Mexican Food – The Evolution of This Tasty Cuisine
There are some types of Mexican food that everybody knows. Even if you rarely indulge in Mexican recipes, you will have heard of tacos, tortillas, and refried beans. Perhaps you have enjoyed some Tex Mex dishes and you are wondering how much that cuisine has in common with real authentic Mexican cooking.
Actually Mexican food is a melting pot of different cooking styles. Indian, Chinese, Spanish, African, and European influences are partly responsible for making Mexican food the delicious and varied cuisine it is today. So how exactly did Mexican food come to be what it is today?
Native Mexican Cooking
Before the Spanish conquistadors arrived on Mexican shores, Mexican food was a lot different. Meat was relatively scarce so beans and corn were than main staples because of their nutritional values. The coastal communities relied on seafood whereas the inland ones would have meat instead, at least sometimes. Heavy spices and chili peppers were used to give flavor to these native dishes.
When the Spanish arrived, they introduced onions, flour, wheat, chicken, cheese, cheese, garlic and more, and the Mexicans found ways to incorporate these new ingredients into their traditional Mexican recipes. The flour, for example, was used to make flour tortillas, which are, in turn, used in lots of other recipes.
Popular Mexican Recipe Ingredients
Cheese is something that a lot of people assume has been used in Mexican recipes for many years but the Spanish introduced that too. Today there are Mexican cheeses such as queso fresco, queso blanco, and panela, and these are wonderful for making quesadillas and enchiladas.
Beans, such as pinto beans and kidney beans, feature in many Mexican dishes such as soups, bean salad, refried beans, and casseroles. Lard and oil are used for cooking, so choose these instead of butter (which Mexicans rarely use) for a more authentic flavor.
Chilies are well loved by Mexican food fans and there are all different kinds of chilies. They can be powdered, dried, smoked, fresh, diced, or whole. Chili peppers are used to flavor many dishes from moles to sauces and casseroles. They range in flavor from the hot Serrano to the aromatic ancho and the piquant jalapeno.
Other Mouthwatering Mexican Meal Ingredients
Corn has been used since before the arrival of the Spanish settlers as one of the main nutritional sources. It can be cooked fresh or dried and then ground and mixed with liquid. Corn features in masa, corn tortillas, tortilla chips and lots more. Tomatoes are also frequently used in Mexican recipes and they are usually served raw, chopped up in salads or used as a garnish for tacos.
Fresh tomatoes are not usually cooked in authentic Mexican recipes. Red Mexican sauces usually get their color from chili peppers, not tomatoes. Canned tomatoes can be used to flavor rice dishes, as well as soups and casseroles though. A more unusual ingredient, but one with a wonderful flavor, is cactus. You can get special knives to remove the prickly spines.
A Word About Mole
No description of Mexican food is complete without a look at mole. Mole, which is pronounced, “moh-lay,” is one of the most traditional Mexican food recipes of all.
It is made with cocoa, peanuts and more than thirty different spices and flavorings. This sauce is popular with chicken or meat, the combination of cocoa, chilies, peanuts, and spices is amazing, and the flavor is so rich.
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