A Traditional Cooking Guide
There is nothing difficult about cooking Mexican food and a lot of Mexican recipes are incredibly easy. Mexican dishes often rely on good quality meat, poultry or seafood, as well as fresh seasonal produce and a variety of seasonings. You do not need any special equipment for Mexican cooking but you might find a few things helpful, especially if you discover that you like to make Mexican food. A comal, which is a Mexican griddle, is handy to have, and a mortar and pestle is great for crushing and grinding fresh herbs and spices. These items are used in traditional Mexican kitchens and you might find them timesaving.
Really Authentic Mexican Cooking
If you want to cook like a Mexican, it is important to take pride in your recipes. Use the best ingredients you can get, whether that is a great steak or some good quality fish. Cheap cuts of meat like skirt steak can also be used successfully if you slow cook them to make them tender. Use fresh, ripe fruit and vegetables and fresh herbs wherever possible. Mexican food recipes often look very tempting and you can use all kinds of colorful garnishes to make your food look even nicer. Traditional Mexican ingredients like avocado, queso fresco, Mexican vanilla beans, fresh cilantro and more will lend an air of authenticity to your Mexican recipes.
Think like a Mexican Cook
The best mindset to have when beginning to cook Mexican dishes is to try and think like a Mexican cook. Regardless of whether you are a novice in the kitchen or an experienced chef, starting to understand a new cuisine means starting from the beginning, understanding what it is that makes the cuisine great and trying to emulate it so you end up with authentic result. The first thing that comes to mind when considering Mexican cooking is how much Mexican cooks love to use fresh, seasonal produce.
Food which is locally grown is prized among Mexican cooks, and a lot of them will buy whatever is freshest and best at the local farmers’ market and then tailor their recipe around that, rather than finding a recipe first and then buying the ingredients to match it. Cook that way and you will be able to work great ingredients into your recipe and the wonderful flavors of the fresh produce will be evident, whether you are making a simple salsa or appetizer, or working on an entrée.
Fresh is Often Best
You will notice that most of our recipes recommend the use of fresh produce, such as fresh corn over canned corn, or fresh herbs over dried ones, although sometimes the canned version is fine to use if it does not make much difference in the finished dish. It is hard to talk about the joy of Mexican cooking without mentioning fresh produce, just because south of the border they are passionate about incorporating fresh ingredients into their dishes. The flavors, aromas and appeal of fresh items simply cannot be beat. Some Mexican dishes require marinating time, so it pays to read the recipe through before you begin, rather than start making something an hour before dinnertime and then realizing there is a 4 hour marinating period in the recipe.
You might wonder about making tweaks too, and that is nearly always possible, so you can usually swap lime juice for lemon juice, kidney beans for cannellini beans, or cilantro for basil. Use your own judgment so you end up with a delicious result. The more Mexican recipes you make, the more you will get used to this style of cooking, and figure out your own tweaks and substitutions, making these dishes your own.
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