Mexican Cuisine, which also figures among UNESCO’s list of World’s Intangible Cultural Heritage, is famous worldwide among food lovers, owing to its colorful and spicy nature. This cuisine incorporates within its recipes and techniques the native ways as well as the Spanish influences dating back to Mexico’s colonization during the 16th century. Local terrains, various ingredients available according to the location, the fusion of American and European cooking procedures all add distinctive features and flavors to the Mexican Cuisine.
The basic foods used throughout Mexico include Beans, Corn and Chilli Peppers. These along with the ingredients incorporated from the European influences, (mainly Spanish, also German and French) make Mexican Cuisine a tasteful culinary delight.
Mexican Cuisine has an extremely rich history dating back to the pre Hispanic period. Chilli Peppers have been a significant constituent in Mexican foods since 7000 BCE. Corn has also been an unavoidable ingredient in Mexican kitchens. The native Mesoamerican techniques and dishes have not lost their presence even today. Even after the incorporation of fast food culture, and the haute-cuisine, the Mexican way of cooking is incorporated alongside. The Spanish Conquest also brought about various European influences, most clear of them includes the addition of such ingredients as meat, cheese, and other dairy products. Herbs, tropical fruits are some other ingredients which were included among the Mexican recipes as a result of the adoption of certain ways of the colonial rulers. French influence on the Mexican cuisine is very easily seen in the bakeries, mostly through the various different sorts of breads that are available there. Mexican food offers many mouthwatering delicacies for food lovers, besides which it is also a significant element of Mexico’s social and cultural history.
Corn, beans and chilli peppers are three ingredients which are generally found in all Mexican dishes. Corn is used in different dishes in different ways. Chilli peppers too are the most common feature of Mexican cuisine and lend it its world renowned spicy nature. They are also used for flavoring purposes. There are many ingredients which are unique to the Mexican food processes. Huauzontle, criollo avocadoes, for instance are some of the ingredients, others are obtained from edible flowers, and these add a distinctive taste to the Mexican food.
Many varied fruits are used in Mexican Cuisines including papaya, pineapple, pear, mangoes, zapote, and guava to name a few. As is evident tropical fruits are more popular, other common ingredients include tomatoes, vanilla, chocolate and cocoa. Courtesy the European influence, Mexican dishes also make use of many herbs such cilantro, thyme, laurel, parsley among others. Cheese has become a popular ingredient, and various kinds of cheese are produced in different parts of Mexico. Dairy products were introduced to the people of Mexico mostly due to the Spanish colonization, so was meat. Beef, Chicken, Turkey, Sea food are all available in various mouth watering Mexican dishes.
The Mexican meal constitutes of breakfast, comida or the main meal, and the evening meal. Breakfast is an elaborate affair, and consists of heavy dishes. Dishes most commonly served during the breakfast include tacos, meat, eggs, and enchiladas. Enchiladas are a famous Mexican dish, it includes meat or cheese wrapped in a tortilla, and usually served with chilli sauce. Tortillas are a common feature of Mexican cuisine; they are flat and thin pancakes that can have different mouth watering fillings that can include rice, cream, seafood, cheese or simply chilli peppers. Drinks with the breakfast include coffee or juice; it is mostly accompanied with white bread. The evening meal consists of chocolate or other drinks accompanied by sweet breads. The dinner, locally called the Comida opens with soup or dry soup. Onions and garlic are used to flavor rice or in some instances pasta and this makes up the dry soup. The main course of the main meal includes meat in sauce.
Tortillas and fruit juices are usually served along with the meat. There are many Mexican dishes that are specific to various festivals; the most significant among these is Mole. Served on general festivals like Christmas and Easter, Mole is also a food served during family functions like birthdays and weddings. Mole is a flavorful sauce, the main ingredients include chocolate and chilli peppers giving it its spicy taste. It is a very famous Mexican sauce.
Various drinks are specific to Mexico, such as atole, tepache and aguas frescas. Tequila too is a Mexican spirit (made of agave). Corn in various forms is the base of many a Mexican beverages. Fruits, chocolate, sugar, water, rice and flowers are some other ingredients that are commonly used. Mexican street food adds many more flavors. Common street foods include tacos, tortas, alambres, and tamales among others.
Corn and Chilli peppers are two distinctive components of Mexican food. Different kinds of chilli peppers are used in different food preparations. Mexican sauces which are made using various chilli peppers are used with almost all dishes that are served here. Many times the fruits and sweet dishes too have a smattering of chilli peppers. The drinks too contain corn as a major ingredient. Tortilla the most common form of eating corns is made using the dough that is prepared after treating dried corn with lime.
Some of the most common and popular Mexican dishes include tortilla, enchiladas, tacos, torta, tamales, fajita, nachos among others. Torta includes rolls made of French breads and stuffed with varied things like cream to hot chilli pepper. Tamale has fillings that can include meat or vegetables, and sometimes fruits or cheese too. The stuffing is filled within the cover made using the dough prepared of corns. Tacos have the fillings of spicy beans and meat within a tortilla. Taco chips are consumed as snacks.
The street vendors, juice stands and various restaurants across Mexico provide easy access to all kinds of dishes and drinks. The flavors, colors and the spicy taste of Mexican Cuisine leave all food lovers with a culinary experience and a taste to relish.