Mexican Cuisine: Evolution beyond Salsa and Guacamole

One of the spiciest cuisines in the world, Mexican food is a melting pot of flavours

Source: http://www.map-of-mexico.co.uk

Vibrant, delicious, fresh and fun – that’s how you define Mexican cuisine.One of the spiciest cuisines in the world, Mexican food is a melting pot of flavours. Dating back to 7000 BC, the Mexica establishment of the AztecEmpire created a multi-ethnic society where many different food ways merged.With skills and techniques being developed over thousands years, Mexican cuisine isas complex as other ancient cuisines, just like Japanese and Chinese.


Spanish conquest of Aztec Empire in the 16th century introduced Mexicans to meats from domesticated animals, dairy products and rice

To gather some first-hand information, we met Noah Barnes, executive chef at Arriba-Mexican Grill & Tequileria. This is India’s first Tequileria near Siri Fort Auditorium in Delhi and boasts of an extensive Salsa and Guacamole bar. Chef Noah, who is the man behind success of multiple restaurants in the city is definitely the go to guy for our Mexican cuisine knowledge.

Though Mexican food is lot more original than neighbouring countries of USA and Belize, Spanish conquest of Aztec Empire in the 16th century introduced Mexicans to meats from domesticated animals, dairy products and rice.

Staples

Talking of the everyday food, Chef Noah says, just like IndianDal- Chawal, Mexicans would gorge on Rice, Tortilla and Refried Beans every day.However the rice isn’t the long grain and aromatic, rather Mexican rice isshorter, much similar to Idli rice in India. The main meal of the day in Mexicois the ‘comida’, meaning ‘meal’ in Spanish. This refers to dinner or supper. Itbegins with soup, often chicken broth with pasta or a “dry soup”.Then comes meat served in a cooked sauce with salsa on the side, accompaniedwith beans and tortilla.

Staple ingredients for Mexican food consist of Chile Peppers and Corn. Vegetables play an important role in Mexican cuisine. Common vegetables include zucchini, cauliflower, corn, potatoes, spinach, Swiss chard, mushrooms, jitomate (red tomato), and green tomato.

Street food


In Mexico City, the most common roll used for tortas is called telera, relatively flat roll with two splits on the upper surface.

Most dishes in Mexico are pretty straightforward. So is their streetfood, which include tacos, quesadillas, pambazos, tamales, huaraches, alambres,al pastor. Tacos are available across the country and served with a variety of salsa. Arriba offers a Salsa Carnival consisting of Mango Coriander Habanero,Watermelon Togarashi Feta, Jalapeno, Charred Tomato, Spicy Green Tomato andGuacamole Salsa.

In Mexico City, the most common roll used for tortas is called telera, a relatively flat roll with two splits on the upper surface. In Puebla, the preferred bread is called a cemita, as is the sandwich. In both areas, the bread is stuffed with various fillings, especially if it is a hot sandwich, with beans, cream (mayonnaise is rare) and some kind of hot chile pepper.

Spices

Mexican food is spicier and there is no doubt about that.  Talking about most popular spices in Mexico, Noah says, there are Adobo Spice Mix (like Garam Masala), Anchiote, Morita, and Herbanero, which indicate why most of the dishes are spicier.

Food regions

Mexico has seven regions, each of which is blessed with its own signature when it comes to food. The North Eastern part of the country eats green tomato, green chili and has abundance of beef in preparations. The Gulf Shore region is rich in seafood including red snapper and Gulf Shrimp. A dinner in Yucatan Peninsula will start with sweet lime soup, followed by octopus and crab. The Puebla region eats roast peppers, stuffed with ground meat. The Central Plains gorge on Tacos, Quesadillas, and Tostadas. The Pacific Shore eats seafood chowders made from shrimp, octopus, squid and oysters.

Festival Foods

Christmas, Easter, Day of the Dead are some of the popular festivalscelebrated across Mexico. It’s common for people to visit each other duringthese times. So what do they eat then? As Chef Noah points out, special mealswould include Sizzling Fajitas (strips of meat tossed in Mexican spices andserved with tortilla, salsa, rice), El Polo Loco (Garlic Chili rubbed roastchicken, potato gratin, sour cream) and Adobo Braised Pork Belly (Layered porkbelly stuffed with adobo seasoning, green sauce).O

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