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A GUIDE TO MEXICAN CUISINE               By Swarupa N. Ovalekar                          Self-Published Edition           ...
Warning/DisclaimerThis eBook is designed to provide information about the subject matter covered. Itshould be used only as...
To my family for their love and support
CONTENTS     ABOUT THE AUTHOR                         1     ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS                         5 1   MEXICAN CUISINE...
GLOSSARY OF SPANISH WORDS                     87GLOSSARY OF MEXICAN SPANISH PRONUNCIATIONS   101PHOTO SECTION I           ...
ABOUT THE AUTHORSwarupa got into book writing in 2008. This was four months after her return from Mexicowhere she had spen...
Apart from her books, Swarupa is an intrepid traveller and a polyglot. She speaksEnglish, Spanish, German, French, Italian...
quick thinking, and ingenuity. When she explores new places and meets new people, she paints each ofthem with rich descrip...
and white political and geographical sketch maps of Mexico, this insightful eBook will appeal to everyperson interested in...
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSThis book is one of my three book series on Mexico, a labour of love and dedication that beganin 2008. The...
A Guide To Mexican Cuisine                                               1                            MEXICAN CUISINEMexic...
A Guide To Mexican Cuisine       The fine blend of the cuisines of different countries, their cooking techniques and anexo...
A Guide To Mexican Cuisineblanco, the crumbly queso fresco, the salty-flavoured panela and the soft ricotta-like requesón....
A Guide To Mexican Cuisine                                                2                  THE NATIVE MEXICAN DIETThe pr...
A Guide To Mexican Cuisinespices. The Aztec loved their cacao which was unsweetened. In fact, the only sweetenersavailable...
A Guide To Mexican Cuisine                                                3                             CORN AND BEANSTrad...
A Guide To Mexican Cuisinewhich accompanies just about every meal. Tortillas are made either from corn or wheat flour.Corn...
A Guide To Mexican Cuisinebeans, seeds of the native mamey fruit and flor de cacao (‘cocoa flower’). In the state of Jalis...
A Guide To Mexican Cuisinebean combination forms a complete protein. Apart from the corn-bean pair, only one other pairpro...
A Guide To Mexican Cuisine                                               4                            CHILE AND SALSAChile...
A Guide To Mexican Cuisine        Chiles lend a distinctive flavour to Mexican cuisine, which is also enhanced with herbss...
A Guide To Mexican Cuisine       The preparation of a salsa by combining chiles, tomatoes and other ingredients likepumpki...
A Guide To Mexican CuisineA traditional Mexican market Tamarind                               Dried red chillies
A Guide To Mexican Cuisine Fruits on display in the market Photo credit: © Flavorsofmexicancuisine.comNopal cactus leaves ...
A Guide To Mexican CuisineThe traditional corn masa (dough)   Tacos, the widely popular corn tortilla-based snackA street-...
A Guide To Mexican Cuisine                 Camarones al coco, coconut coated prawns                 Photo credit: © CPTM: ...
A Guide To Mexican Cuisine                                                15                                        RECIPE...
A Guide To Mexican CuisineDirectionsCut the avocados in half, remove the pit, and peel them. Chop and then mash them in a ...
A Guide To Mexican Cuisine                  SWARUPA’S CHOCOLATE-FILLED CHURROSThis fried-dough pastry is a popular Mexican...
A Guide To Mexican CuisineMix 1/4 cup sugar and ground cinnamon together and set aside.Make the chocolate sauce. Break the...
A Guide To Mexican CuisineHorchata, a popular refreshing drink of rice, sugar and cinnamonDried calyces of the flor de Jam...
A Guide To Mexican Cuisine          Assorted Mexican sweets on display in a traditional Mexican sweet shopPalanquetas of p...
GLOSSARY OF SPANISH WORDSAAchiote: The seed of annatto tree commonly used as flavouring and orange-red colouring agent inM...
GLOSSARY Of MEXICAN SPANISH PRONUNCIATIONSAA la Tampiqueña: ah lah tam-pee-keh-nyahA la Veracruzana: ah lah veh-rah-croo-s...
A Big HI to all my readers! Thank you very much for reading the extracts of this eBook. I’msure you enjoyed reading the sa...
A Guide To Mexican Cuisine (sample chapters) by Swarupa
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A Guide To Mexican Cuisine (sample chapters) by Swarupa

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A Big HI to all my readers! Thank you very much for reading the extracts of this eBook. I’m sure you enjoyed reading the sample chapters :-) Now you can read the remaining 11 chapters of this eBook (of 112 pages) in PDF format at just US$ 5.97 or the equivalent cost in your currency. From native Indian cuisine to the current flavours, this guide tells it all like never before with more than 65 coloured photographs, two extensive glossaries – of Spanish words used in this book and their Mexican Spanish pronunciation – and a few simple and easy recipes of popular Mexican food and drinks. Just click on https://thegr8wall.wordpress.com/a-guide-to-mexican-cuisine and go through the instructions.
To buy the eBook, click on the “Add To Cart” button on the sidebar. A new window will open displaying the cost of the eBook. If you’re interested in buying my other eBooks too, click on the relevant buttons. To make the payment, click on the “Checkout With PayPal” button and you will be directed to the PayPal site where you have to enter your credit card details. In case, you have a PayPal account you just have to log in to your account to complete the purchase.
On making the payment, you will receive the download link to the eBook through email.
For those in India, you may place your order for the eBook (at Rs 325) by sending an email to mexicobooks@gmail.com or thepicbookmexico@gmail.com along with your name, address, email and phone number.
If you’ve any questions, please do not hesitate to send an email to mexicobooks@gmail.com or thepicbookmexico@gmail.com

Cheers :-)
Swarupa

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A Guide To Mexican Cuisine (sample chapters) by Swarupa

  1. 1. A GUIDE TO MEXICAN CUISINE By Swarupa N. Ovalekar Self-Published Edition Copyright © Swarupa N. Ovalekar 2010All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this publication may be reproduced,stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic,mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission ofthe copyright holder.This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not bere-sold or distributed. If you would like to share this eBook with another person,please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this eBookand did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then pleasereturn to https://www.facebook.com/TheEpicBookMEXICO or the author’s blogat https://thegr8wall.wordpress.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you forrespecting the hard work of this author.
  2. 2. Warning/DisclaimerThis eBook is designed to provide information about the subject matter covered. Itshould be used only as a general guide and not as the ultimate source forinformation on Mexican cuisine. Although the author/publisher has used bestefforts in preparing this book and making it as complete and as accurate aspossible, no responsibility is assumed for errors or omissions. This eBook is presented solely for educational and entertainment purposes.The author/publisher shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person orentity with respect to any loss or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly orindirectly by the information contained in this book. Other titles by Swarupa N. Ovalekar: Discovering Mexico Mexico: The Country, Its History & The Maya World The Blue-Eyed Prince of Natlife
  3. 3. To my family for their love and support
  4. 4. CONTENTS ABOUT THE AUTHOR 1 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 5 1 MEXICAN CUISINE 6 2 THE NATIVE MEXICAN DIET 9 3 CORN AND BEANS 11 4 CHILE AND SALSA 15 5 THE SPANISH INFLUENCE 18 6 FRENCH & OTHER INFLUENCES 31 7 ANTOJITOS – THE TRADIIONAL APPETIZERS 35 8 REGIONAL CUISINE 38 9 MEALS AND CUSTOMS 4510 FESTIVE DISHES 4811 FRUIT DRINKS & BEVERAGES 6012 TEQUILA & THE AGAVE DRINKS 6313 DESSERTS & ICE CREAMS 6814 SWEETS & CANDIES 7015 RECIPES 73
  5. 5. GLOSSARY OF SPANISH WORDS 87GLOSSARY OF MEXICAN SPANISH PRONUNCIATIONS 101PHOTO SECTION I 22PHOTO SECTION II 50PHOTO SECTION III 78
  6. 6. ABOUT THE AUTHORSwarupa got into book writing in 2008. This was four months after her return from Mexicowhere she had spent nearly nine months, some of them travelling solo across the country. Shededicated a year and a half to her labour of love – an epic book on Mexico – which she finallycompleted in June 2010. Hoping to get her book ‘Mexico’ published in the traditional way, shewaited for over two years looking for a publisher who could do justice to her hard work. Her book received warm appreciation from H.E. Felipe Calderón, President of Mexico. While she waited for responses from publishers, she wrote a romance fiction novel ‘TheBlue-Eyed Prince Of Natlife’. In January 2012, she created a Facebook page for her book, got her book edited andconverted it into a three book series on Mexico titled ‘Discovering Mexico’, ‘Mexico: TheCountry, Its History & The Maya World’, and ‘A Guide To Mexican Cuisine’. In mid-September, she finally decided to self-publish all her books. 1
  7. 7. Apart from her books, Swarupa is an intrepid traveller and a polyglot. She speaksEnglish, Spanish, German, French, Italian and Indian languages like Marathi and Hindi. She is apassionate foodie, a huge fan of salsa and ballroom dancing and a great lover of history,cosmology and world culture. She lives in Mumbai. CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR Facebook: http://facebook.com/TheEpicBookMEXICO Twitter: http://twitter.com/theepicmexico Blog: http://thegr8wall.wordpress.com OTHER TITLES BY THE AUTHOR Discovering Mexico is Swarupa’s chronicle which began with her new life in the Mexican city of Guadalajara and her wide exploration of the country she lived in for nine months in 2007-08. Cosmopolitan Mexico City, world-class beach resorts, charming mountain resorts, beautiful colonial cities, amazing archaeological zones, mesmerizing Maya ruins, colourful indigenous markets…there is never a dull moment for her as she explores each place with immense gusto. At each turn, new situations arise, requiring keen perception, 2
  8. 8. quick thinking, and ingenuity. When she explores new places and meets new people, she paints each ofthem with rich descriptions. Her incurable wanderlust leads her on a three-week adventurous trailcovering seven culturally-rich southern states of Quintana Roo, Yucatan, Campeche, Tabasco, Chiapas,Oaxaca and Veracruz, the first five of which fall under the region of ‘the Maya world’.Discovering Mexico is both a celebration of the joys and revelations to be found in this inexhaustiblyinteresting country. This immensely pleasurable and entertaining eBook falls into many categories…it isabout Mexico, Mexican memoirs, Mexican travel, Mexican history and culture, Mexican food and drinksand of course – Mexicans!With more than 100 coloured photographs, black and white political and geographical sketch maps ofMexico, a black and white sketch map of Swarupa’s three-week trip, black and white sketch maps of theseven southern states and two extensive glossaries – of Spanish words used in this book and theirMexican Spanish pronunciation – this thoroughly informative eBook is a must-read for everyone. Mexico: The Country, Its History & The Maya World is a comprehensive guide to the diverse aspects of Mexico, including its indigenous people, its long and colourful history and the mysterious Maya civilization. This excellently researched eBook offers a wide glimpse into the rich and varied cultural heritage of contemporary Mexico, detailing the country’s history, from the pre-Colombian period to modern times, and providing deep knowledge of the glorious Maya culture, including the much-famous end of their calendar. With over 75 coloured photographs, and black 3
  9. 9. and white political and geographical sketch maps of Mexico, this insightful eBook will appeal to everyperson interested in learning about Mexico – aficionados, travellers and scholars. A girl from Mexico City comes to Mumbai, discovers the joys of caring and sharing in a large house with seven other international trainees and falls in love with her suave Indian boss. 26-year old Mexican, Sara Velasquez, is the new international trainee at the corporate office of one of India’s top multinational companies, Natlife. Her blonde hair and good looks have always made most men treat her with benign condescension, unwilling to accept her managerial abilities. Experience has taught her not to trust men for this reason, but her tall and handsome Indian boss, the 27-year old blue-eyedSid Oberoi, is different. He doesn’t question her intelligence only her impulsive nature. She finds herselfbattling a deep and irresistible attraction between them only to succumb to it whole-heartedly.A past incident has shattered Sid’s trust in women. Whenever his girlfriends get too close or serious, hebolts. He’s not interested in commitment. So why does he harbour strong, unfamiliar feelings for thefeisty Mexican? On learning about the bitter experiences of her past, he’s determined to ensure that shedoesn’t get hurt again. Why does he feel so protective about her?When misfortune strikes, it brings them both closer than ever. Sid offers her a job in his new business androom in his house. But, is he ready to offer her a place in his heart? 4
  10. 10. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSThis book is one of my three book series on Mexico, a labour of love and dedication that beganin 2008. The long and lonely period of this project saw me working endless hours at thecomputer and I owe my eternal gratitude to my family for understanding and accepting thiswithout a fuss. To my father who made my ‘Mexican Experience’ possible for me, withoutwhich the three books on Mexico would never have been born; to my mother, brother and sisters. My particular thanks to Shri Krishna Singh for his goodwill and belief in my work. I’m greatly indebted to H.E. Felipe Calderón, President of Mexico, and the HonourableGloria Guevara, Minister of Tourism for Mexico, for their warm appreciation and valuablesupport to my project. The photographs in this book have been used with the permission of their copyrightholders. Credits have been given to all the photographs, except those of my own. My specialthanks to the copyright holders for allowing me to reproduce their photographs: Elsie Mendez –Owner/Founder of Flavorsofmexicancuisine.com, the Mexican Tourism Board (CPTM), theState Tourism Board of Jalisco (SETUJAL), Sahid Cervantes and Paty Rodriguez. Last but not the least, thank you to Writer’s Side for editing this book. 5
  11. 11. A Guide To Mexican Cuisine 1 MEXICAN CUISINEMexicans are very proud of their traditional cuisine, and they take their cooking very seriously.Traditional Mexican Cuisine is elaborate and symbol-laden and a comprehensive cultural modelcomprising unique farming methods, ritual practices, age-old skills, culinary techniques andancestral community customs and manners. It’s for this reason that the United NationsEducational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared Mexican Cuisine anIntangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010, making it one of the first world cuisines toreceive such an honour. Known for its varied flavours, wide range of native spices and ingredients, and colourfulpresentations, the cuisine is primarily based on pre-Colombian traditions combined with theculinary trends introduced by Spanish colonists. It is a melting pot of different cuisines,reflecting rich French, Caribbean, Asian and African influences as well as many other recentinfluences absorbed through foreign immigrants and in the course of foreign trade during thecolonial period. 6
  12. 12. A Guide To Mexican Cuisine The fine blend of the cuisines of different countries, their cooking techniques and anexotic mix of native and foreign ingredients, led to the emergence of the unique Mexican cuisinewith tremendous regional variations. The food reflects a strong Spanish influence in the north,while farther down south the ethnic cuisine still prevails. Despite the diversity of the richregional cuisines, some common elements have led to the formation of a distinct national cuisine. Mexican food is spicy and colourful due to the use of wide varieties of chiles (chillies),spices and fresh vegetables, many of which are native to the country. The staple ingredientsinclude corn, beans and squash; beef, pork, chicken, fish and seafood; vegetables such astomatoes, green tomatoes, sweet potatoes, jicama (a white-fleshed, potato-like root vegetable,eaten raw as a salad or boiled or baked), and nopales (prickly pear cactus); a variety of lentils;and fruits like avocado, mango, pineapple, papaya, plantains, zapote (sapodilla), mamey (a large,avocado shaped brown fruit), guanábana (soursop) and guava. Chile, tomato, onion, avocado,cocoa and vanilla and garlic are the popular flavourings. The most important and frequently usedspices include chile, cumin, oregano, coriander, epazote (a native herb), achiote (a naturalcolorant and condiment), cinnamon, cocoa and anise seeds. Epazote is used to season a variety ofMexican dishes, and is most commonly used in bean recipes to relieve abdominal discomfort.Cheese, sour cream, tamarind and chocolate are also widely used in Mexican cuisine. Mexican cheeses can be categorized into fresh cheese, melting cheese and hard cheese.Fresh cheese has a mild flavour and a crumbly texture which becomes soft and creamy withoutlosing its shape when heated. Some of the fresh cheeses include the mozzarella-like queso 7
  13. 13. A Guide To Mexican Cuisineblanco, the crumbly queso fresco, the salty-flavoured panela and the soft ricotta-like requesón.Another popular fresh cheese is queso de cabra (goat milk cheese). Melting cheese doesn’t separate or get greasy when it is heated and include the mildqueso quesadilla, the strong flavoured queso asadero, the tangy yellow-coloured quesomanchego, the famous mozzarella-like string cheese queso oaxaca and the mild cheddar-likequeso chihuahua. Hard cheese has a strong flavour with a hard texture and can be grated.Because of its strong flavour, it makes a perfect topping for beans, salads and even grilled meats.Hard cheeses include the parmesan-like cotija cheese and the enchilado or añejo enchiladocheese which is coated with chilli powder. The three essential elements in traditional Mexican kitchens are mano y metate (grindingstone), molcajete (stone mortar and pestle) and the comal (cast-iron griddle). While mano ymetate is used to grind corn and to prepare mole (a rich chocolate-based sauce) pastes, themolcajete is used to grind spices and to make salsas (sauces). 8
  14. 14. A Guide To Mexican Cuisine 2 THE NATIVE MEXICAN DIETThe pre-Hispanic native Mexican diet mainly comprised corn, beans, squash, chile, tomatoes,amaranth, sweet potatoes, cocoa, vanilla, avocados, jicama, papaya, pineapple, lentils, plantains,coconut, peanuts, a variety of herbs, honey, mushrooms, fish and turkey. The native people werebasically vegetarian but they occasionally hunted for wild turkey, rabbit, deer, and quails. Theircuisine consisted largely of corn-based dishes with chiles and herbs, complemented with beans,tomatoes and nopales. Nopal or the prickly pear cactus is a popular ingredient in the Mexican cuisine. Thepeeled pads, grilled or boiled, are often used in salads, soups and as an accompaniment tovarious dishes. Diced nopales are used to prepare a dish called nopalitos. Cocoa beans were important luxury products throughout pre-Colombian Mesoamerica,and were used as currency. They were used in the preparation of a frothy, bitter drink which theAztec called xocoatl (bitter water). This luxurious drink, considered to be ‘the drink of the gods’and fit for royal consumption only, was often flavoured with vanilla, chile, achiote and other 9
  15. 15. A Guide To Mexican Cuisinespices. The Aztec loved their cacao which was unsweetened. In fact, the only sweetenersavailable in those days were honey and aguamiel (honey-water, extracted from agave plants). Itwas not until chocolate was sent to Europe, that sugar was added which led to the birth ofmodern-day chocolate. Chocolate mexicana (Mexican hot chocolate) is still a popular traditionaldrink. Chocolate was also added in the preparation of some of the native Mexican meals. The first important crops grown by the ancient Mesoamerican societies were corn, beansand squash, with corn being the primary crop. The three staples which complement each othernutritionally provided carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins. Another major source of protein wasspirulina, the microscopic blue-green algae that grows both in sea and fresh water. The Aztecharvested it in Lake Texcoco and sold it in the form of cakes. Today, it can be found in healthfood stores as a human and animal food supplement, in the form of tablets, flakes, and powder. Tropical fruits, vegetables, fish and wild game supplied the missing vitamins andminerals to form a fairly well-balanced diet. Most of the food was cooked over coals, smoked inpits, or simmered in pots with water. These stews were to be the basis for Mexico’s most famousdish, the mole, which was developed to its present form after the Spanish Conquest. Frying wasvirtually nonexistent as there was no fat to fry with. There were no cows from which to obtainmilk to produce butter or cheese, no pigs to provide lard, and game animals were extremely lean.Sometimes oils were squeezed from plants for other purposes. These practices led to the low fat,nearly vegetarian diet. 10
  16. 16. A Guide To Mexican Cuisine 3 CORN AND BEANSTraditionally, corn has been the staple grain of Mexico and the main source of nutrition forthousands of years. It was and still is omnipresent in the daily meals by way of the traditionalcorn masa (dough). Masa is made by drying field corn and treating it in a solution of lime andwater, also called slaked lime. This loosens the hulls from the kernels and softens the corn forgrinding it to form the fresh masa. In addition, it also changes the structure of the corn, freeingthe nutritionally valuable ‘niacin’ and adding calcium from the lime used as an alkali. Thisprocess called nixtamalization, used only by the native Mexicans, allows the human body toabsorb essential nutrients. The fresh masa, when dried and powdered, becomes the modern-daymasa harina (corn dough flour). Like masa harina, even fresh masa is sold in markets. It is important to avoid confusing masa harina with corn flour, which is not treated withlime and lacks the nutritional value. In baking and cooking, while using corn flour, the result isquite different from that obtained by using masa harina. The most common food made from masa is the tortilla, a thin traditional daily bread 11
  17. 17. A Guide To Mexican Cuisinewhich accompanies just about every meal. Tortillas are made either from corn or wheat flour.Corn tortillas are prepared by pressing (by hand or by machine) small balls of masa and heatingthem on a comal. These are then wrapped in a cloth and stored in a basket, or in a special plasticcontainer to keep them warm. In many cities and towns, there are tortilla shops calledtortillerias, which make and sell fresh machine pressed warm tortillas. In restaurants, if you runout of tortillas, some more are served without any charge. These are accompanied by thedelicious guacamole, the traditional Mexican appetizer of mashed ripe avocados, tomatoes,onions, lime juice, salt and fresh coriander. Masa is also used in the preparation of tamales (‘tamal’ in singular), which are packets ofmasa, usually stuffed with spicy or sweet filling, wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves andthen steamed. Besides crisp or soft tortillas and tamales, masa is a vital ingredient in variouseveryday meals. It is the key ingredient in many pre-Hispanic drinks, throughout the country.Masa is cooked with piloncillo (jaggery), water or milk, cinnamon, anise seeds and vanilla beansto make a porridge-like hot beverage called atole. When it is made with chocolate, it becomes achocolate-based atole called champurrado, a traditional breakfast drink. In the state of Chiapas, corn and cocoa are used in the preparation of pozol de cacao andtascalate. Pozol is made with masa, ground cocoa, water and a pinch of salt or sugar whiletascalate is a special chocolate drink made from a mixture of roasted corn, cocoa, cinnamon,pine nuts, vanilla, achiote and sugar. In the state of Oaxaca, a popular pre-Hispanic drink calledtejate, is prepared by mixing together the finely ground paste of roasted corn, fermented cocoa 12
  18. 18. A Guide To Mexican Cuisinebeans, seeds of the native mamey fruit and flor de cacao (‘cocoa flower’). In the state of Jalisco,a popular cold beverage called tejuino is made from fermented corn and served with a scoop ofshaved ice. Corn is also boiled to prepare pozole, a spicy pork and hominy stew topped with freshcabbage, radish, onion and cilantro. Elote (corn on the cob), both roasted or boiled, is a popularstreet food. Boiled elotes are usually coated with condiments such as butter, mayonnaise, sourcream, cheese, lemon juice, salt and hot chile sauce. Another variation is esquite, corn kernelsserved in a cup with the above mentioned toppings. Another corn preparation commonlyavailable at street stalls is that of corn cooked and mixed together with chile, lemon juice andcilantro in a bit of oil. Corn and beans were the two main ingredients of Mexican cuisine even before the arrivalof the Spaniards. Beans are used in salads, soups and a wide variety of dishes including thepopular ancient bean paste called frijoles refritos (refried beans, which are cooked beans mashedin lard to form a smooth, thick paste). Some of the widely used varieties of beans include blackbeans, pinto beans and kidney beans. A daily Mexican meal invariably includes corn tortillas with frijoles refritos and tamales.An important aspect of the corn-beans combination is that both contain ‘complementary aminoacids.’ Neither beans nor corn alone is a complete food as it does not provide the fullcomplement of amino acids needed for protein synthesis. Beans contain all the essential aminoacids but one and that happens to be just the amino acid present in corn. Together, the corn and 13
  19. 19. A Guide To Mexican Cuisinebean combination forms a complete protein. Apart from the corn-bean pair, only one other pairprovides a complete protein amino acid combination and that is beans and rice. 14
  20. 20. A Guide To Mexican Cuisine 4 CHILE AND SALSAChiles have been cultivated in Mexico for over 5000 years. The country has the greatestbotanical wealth of chiles, with more than 140 varieties ranging in size from inch-long to thosethe size of large carrots, and in colours ranging from red and orange to green and black. Thepotency varies. The hottest is the habanero, some 25 times hotter than the widely-known spicyjalapeño, which is traditionally grown around the Gulf Coast city of Xalapa in Veracruz. Then,there is the fiery chile serrano mainly used in salsas (sauces) and the large and mild chilepoblano. The latter is used in making stuffed chile dishes like chile relleno, green chile stuffedwith cheese and/or minced meat, covered in batter and deep fried; and chile en nogada, greenchile stuffed with minced meat and covered in a walnut-based white cream sauce called nogadaand garnished with a sprinkling of red pomegranate seeds and fresh coriander. Chile en nogadais a national dish usually served during Independence Day celebrations as it represents thecolours of the Mexican flag – green for the coriander, white for the sauce and red for thepomegranate seeds. 15
  21. 21. A Guide To Mexican Cuisine Chiles lend a distinctive flavour to Mexican cuisine, which is also enhanced with herbssuch as fresh coriander and thyme, and spices like cumin, cinnamon, and cloves. They can beused fresh, whole, smoked, dried or powdered. Among the dried chiles, the popular ones includethe flavourful ancho, which is dried poblano pepper and the smoky flavoured chipotle which isdried jalapeño pepper. Ground chipotle chillies are combined with other spices to make apopular meat marinade known as an adobo, a rich, smoky, dark reddish-brown sauce made fromchilli, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, thyme, laurel, oregano and salt. Salsa is the Spanish word for a sauce which is served as an accompaniment to almostevery Mexican meal. The condiments most commonly found on restaurant tables in Mexico, arethe red or green salsas (prepared using tomatoes and green chiles), a mix of chopped tomatoes,onions and fresh coriander, pickled shredded nopales, lemon slices and bottles of branded salsas,the most popular among them being Valentina and Tajin. Mexican cuisine boasts of numerous types of fresh salsa preparations which come invarious forms – smooth, semi-chunky, or uniformly chopped. The basic amongst them is thesalsa mexicana (Mexican sauce), also called salsa fresca (fresh sauce) or pico de gallo (Spanishfor ‘beak of the rooster’). This fresh uncooked salsa is made from chopped tomato, onion, chiles(usually serranos or jalapeños) and fresh coriander. When the basic salsa is cooked with otheringredients it becomes salsa ranchero (ranch-style salsa). There are many types of salsas, somemade using exotic ingredients like huitlacoche (or cuitlacoche), a corn fungus popular among theNahuatl Indians. Pumpkin seeds are used to prepare the popular salsa de pipián. 16
  22. 22. A Guide To Mexican Cuisine The preparation of a salsa by combining chiles, tomatoes and other ingredients likepumpkin or squash seeds and even beans has been documented way back to the Aztec culture.Bernardino de Sahagún, a Spanish Franciscan missionary who chronicled Aztec life followingthe Conquest, wrote extensively on the culinary history of the Aztec which included details onevery food common to the culture. In one of his writings he described the salsas sold by foodvendors in the large, well-ordered and crowded Aztec markets which included salsas of variouskinds of chiles (including the chipotle, a staple in the Aztec diet) avocados, mushrooms, squash,red tomatoes, green tomatoes and different herbs and even hot salsas. Mexican cuisine also boasts of a popular savoury salsa called chamoy which is madefrom pickled fruit like mango, apricot or plum with chile, vinegar, sugar, salt and water. Due toits delicious sweet, salty and spicy flavour, this fruit and chile sauce is popularly used inpreparing snacks, desserts and drinks. It is poured over fruits for a delicious treat. Chamoy-coated apples, chamoy-flavoured frozen desserts, popsicles, sweets, and even drinks (includingbeer) spiced with chamoy are extremely popular in Mexico. 17
  23. 23. A Guide To Mexican CuisineA traditional Mexican market Tamarind Dried red chillies
  24. 24. A Guide To Mexican Cuisine Fruits on display in the market Photo credit: © Flavorsofmexicancuisine.comNopal cactus leaves MangoesPhoto credit: © Flavorsofmexicancuisine.com
  25. 25. A Guide To Mexican CuisineThe traditional corn masa (dough) Tacos, the widely popular corn tortilla-based snackA street-side taqueria
  26. 26. A Guide To Mexican Cuisine Camarones al coco, coconut coated prawns Photo credit: © CPTM: Foto / Ricardo Espinosa-reoRed enchiladas Tostadas Photo credit: © Flavorsofmexicancuisine.com
  27. 27. A Guide To Mexican Cuisine 15 RECIPES GUACAMOLE (AVOCADO DIP)This dip has a rich and wonderful texture and is perfect as a salad or an appetizer with nachos.Ingredients2 large ripe avocados1 small red onion, finely chopped2 tablespoons lime juice1 medium tomato, seeded and finely chopped1 serrano pepper, seeded and finely chopped2 tablespoons fresh coriander, finely choppedSalt to taste 73
  28. 28. A Guide To Mexican CuisineDirectionsCut the avocados in half, remove the pit, and peel them. Chop and then mash them in a bowl.Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Serve with nachos. PICO DE GALLO (MEXICAN SALSA)This delicious salsa is one of the simplest of Mexican salsas. It is served as a salad or with tortillachips, and also as a topping for tortilla-based dishes like tacos and tostadas.Ingredients1 large ripe tomato, seeded and finely chopped1/3 of large red onion, finely chopped2 serrano peppers or 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped1/3 cup fresh coriander, finely choppedFreshly squeezed juice of one limeSalt to tasteDirectionsMix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. 74
  29. 29. A Guide To Mexican Cuisine SWARUPA’S CHOCOLATE-FILLED CHURROSThis fried-dough pastry is a popular Mexican dessert snack, originating in Spain.Ingredients1 cup water2 1/2 tablespoons white sugar1/2 teaspoon salt2 tablespoons vegetable oil1 cup all-purpose flourOil for frying1/4 cup white sugar1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamonA bar of cooking chocolate2 skewersDirectionsIn a small saucepan over medium heat, combine water, 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar, salt and 2tablespoons vegetable oil. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in flour until mixture formsa ball. Let it rest for 5 minutes. 76
  30. 30. A Guide To Mexican CuisineMix 1/4 cup sugar and ground cinnamon together and set aside.Make the chocolate sauce. Break the chocolate bar in small pieces and put in a microwave bowl.Keep an eye on it while it’s melting or else it might burn. Alternatively, melt the chocolate usinga double boiler.Make small balls out of the dough and wrap each of them around the two skewers in the shape ofsausages. This will make a narrow hole inside for the chocolate filling. Gently slide off theskewers and close the holes on both ends.Fill a large, heavy bottomed saucepan with oil for frying (it should be about one-third full). Heatthe oil. Place the rolls of dough into the hot oil. Be careful not to cook more than three at any onetime, or they will all stick together. Fry for about 3 to 4 minutes until crispy and golden. Do notmess with them until they are ready to be turned. Drain on kitchen paper.Roll drained churros in the cinnamon sugar mixture.Gently slice off one end of the churros. Use a skewer to carefully pierce and widen the narrowhole. Pour the chocolate sauce slowly inside each churro. Make sure it reaches till the bottom.Spread the excess sauce around the top of the churros. 77
  31. 31. A Guide To Mexican CuisineHorchata, a popular refreshing drink of rice, sugar and cinnamonDried calyces of the flor de Jamaica (Hibiscus flower) sold in markets
  32. 32. A Guide To Mexican Cuisine Assorted Mexican sweets on display in a traditional Mexican sweet shopPalanquetas of peanuts and pumpkin seeds (left) and alegrias, the amaranth candy studded withdried fruits and nuts (right)
  33. 33. GLOSSARY OF SPANISH WORDSAAchiote: The seed of annatto tree commonly used as flavouring and orange-red colouring agent inMexican food. It is used in making achiote paste, a seasoning mixture from the Yucatán regionAdobo: Spicy marinadeAgave: A succulent plant from which drinks like tequila and mezcal are producedAgave azul: Blue agaveAgua de Jamaica: A popular refreshing drink made from the dried calyces of the hibiscus flowerAgua de tamarindo: Tamarind waterAguas frescas: ‘Fresh water,’ healthy non-carbonated drinks of fresh fruit waterAguacate: AvocadoAguachile de camarón: Fresh prawns served raw in a blend of limes and hot green serrano chilliesAguamiel: ‘Honey water’ extracted from the bulbs of the agave plantAlegrias: ‘Happy,’ traditional sweets made from amaranth grainAlfajores: White cocada sweets with pink-coloured topsAlmuerzo: A light 11 am lunch consisting of tortilla-based dishAmarillo: YellowAncho: The dried form of poblano chilliAntojitos: Traditional corn dough-based appetizers or snacksAñejo: Aged or vintageAñejo enchilada: A type of cheese coated in chilli powderArroz: RiceArroz amarillo: Yellow riceArroz blanco: White riceArroz con camarones: Prawn riceArroz con leche: Rice puddingArroz con lima: Lemon riceArroz con pollo: Rice with chickenArroz español: Spanish rice 87
  34. 34. GLOSSARY Of MEXICAN SPANISH PRONUNCIATIONSAA la Tampiqueña: ah lah tam-pee-keh-nyahA la Veracruzana: ah lah veh-rah-croo-sah-nahAchiote: ah-chee-oh-tehAdobo: ah-doh-bohAgave: ah-gah-vehAgave azul: ah-gah-veh ah-suhlAgua de Jamaica: ah-gwah deh ha-mai-kahAgua de tamarindo: ah-gwah deh tah-mah-reen-dohAguas frescas: ah-gwahs frehs-kahsAguacate: ah-gwah-kah-tehAguachile de camarón: ah-gwah-chee-leh deh kah-mah-rohnAguamiel: ah-gwah-myelAguascalientes: ah-gwahs-kah-lyehn-tehsAlegrias: ah-leh-greeh-yahsAlfajores: ahl-fah-ho-rehsAlmuerzo: ahl-mwehr-zohAmarillo: ah-mah-ree-yohAncho: ahn-chohAntojitos: ahn-toh-hee-tohsAñejo: ah-nyeh-hoAñejo enchilada: ah-nyeh-ho ehn-chee-lah-dahArroz: ah-rrohsArroz amarillo: ah-rrohs ah-mah-ree-yohArroz blanco: ah-rrohs blahn-cohArroz con camarones: ah-rrohs kohn kah-mah-roh-nehsArroz con leche: ah-rrohs kohn leh-chehArroz con lima: ah-rrohs kohn leeh-mahArroz con pollo: ah-rrohs kohn poh-yoh 101
  35. 35. A Big HI to all my readers! Thank you very much for reading the extracts of this eBook. I’msure you enjoyed reading the sample chapters :-) Now you can read the remaining 11 chapters ofthis eBook (of 112 pages) in PDF format at just US$ 5.97 or the equivalent cost in your currency.From native Indian cuisine to the current flavours, this guide tells it all like never before withmore than 65 coloured photographs, two extensive glossaries – of Spanish words used in thisbook and their Mexican Spanish pronunciation – and a few simple and easy recipes of popularMexican food and drinks. Just click on https://thegr8wall.wordpress.com/a-guide-to-mexican-cuisine and go through the instructions.To buy the eBook, click on the “Add To Cart” button on the sidebar. A new window will opendisplaying the cost of the eBook. If you’re interested in buying my other eBooks too, click on therelevant buttons. To make the payment, click on the “Checkout With PayPal” button and youwill be directed to the PayPal site where you have to enter your credit card details. In case, youhave a PayPal account you just have to log in to your account to complete the purchase.On making the payment, you will receive the download link to the eBook through email.For those in India, you may place your order for the eBook (at Rs 325) by sending an emailto mexicobooks@gmail.com or thepicbookmexico@gmail.com along with your name, address,email and phone number.If you’ve any questions, please do not hesitate to send an emailto mexicobooks@gmail.com or thepicbookmexico@gmail.comCheers :-)Swarupa

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