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Please share your favorite tried and tested Mexican recipes under this topic.
Expat Focus Moderator
- Forum Leader - Mexico
MEXICAN CUISINE & RECIPE BOOK
Compiled by Bob Cox
When the conquistadors came to Mexico, they were looking for gold, but what they brought back to Spain was more important. They returned with tomatos, corn, squash, chiles, vanilla, oregano, bans, pumpkins, chocolate and many other crops that the Indians of that era grew successfully.
Anytime you eat in an Italian restaurant, think of Mexico. Because without the spices and vegetables of the new world, Italian food would never have evolved into what it is today.
It is said that the Emperor Moctezuma feasted each day on more than thirty different dishes usually served with a foamy chocolate drink.
Unfortunately, no cookbooks were written describing how these dishes were prepared, but it was noted that they did contain the meat of wild game and were served with tortillas and a great variety of sauces along with beans, squash, tomatoes, fruits, tamales and ended with a desert of chocolates.
Many of these dishes were spiced with hot chiles, so when the conquistadors found that these new concoctions didn’t kill the Indians, they began to try them themselves and the love of chiles spread around the world.
Corn is the centerpiece of Mexican cooking; it was the main crop of the Aztecs. The Indians would use a stone mortar and pestle (known as a molcajete) to grind dried kernels into cornmeal, which was used to make atole (a drink known to American colonists as corn mush or gruel). Atole is still a popular morning breakfast drink and you can see it being sold on the street corners in many places in Mexico.
The Aztecs would also soak corn kernels in a solution of lime water to soften them and peel the skins off. The result of this is pozole (hominy), which was either cooked as a soup or ground into a dough from which tortillas were made. This method is still used today.
The Aztecs were adept at using clay implements for baking and wrapping food in cornhusks and banana leaves and steaming them in covered pits.
Tamales come in a great variety of shapes and flavors. Some are sweet with raisons or cream, while others are spiced with red or green chilis and contain chicken or pork, or perhaps jalapeño peppers. Tamales from Vera Cruz are wrapped in banana leaves.
Mexican cooking is a blend of Indian, Spanish, French and Creole in that they all contributed something to make one of the world’s most popular ethnic foods.
Modernization, Americanization and different work habits have done away with the traditional BIG dinners in the Mexican home ― unless it’s a special party ― so you can see Mexicans snacking at street vendor stands at all times of the day. Vendors sell tacos, tamales, sandwiches on hard rolls, fruit salads, Jello, atole, baked sweet potatoes, fried bananas and fried pies containing a great variety of different ingredients from cheese to chicken to mushrooms, etc.
Chili con carne is really a Texas dish prepared by Mexican descendants living in Texas when it was a part of the Mexican frontier. The closest thing to it is a dish called picadillo, but it’s still considered an American “Tex-Mex” dish.
Avocados, which grow in many places in Mexico and in great varieties, show up in many Mexican dishes. Hass variety avocados are grown in the states of both Atlixco and Puebla. It is Mecca to avocado growers of california. The California avocado crop was once wiped out by a plague and Atlixco avocados allowed growers to replant.
Due to much immigration, the Latin American sections of super markets in the US have expanded greatly in the last few years. Now, families living in the US can easily purchase ingredients for many dishes that were almost impossible to buy in years past.
Americans might now see an unusually vegetable and wonder what it is or how to cook it. Hopefully, this booklet will help you solve that problem and expand your cooking horizons.
Chili peppers are natural stimulants and are loaded with vitamins. The ingredient that makes them hot is Capsaicin. If you eat small amounts of chills, you will slowly build up immunity to this spice.
The hottest part of the chili is the seeds. Veins and skins remove these and a good deal of the heat will be removed, too. You can “skin” a chili by charring it over open flames and putting it in a plastic bag to sweat after which the skin comes off easily.
I suggest wearing gloves for this operation and washing your hands thoroughly and be care not to touch tender parts of your body, i.e., mouth, nose, eyes, etc., afterward.
BOB COX’S FAVORITE RECIPES
Having friends over? You probably won’t be able to make enough of this dip.
Avocado Dip or Guacamole
4 ripe avocados
1 clove of garlic (minced)
2 small green serrano chilis
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup mayonnaise
Salt to taste, but add salt at the last minute.
1 small onion (minced)
Mash avocados in a bowl, cut stem from chilis, roll between thumb and index finger to deseed them. Then mince. Add chilis, garlic sour cream and mayonnaise together and puree with a fork.
If you prefer California-style dip, add tomato and minced onion. Avocados, like apples, will oxidize rapidly, salt will cause this to happen more rapidly so wait until the last to add the avocado. Mexicans claim that putting avocado seeds on top of the dip will slow down the oxidation process. Also, a thin layer of mayonnaise will help, which can be stirred into the dip at serving time. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The less air that gets inside the bowl, the better the dip will taste. Serve with chips.
Serves four people.
Red Chile Salsa
5 Ancho chilis
1 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon chili pequin
5 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
½ cup chopped onions
¼ teaspoon minced garlic
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
½ teaspoon salt
dash of black pepper
1 tablespoon cider vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
Tear Ancho chilis in half, destem and brush out seeds. Tear into pieces and put in a bowl, cover with boiling water and soak for 30 minutes. Combine chili pequin, anchos, tomatoes, onion and garlic in a blender with ¼ cup of water from chili anchos and blend into a puree. In a small skillet, add oil, heat over a moderate flame, add salt, pepper, parsley and vinegar. Remove from heat. Refrigerate for up to five days. Serve with cooked meats, tortillas and chips.
10 chile verdes (serranos)
10 large tomatoes
1 small onion
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp. Cilantro leaves
3 tsps. Olive oil
1 tsp. Salt
½ cup wine vinegar
Put everything except the last three ingredients in a blender and chop fine, then stir in the vinegar, oil and salt.
SALSA VERDE (Green sauce)
6 chili serranos
½ lb. Tomatillos
2 garlic cloves
1 cup cilantro leaves
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon salt
Put washed tomatillos in a frying pan and toast lightly to enhance the flavor. Also, toast the chiles and garlic. Put everything in a blender and puree for one minute.
PICO DE GALLO (Rooster’s Beak)
5 tomatoes diced
1 medium onion diced
1 cup cilantro leaves
10 deseeded green serrano chiles chopped fine
Juice of 1 lime
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Goes great with tacos and tostadas.
Fry tortillas until golden brown. Spread with refried beans (canned), cover with quesillo cheese or Monterrey Jack shredded, chopped onion, diced tomatoes, green or red sauce, small amount of sour cream.
FRIED BANANAS (Plantains)
2 large plantain bananas peeled and cut on the diagonal (1/2 inch each).
¼ stick melted butter in a frying pan
Fry slices to a golden brown, sprinkle with cream and sugar.
Rompope is a traditional Christmas drink, but the commercial variety can be found in liquor stores year ‘round. However, nothing can beat the taste of homemade.
2 qts. Milk
2 lbs sugar
3 cups rum
10 egg yolks beaten until thick
dash of cinnamon and powdered cloves and nutmeg
Boil milk, spices and sugar until thick, cool, remove from heat and slowly add rum, then slowly add eggs while constantly cooking.
½ lb. Pork loin cut in 1 inch cubes
4 cups of tomatillos
3 chili serranos
1 garlic clove
1 small onion chopped
2 cups cut green beans
3 cups zucchini squash cut in circles
1 tablespoon oil
2 cups of salt water
Place oil in pot, heat and saute pork until brown, then add water. Meanwhile, blend tomatillos, garlic and chilis, place in pot with meat. Add onions, zucchini and green beans. Bring to a boil on low heat and simmer for about one hour covered or until the green beans are done.
Tortillas go stale very quickly, so when you have some left over, here’s what you can do with them:
Tear the tortillas into small pieces and fry in a large pan until slightly crispy. Then add green sauce or red sauce to cover well, moving to coat well. Sprinkle with grated cheese and sour cream. Serve with a fried egg and freshly made pinto beans.
1 oz. Tequila
1 oz. Lime juice
½ oz. Triple sec
Shake with cracked ice and pour into a glass. Moisten the rim of glass with lime juice and rub with salt sprinkled on a napkin.
Jicamas are tubers grown in Mexico, and also in Asia. They look like odd shaped potatoes, but their taste is somewhere between a potato, apple or a radish. Peel the jicama and cut into thin ¼ inch slices. Rub with lime and sprinkle with salt and/or chili power.
JALAPEÑO CHEESE NIBBLES
Grate ¼ lb. Cheddar cheese. Add 1 cup of mayonnaise, 1 finely chopped jalapeño and 2 tablespoons of juice from jalapeños, mix well and spread over your favorite cracker.
MEXICAN HANGOVER CURE
Take a good hot bath (preferably a steam bath), then drink a glass filled with the following:
½ cup of raw oysters
¼ cup catsup
½ teaspoon of chili power
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons of chopped onion
½ teaspoon of chopped serrano green chili
1 tablespoon minced cilantro leaves
Mix well and drink and eat this. It is often served in a milkshake glass.
When eating in a Mexican restaurant or home, you will sometimes hear the expression, “Buen provecho.” It means enjoy your meal, so I say to you, Buen provecho.
Un amigo a todo, pero un hombre sin un pais
3 Healthy Recipes Made from all OXXO ingredients!!
>> Traditional Avena (like Abuelita's)
1 cup dry oats
2 liters milk
1 stick cinnamon
pinch of salt
2 spoons of brown sugar (or to taste)
Add everything to a pot and cook on low heat until you can see the milk is starting to steam. Turn off heat and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately (or let sit overnight for even more amazing flavors the next day)
>> Traditional Beans de la Olla (also like Abuelita's)
1 package of black or pinto beans (cleaned and soaked overnight). Cook beans 1-2 hours or until softened (you can use an actual Olla pan or just a normal soup pan - I've used either without any taste difference). Add 1 tablespoon salt (or to taste). Saute 1/4 cup of onion in hot oil until it starts to turn black and add it to the bean water. Let cook an additional 10 minutes with onion and salt.
Serve with rice or eat with tortillas or tostadas. We love to thinly slice jalapenos, raw onion, salt and lime and pick at the marinated onions as an accompaniment.
>> Fresh Tostiloco Salad
1 whole Cucumber, peeled and diced. Add salt or Tajin to taste. Package of Peanuts Enchilados (Peanuts covered with salty/spicy flavor). Squeeze 1 lime over everything. Optional: additional mango, apple or jicama or Chaka Chaka (or other enchilado sweetened tamarindo or dried fruit pieces) as you are craving.
Mix everything together and serve chilled as a delicious mid-afternoon snack.
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