Thursday, June 30, 2022
Monday, June 27, 2022
Friday, June 24, 2022
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
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Saturday, June 18, 2022
Wednesday, June 15, 2022
The other basic ingredient in all parts of Mexico is the chile pepper. Mexican food has a reputation for being very spicy, but it has a wide range of flavors and while many spices are used for cooking, not all are spicy. Many dishes also have subtle flavors. Chiles are indigenous to Mexico and their use dates back thousands of years. They are used for their flavors and not just their heat, with Mexico using the widest variety. If a savory dish or snack does not contain chile pepper, hot sauce is usually added, and chile pepper is often added to fresh fruit and sweets.
The importance of the chile goes back to the Mesoamerican period, where it was considered to be as much of a staple as corn and beans. In the 16th century, Bartolomé de las Casas wrote that without chiles, the indigenous people did not think they were eating. Even today, most Mexicans believe that their national identity would be at a loss without chiles and the many varieties of sauces and salsas created using chiles as their base.
Many dishes in Mexico are defined by their sauces and the chiles those sauces contain (which are usually very spicy), rather than the meat or vegetable that the sauce covers. These dishes include entomatada (in tomato sauce), adobo or adobados, pipians and moles. A hominy soup called pozole is defined as white, green or red depending on the chile sauce used or omitted. Tamales are differentiated by the filling which is again defined by the sauce (red or green chile pepper strips or mole). Dishes without a sauce are rarely eaten without a salsa or without fresh or pickled chiles. This includes street foods, such as tacos, tortas, soup, sopes, tlacoyos, tlayudas, gorditas and sincronizadas. For most dishes, it is the type of chile used that gives it its main flavor. Chipotle, smoked-dried jalapeño pepper, is very common in Mexican cuisine.
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Sunday, June 12, 2022
Despite the introduction of wheat and rice to Mexico, corn is the most commonly consumed starch in almost all areas of the country and serves as the main ingredient in many local recipes (e.g. corn tortillas, atole, pozole, menudo, tamal). While also eaten fresh, most corn is dried, nixtamalized and ground into a dough called masa. This dough is used both fresh and fermented to make a wide variety of dishes from drinks (atole, pozole, etc.) to tamales, sopes, and much more. However, the most common way to eat corn in Mexico is in the form of a tortilla, which accompanies almost every dish. Tortillas are made of corn in most of the country, but other versions exist, such as wheat in the north or plantain, yuca and wild greens in Oaxaca.
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Thursday, June 9, 2022
Monday, June 6, 2022
Mexican cuisine is a complex and ancient cuisine, with techniques and skills developed over thousands of years of history. It is created mostly with ingredients native to Mexico, as well as those brought over by the Spanish conquistadors, with some new influences since then. Mexican cuisine has been influenced by its proximity to the US-Mexican border. For example, burritos were thought to have been invented for easier transportation of beans by wrapping them in tortillas for field labor. Modifications like these brought Mexican cuisine to the United States, where states like Arizona further adapted burritos by deep frying them, creating the modern chimichanga.
In addition to staples, such as corn and chile peppers, native ingredients include tomatoes, squashes, avocados, cocoa and vanilla, as well as ingredients not generally used in other cuisines, such as edible flowers, vegetables like huauzontle and papaloquelite, or small criollo avocados, whose skin is edible. Chocolate originated in Mexico and was prized by the Aztecs. It remains an important ingredient in Mexican cookery.
Vegetables play an important role in Mexican cuisine. Common vegetables include zucchini, cauliflower, corn, potatoes, spinach, Swiss chard, mushrooms, jitomate (red tomato), green tomato, etc. Other traditional vegetable ingredients include Chili pepper, huitlacoche (corn fungus), huauzontle, and nopal (cactus pads) to name a few.
European contributions include pork, chicken, beef, cheese, herbs and spices, as well as some fruits.
Tropical fruits, many of which are indigenous to Mexico and the Americas, such as guava, prickly pear, sapote, mangoes, bananas, pineapple and cherimoya (custard apple) are popular, especially in the center and south of the country.
Edible insects have been enjoyed in Mexico for millennia. Entemophagy or insect-eating is becoming increasingly popular outside of poor and rural areas for its unique flavors, sustainability, and connection to pre-Hispanic heritage. Popular species include chapulines (grasshoppers or crickets), escamoles (ant larvae), cumiles (stink bugs) and ahuatle (water bug eggs).
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