mexican cooking is traditionally the cooking method of indigenous and down-to-earth pre-Hispanic native people of this land. They found out various cooking methods without much help from technology. In the early days, Mexican food relied heavily on corn and its various derivatives, mixed with various herbs and spices. They also used a large amount of beans, avocados, and nopal cactus, which are now replaced by tomatoes. Chili pepper and various types of corn formed the essential part of traditional Mexican cuisine.
Hence, Masa de maíz has been a distinguishing feature of this cuisine. In the Aztec era, a specific dough made of corn floor and lime water was included in cooking. The conquistadors then introduced rice, meat items like pork, beef, and turkey, vegetables, and fruits like tomato, sweet potato, garlic, onions, Jícama (yam), etc., to the traditional recipes. Traditional Mexican cuisine includes a lot of frying, grilling, and steaming. The use an oven started later, only after the arrival of the American people.
Barbacoa is actually a Mexican barbecue that is totally different from what we use today. It is a cooking method that consists of steaming and smoking the meat. Barbacoa adds certain aroma and moisture to the meat recipes. In this method, a cauldron filled with hot water is placed in a large pit, with coals at the bottom. At the top of the cauldron, a grill is placed on which the meat is kept wrapped in maguey leaves.
The meat is cooked with beans, spices, and various other vegetables that are then used for making the soup. Once Everything that is to be cooked is positioned, the pit head is closed with wet soil. Today, barbacoa is referred to as the "slowly cooked meat". The traditional barbacoa meat used to be the head of the cow. Most of the other meats that are an important part of the Mexican cooking today were introduced by the Spanish people.
Guisar means "to stew" in the Spanish language. Stewing has been popular throughout Mexico, except for the northern region of the country where barbecues are more popular. Various food items are made using different forms of meat, poultry, and vegetables that are cooked separately and then added in the traditional sauces, called mole and pipian. The traditional Mexican pottery form, called cazuelas, was used for the purpose of stewing. They have now been replaced by the modern-day ovens and microwaves.
Asar, or tostar, which means "dry roasting" utilizes the traditional clay griddle called comal. The recipes made by dry roasting methods involve no water or oil, and high heat cooking. The best known recipe prepared using asar method are the tortillas. These baking or dry roasting processes are used to roast the spices, chilies, and vegetables.
Pone a Sudar
The word Sudar means "sweating", and hence the process literally means "sweating the food". In this method, the chilies are kept directly on the flame and charred completely. The skins are removed once the chilies dry out. The traditional method was to remove the skins of the poblanos (mild chili pepper) before using them in recipes.There is one very tasty Mexican dish that is made using this method, known as rajas.
As we know, Mexican dishes are not prepared by deep frying the ingredients. It heavily relies upon sautéing, which is a process of enhancing the flavor of the spices and softening their texture. Mexican sautéing includes soft frying of the tortillas, enchiladas, and chilies. This helps them in absorbing the hot sauces that are poured on them later on.
Molar is the Spanish word for "grinding", which has been traditionally done by molcajetes, which gives extremely smooth textures to the salsas. Most of the herbs, spices, chilies, and tomatoes are ground and then used for cooking advantages. The corns that are used for the traditional tortillas are ground by metate, which is a traditional Mexican grinder.
Desflemar means to "neutralize" the chillies by soaking them in sauces. This is a very popular method, as most of the Mexican dishes use a lot of chillies. The chilies and onions drawn out of heat are directly dipped in water and vinegar or salt. This process helps the spices to retain their flavor. The best example of a desflemada dish is jalapeños
Famous Mexican cooking Recipes
- Salsa verde and Salsa rosa
- Cliles en nogada
- Pollo Mole poblano
- Arroz con leche
- Rosca de reyes
- Aztec Plaque
Talking about Mexican cooking can take days and still something would be left out, so I guess I better stop here. Go ahead and try making some Mexican delicacies. I can bet it will make your meal a saucy affair.