Mexican food is popular all around the world. From tacos and enchiladas and nachos, Mexican influence can be seen anywhere. The signature of traditional Mexican recipes are the crafts of enticing, aromatic smells that herald the rich flavours , fragrant spices that are blend and trapped inside. However, it is not all true that Mexican recipes are all heavily spiced and hot. Some recipes have subtle flavour to allow the true taste of good quality produce to shine through such as vegetable soups.
It well said that “cuisine is culture”, i.e. that food and their method of preparation of a country is greatly influenced by the culture as well as the climatic condition and geography of that country. Thus to understand the development of Mexican cuisine it is important to know something of the history of Mexico. Most today’s Mexican food came from the ancient tradition such the Aztec and Maya combined with culinary trends introduced by Spanish colonists.
Mexican cuisine is almost 9000 years old. In pre Columbian period diet of the Mexican people was native and natural completely based on agriculture. Corn happened to be their staple. Locally grown and plentiful, they could take the corn and produce many food staples from it. It was eaten boiled or mashed to form the tortillas or tamales, or dried to produce flour to make various other products. Almost all Mexican food dishes include some form of tortilla or tamale product. Usually, these tortillas would be filled with ingredients such as meat, rice, beans, or vegetables, or any combination of those.
The diet of corn was supplemented with vegetables and meat. Mexican recipe consist of a great variety of spice known as chile which could be combined with the sweet potato, beans, squash, “chayote”, and “jicama”. Certain herbs were also use dot add flavour to the dishes such as “los quelites”, “quintoniles”, “huazontles”, and a wide range of mushrooms. Indigenous animals like deer, rabbits, armadillos, raccoons, “tepezcuintles”, and birds such as turkeys, pigeons, and quails could also be served. Even turtles, snakes, and frogs could be made to complement the Native American plate.
The ancient Mexican food was greatly influenced by Indian and Spanish traders. The blend of old Mexican cuisine with the new Indian spices and Spanish ingredients created the traditional dishes of Mexico we taste today. Some of the most popular dishes are:
- Guacamole, a common dip style popular food of today. It is cooked by avocados and tomatoes and meant to be eaten with tortillas.
- Enchiladas, another popular dish which are basically tortillas filled with a large variety of preparation of different meats, cheeses and vegetables, sipped in sauce and baked.
- Empanadas are the type of pastries which are commonly filled with fruits but sometimes with meat as well. They are cooked by wrapping dough around the stuffing.
- Mexican rice, Commonly called as Spanish rice as well. Most popular rice dish of Mexican cuisine well known for its orange hue and Mexican flavour.
- Chile Rellenos, Cook from green chilly stuffed with cheese sipped in egg batter fried till golden brown.
- Flan, It’s a very popular desert dish of Mexico.
- Tres Leches Cake, This is creamy custard like cake soaked with milk.
- Salsa Mexicana, Known as “pico de gallo” in some areas. Made with fresh tomatoes, cilantro, onions and lime juice.
- Carnitas, It is a type of pork. Cooked in its own fat until crispy. Used as stuffing for enchiladas and tortilla.
- Shrimp Ceviche, Well known appetizer and a sea food.
- Chile Verde, A chicken or pork dish served with hot stew of chilly.
Love for the Mexican dishes is an appreciation not only for the constant process of discovery of the right combination of ingredients but also for the great imagination of Mexicans Flavours from all over the world have influenced the Mexican cuisine a lot. And it is would not be wrong to say that Mexican traditional cuisine have also left a influence in other nations cuisines.