Cooking recipes from different cuisines like Mexican is a great way to bring variety into your diet and help you get adventurous in the kitchen; the options are nearly endless and can range from easy to challenging.
Blending elements of Mesoamerican and Spanish cuisine, Mexican food is popular all over the world thanks to its bright flavours, use of chillies and dishes that are made to be shared with family and friends. If popular dishes like fajitas and enchiladas are a favourite of yours then roll up your sleeves and get ready to bring the taste of Mexico home to your kitchen.
Elements of Mexican cooking
Mexican cuisine is underpinned by the flavours and ingredients native to Mexico; corn and chilli peppers are two staples of nearly every dish and are used in everything from Tortilla to sauces as a base flavour. Ingredients like tomatoes, squashes, avocados, cocoa and beans all feature regularly in Mexican dishes and can be easily found at your local supermarket. Spices like cinnamon, clove, cumin, along with herbs oregano, thyme, cilantro and epazote help give dishes their unique flavouring.
As a rule, ingredients in these dishes are fresh, simple and typically locally grown – the dishes you find in Mexico are much different than the Mexican-inspired foods that traditionally make up menus at Mexican restaurants in Britain and the United States.
At the heart of Mexican cooking is Antojitos – which translates as a ‘whim or sudden craving’. These can be eaten both as small appetisers or in larger portions as full meals and all feature corn masa or dough as a central component. Among the most popular dishes are:
- Tacos – Meat fish or vegetable wrapped in tortilla and garnished with salsa, onion and cilantro.
- Quesadillas – Folded tortilla with cheese and stuffed with chorizo, mushroom, garlic, and beans and then heated on a griddle.
- Enchiladas – Lightly fried tortillas filled with chicken or eggs and covered with a cooked salsa.
- Tostadas – Baked, crispy tortillas that are cooled and filled with toppings like beans, chicken, onion and avocado.
- Sopes – Small round masa shells cooked on a griddle with a thin layer of beans, salsa and cheese.
- Gorditas – Puffy masa cakes baked and then filled with a thin layer of fried beans.
- Chilaquiles – Crispy corn tortillas cooked in a tomato salsa until soft, then topped with cheese and sliced onions.
- Tamales – Masa stuffed with stewed meat, wrapped and steamed – each region in Mexico has its own unique recipe.
Finding the best Mexican recipes
Simple methods and ingredients make it easy to cook Mexican food at home without having to purchase costly equipment or hard-to-find ingredients. So when you’re ready to get going all that’s left to do is find a recipe and get started.
Guides like BBC’s Good Food offer a whole collection of Mexican recipes for both vegetarians and meat eaters. You can browse the recipes on offer and choose based on factors like how long it takes to make – important if you’re hungry – as well as how difficult the dish is to prepare.
In similar style, Food.com also has its own section of Mexican recipes and tabs make it easy to find the newest, most popular or quickest dishes to make. There’s also a photos tab which can help you visualise what each dish should look like once it’s prepared – especially handy if you have a dish in mind but aren’t quite sure what it’s called.
Finally, celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver and Thomasina Miers have each created a selection of Mexican recipes with their own unique twist and offer expert tips about how to recreate the dishes for your friends and family.
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