Useful Mexican Cooking Tips – Mexican Cooking at Its Best
A lot of Mexican cooking methods are similar to those used every day in many cultures, such as grilling, frying, and boiling. You might not have heard of the molcajete, or steaming bucket, however.
Traditional Mexican Cooking Methods
The first Mexican cooking method was heating everything over an open fire. Early Mexicans would use ceramic ware as well as cast iron pots. You can get a similar result today by grilling. Mexicans would also use steaming and they would hang meat wrapped in banana leaves or cactus leaves over boiling water in a deep pit. This method was called barbacoa. You can get similar results by using a Dutch oven.
Mexican Cooking Utensils
A lot of Mexican recipes are much easier to make today with modern utensils and conveniences. You can buy masa, which is cooked ground corn, rather than grinding your own. You can make homemade tortillas in cast iron pans, which have a rounded top, and bottom that you press together. Spring form pans make baking cakes and pies much easier.
Boiling and simmering are good ways to cook meat and vegetables. Put some meat and vegetables in a pan with plenty of water and spices or broth. Let it simmer slowly all day and by dinnertime the meat will be tender and you can use it for carnitas or shredded beef tacos.
You can get big steaming buckets to make a lot of tamales at once. The steam adds moisture to the masa. The traditional way to stir Mexican food was by using a wooden spoon and these are still in use today. Once you have your Mexican cooking utensils and Mexican cooking equipment you are ready to make some delicious Mexican recipes.
Cooking with Chili Peppers
One thing that new cooks often wonder is how to tone down spicy dishes because a lot of people are not used to heating spicy food. If you want to make a chili pepper less hot, there are a few things you can do.
You can cut the top of the chili off and remove the seeds, remove the ribs, which are the seed clusters attached to the inside of the chili and remove the inner layer of flesh. You can do this by removing both the top and bottom of the chili, slicing down one side, placing the chili flesh side down, and cutting the flesh away. You will be left with a much milder chili pepper.
Some Mexican recipes call for roast chilies and these are easy to make yourself. You can make them on a hot grill, on the broiler or on the stove using a metal steaming basket over an open flame.
How to Roast Chilies
To roast chilies on the stove, you need to clean them and dry them well. Preheat the stove and place the metal steamer over the open flame. Put the chilies over the heat and turn them every minute until about 50% of the skin is blackened. This will take five or ten minutes. Remove the chilies from the heat and put them in a plastic baggie. This steams the chilies so they keep cooking, making the skins easier to remove. Leave them in the Baggies for ten or fifteen minutes then take the skins off by rubbing the chilies. You can remove any sticking skin with a knife.
Use roast chilies straight away for the best flavor. They also freeze well so you can use them later when the Mexican cooking mood takes you.
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