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The Traditional Cuisine of Mexico - Food and Drinks

The Traditional Cuisine of Mexico - Food and Drinks

. 8 min read

Mexican gastronomy has a great variety of products that allow you to season your dishes with intense flavors and different qualities. Its regional dishes are surprising for the palate of the millions of tourists who visit the country.

Next, you have an index with all the points that we are going to treat in this article.

Main dishes

The main dishes of Mexican gastronomy are usually accompanied by sauces, either spicy or with other softer ingredients such as avocado. Both beef and chicken are very present, as are the famous beans and tortillas. In the following sections, we show you the most outstanding.

Enchiladas

Enchiladas are similar to tacos, but with a lot of spice, no cereals inside and plenty of cheese. Some people grill them in the oven not only because of the cheese that covers them but also because of the cheese inside. As usually happens with this type of food, there are different recipes depending on the region.

Depending on the style of preparation, the enchilada can be served with turkey, chicken or beef, or simply with cheese. There are also areas where it is accompanied by an extra garnish made with raw onion, chopped or sliced, cream, cheese, and lettuce.

For example, in Guanajuato, the so-called “enchiladas mineras” are prepared, while in Monterrey it is common to fill them with fresh cheese and fry them in a little oil. In addition, they are usually served with chips, lettuce, and tomato, as if it were a salad. In Sinaloa, for their part, they are called “enchiladas del suelo” and you can see how they are prepared in the following video:

Tacos

The popular Mexican tacos are corn tortillas stuffed with chicken or any other variety of meat, red, green and yellow chiles, tomatoes and onions. It can be said that they are a classic in any Mexican food and, probably, one of its most internationally known dishes.

The simple act of rolling a tortilla on itself can already be considered a “taco”. The consumption of corn tortillas rolled in this way is very common in Mexico when eating soup or some other dish of liquid consistency.

The most elaborate and popular tacos around the world are those that are filled with some dressing inside. Of this type, three varieties can be found: tacos al pastor, tacos de salsa and flutes, the latter being the most consistent variant since in this case the tacos are fried.

Fajitas

Fajitas are one of the most popular and consumed dishes in Tex-Mex gastronomy, which means it is popular in both Mexico and the southwestern United States. This dish consists of grilled strips of meat along with a variety of vegetables, including onions, chiles, carrots, sweet corn, and more.

According to the most widespread story about the history of this dish, its invention is due to the Mexican cowboys who worked in Texas (United States) during the 1930s. At mealtime, they were always given the hardest parts of the cow, so they had to cook that meat very carefully to make it edible.

Burritos

This is a dish very similar to fajitas and tacos, as burritos also consist of a corn tortilla or wheat flour stuffed with grilled meat and some vegetables, such as chiles, although both meat and vegetables are optional ingredients.

The main difference is that they include fried beans, an ingredient that cannot be missing in this dish, and that the tortilla is closed at one end.

In fact, burritos are the fried version of tacos, which is why they are also known as flutes or tacos de harina. Their origin is in the state of Guanajuato, although in Yucatan a burrito is known as coçito, while in Cuernavaca simply as taco.

White Pozole

In fact, there are also red versions of this white pozole (like the one made in Jalisco) and the green version (common on the Michoacán Coast). It is a soup made from a specific type of corn known as cacahuazintle, to which pork or chicken is added as a complementary ingredient.

The basic recipe includes as a basic ingredient corn grain of the type cacahuazintle or cacahuacintle, that is, a variety of corn originating in Mexico whose grain is whiter, tender and rounder than usual.

The peculiarity of this type of corn lies in the fact that, when its grains boil, they open in the shape of a flower and release a kind of foam, and this is the reason why they are used in the pozole.

Empanadas

Empanadas, really, are taken all over Latin America. Thus, for example, it is one of the typical dishes par excellence of Argentine cuisine. Nowadays, however, it has crossed barriers and is cooked almost anywhere in the world.

In Mexico, where they are popularly known as “antojitos mexicanos,” the recipe varies by region. In the north, empanadas filled with sweet ingredients are common; in the coastal areas, fish and seafood are added. In Oaxaca, different varieties of a mole are added, and in the city of Pachuca (Hidalgo) it is common to add meat and potatoes.

Totopos

Today, totopos, better known internationally as nachos, are famous all over the world. They are small tortillas made from corn or fried wheat flour and given a triangular shape.

Normally, they are served covered with abundant cheese, but other ingredients are also added, such as jalapeño peppers or any other variety of chile (usually a spicy one).

Quesadillas

Quesadillas also include corn or wheat tortillas and its main ingredient is cheese, hence its name. They are grilled or grilled and cheese is added until it is melted. If only one tortilla is used, then they are served folded.

If one tortilla is placed on top of the other (so that the cheese and the rest of the ingredients are filled), then they are called synchronized. When ingredients other than cheese are included, they are often simply called hems.

Shrimp in Aguachile

Shrimp in aguachile, also known simply as aguachile, is an original Mexican dish from the Sinaloa region. Its basic ingredient is shrimp, although other complementary ingredients are also added to enhance its flavor.

Thus, in summary, the main ingredients of this dish are shrimp, cucumbers, chopped serrano peppers, cilantro, lemon juice, maggi (seasoning) juice, red onion, salt, and pepper.

Huarache

This dish is called huarache because its shape is reminiscent of the sandals of the same name worn by the indigenous people of Mexico. It is made with corn dough, thicker than tortillas, and its shape is usually oval.

They are grilled and covered with various ingredients, including beans, lettuce, fresh cheese, sauces and the main filling, which is usually chicken meat, although there are also steaks and chorizo.

Oaxaca cheese

This particular variety of cheese is also known as string cheese or quesillo. It is a white cheese and medium-hard cow, whose origin is located in the region of Central Valleys (Oaxaca).

It is an excellent cheese to be melted and, in fact, thanks to this characteristic is used as a basic ingredient of the aperitif known as flaming cheese, which also carries red chorizo. It is also the cheese used to make quesadillas.

Panela cheese

Panela cheese is a fresh cheese very popular in Mexico and looks similar to goat cheese and ricotta cheese from Italian cuisine. It is soft to the touch, white and brittle like the feta cheese of Greek cuisine, because, in fact, this cheese is inherited from the gastronomy of Greece. It is used to accompany salads, tacos, chiles or burritos, among others.

Banderillas

The banderillas are nothing more than sausage empanadas with dough fried in oil, so they are crunchy. They are served on a brochette and some spicy sauce is added, such as tabasco. They are a very popular aperitif in Mexico.

Mexican Cakes

The Mexican cake is a kind of sandwich made of bread, which can be telera bread, birote or bolillo. It is cut in half and filled with various foods, which vary according to the region where it is served. They can be served hot or cold and can be found in places called torterías or in street stalls.

They are usually dressed in mayonnaise, cream, tomato, beans, mustard and any variety of chili, even with several chiles at once, and also include typical Mexican sauces, such as guacamole. In 2014, the Feria de la Torta (Cake Fair) was held, in which more than 90 exhibitors prepared their own version of the famous Mexican cake.

Chicken with pipián sauce

Chicken in pipián sauce is chicken seasoned with the famous Mexican pipián sauce, which is prepared with pumpkin seeds and green chile, which gives it its characteristic greenish color. The chicken is cooked with garlic and onion and then covered with the sauce.

Fish Ceviche

Ceviche is one of Mexico’s most traditional dishes and is generally consumed throughout Latin America. It is made from white fish, such as hake, sole, corvina, etc. and may also include seafood.

These ingredients are added cilantro branches, red onions, red chiles, lemon, pepper, and salt. The final result resembles a kind of fish salad.

Chicken wings in BBQ sauce

Chicken wings in barbecue sauce are an international dish, but those prepared in Mexico are distinguished by including chipotle chiles, which are considered the hottest dry chili variety.

Ranch eggs

Some say that the origin of the term huevos rancheros goes back to the time when day laborers worked on their ranches, whose daily breakfast was this dish and hence its name. This dish is also known as Desayuno ranchero.

It consists of fried eggs accompanied by two tortillas of corn or wheat flour also fried. They are covered with ratatouille, cilantro leaves, and spicy chiles. Beans or rice may also be included.

Yucatec Tamales

There are four varieties of Yucatecan tamales. They are similar to Venezuelan hallacas, but unlike these, they are steamed or baked.

The best-known type of tamale is the leafless tamale, known under the name of tzacol, a term from the Mayan language that means God of Heaven and is applied to this food because it is said to be a delicacy of the gods of heaven.

They are prepared with chicken and pork stew in achiote, which are introduced into a corn dough. The most traditional way to cook them is in underground ovens. In addition, there are two varieties: on the one hand, the baked ones and, on the other hand, the strained tamale.

Chiles

Chilies are actually peppers. It has been an indispensable ingredient in Mexican food since Prehistoric times when recipes were invented that are still being cooked today. Its origin is from Mexico and, in general, from South and Central America. There are them with a great diversity of shapes and colors, spicy and softer. They can be eaten dry or fresh. Here are some of the best-known chiles.