Mexican Food is a fantastic way to spice up your family dinner any night of the year. From traditional Enchiladas to Tamales, Mexican Food offers a flavorful yet healthy alternative to the normal everyday meal. Often, this food is extremely easy to prepare, and can be made with items that are easy to find in most markets. I can enjoy Mexican food every day of the year and ALWAYS find new dishes and new ways to prepare it.
Let's look at some of the important menu items in a typical Mexican dinner:
Tortillas have been the staple food of countless generations of Mexicans and can be made of flour (common in the north) or maize (the traditional method and still most common in the south). Tortillas are mostly served alongside a meal as bread would and are also used in many usual dishes, rolled and baked for enchiladas, fried for tacos or grilled for quesadillas.
o Frijoles (beans)
They are a good source of protein. These different varieties of beans are most commonly boiled and fried. Beans can be a major component in a meal or served as a garnish.
Usually, the larger the chili is, the milder is its flavor. While large Poblano chilies are stuffed and served as a main course, the small habañero is ferociously hot. Quick tip: for asking if a dish is spicy, say "es picante?" In fact, hotel menus often specify dishes that may not suit the palates of tourists.
This is an avocado mashed with onions, chilies and cilantro (coriander) and served as a dip or as a garnish.
A salsa is essentially simply a sauce, although it is commonly related with the red or green mix of tomatoes, chili, onion and cilantro served as a relish or a dip. Just be a bit cautious of 'salsa habañero' in seemingly harmless bottles like small jars of ketchup, and try just a little salsa first.
A raw fish marinated in lime juice, mostly in a chopped salad.
o Chiles Renellos
Big Poblano chilies are stuffed with cheese or spicy meat (picadillo). The chilies are generally mild, though the sauce could be hot.
Tortillas covered in a tomato and chili sauce and stuffed with vegetables, chicken or pork and then folded and baked. Even with the chili content, enchiladas are fairly mild. Enchiladas suizas are topped with sour cream.
Red Snapper is a common feature on the menus at coastal resorts. It is often available 'al gusto', cooked in a choice of methods.
These are tortillas stuffed with cheese which are folded and grilled. It's a basic dish mainly served with beans or a small salad and suits those who want to avoid anything spicy.
o Mole sauce
A mole sauce is a wonderfully rich sauce made with an uncommon combination of chocolate, chilies and several spices. It can be either red or green depending on the ingredients. The moles of Puebla and Oaxaca are mostly famous, hence the terms 'mole poblano' or 'mole oaxaqeño'. This sauce is mainly served over chicken, even though turkey is more traditional.
o Pipían sauce
Pipian sauce is another of Oaxaca's specialties and is green in color and made from pumpkin seeds. It is mainly served over chicken.
o Poc Chuc
Its a Yucatecan specialty in which pork fillet is cooked with tomatoes, spices and onions.
o Pollo Pibil
Another of Yucatecan specialty, Pollo Pibil is not usually found outside of this region. It traditionally owns enterprises of chicken marinated in orange and spices and then barbecued in banana leaves.
Tacos are tortillas fried till these are crispy. These are served with various fillings.
Tamales are cornmeal paste wrapped in banana husks or corn and are mostly stuffed with chicken, turkey or vegetables and then steamed.
These are Mexican sandwiches, often large rolls with large fillings.
Thin and crisp tortillas served with guacamole, sour cream, chicken and chilies.
Majority of present day's Mexican cuisine is based on traditions of Native Americans, including the Aztecs and Mayans, combined with cooking procedures welcomed by Spanish colonists. For instance, Quesadillas are a flour or corn tortilla with cheese (mostly a Mexican-style cheese such as Queso Fresco), beef, chicken and pork. The native part of this and several other traditional foods is the chile pepper. Foods like these are very colorful because of the rich variety of vegetables such as red peppers, green peppers, chiles, broccoli, cauliflower, and radiates in Mexican food.
Interestingly, Mexican food tends to vary by region owing to different local climate, geography and ethnicity among the native inhabants. Also these different populations were influenced by the Spanish to varying degrees. The northern region is known for its beef production and meat dishes and sutheastern Mexico for its spicy vegetable and chicken-based dishes.
There are more exotic dishes, cooked in the Mayan or Aztec style, with ingredients from iguana to rattlesnake, spider monkey, deer and some insects. This is commonly known as comida prehispanica or prehispanic food and though uncommon, is still reliably well known.
Mexican cuisine combined with southwest United States's foods to form Tex-Mex cuisine.
Another minority version of Mexican food is the New Mexican Food, which is prevalent in New Mexico, US.