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Typical dishes of Mexico

Mexican cuisine has a wide variety of products that allow you to season your dishes with intense flavors and different qualities. Its regional dishes are surprising to the palate of the millions of tourists who visit the country.

Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.

Main courses

The main dishes of Mexican cuisine are usually accompanied by sauces, either spicy or with other softer ingredients such as avocado. Meanwhile, both beef and chicken are very present, as are the famous beans and tortillas. In the following sections we show you the most prominent.

Enchiladas

Enchiladas are similar to tacos, but with a lot of spice, no cereals inside and with hearty cheese. There are those who gratin them in the oven not only for the cheese that covers them, but also for the one inside. As usually happens with this type of food, there are different recipes depending on the region.

Enchilada

Thus, depending on the style of preparation, enchilada can be accompanied either by turkey, chicken or beef, or simply by cheese. There are also areas where it is accompanied by an extra garnish based on chopped or sliced ​​raw onion, milk cream, cheese and lettuce.

For example, in Guanajuato the so-called “mining enchiladas” are prepared, while in Monterrey it is common to fill them with fresh cheese and fry them in a little oil. In addition, they are usually served with chips, lettuce and tomato, as if it were a salad. In Sinaloa, on the other hand, they are given the name of «ground enchiladas»And you can see how they are prepared in the following video:

Tacos

The popular Mexican tacos are corn tortillas stuffed with chicken or any other variety of meat, red, green and yellow peppers, tomatoes and onions. You can say that they are a classic in any Mexican food and probably one of their best known dishes internationally.

The simple fact of rolling an omelet over itself can already be considered as a “taco”. The consumption of corn tortillas rolled in this way is very common in Mexico when you eat soup or some other dish of liquid consistency.

The most elaborate and popular tacos around the world are those that are filled with some dressing inside. Of this type, three varieties can be found: the tacos al pastor, the salsa tacos and the flutes, this last variant being the most consistent since in this case the tacos are fried.

Preparation of Mexican tacos

Fajitas

Fajitas are one of the most popular and consumed dishes within Tex-Mex cuisine, which means that it is popular both in Mexico and in the southwestern United States. This dish consists of meat strips grilled together with a variety of vegetables, among which are usually found: onions, peppers, carrots, sweet corn, etc.

According to the most widespread story about the history of this dish, its invention is due to the Mexican cowboys who worked in Texas (United States) during the 1930s. At lunchtime, they were always given the hardest parts of the cow, so they were obliged to cook that meat very carefully so that it was edible.

The above ingredients are accompanied by some sauce, usually tomato sauce. All this is served on a corn or wheat tortilla, which is rolled up, but left open at both ends. If you want to learn how to cook some real Mexican fajitas, don’t miss the following video:

Burritos

It is a dish very similar to fajitas and tacos, since burritos also consist of a corn tortilla or wheat flour stuffed with roasted meat and some vegetables, such as chili peppers, although both meat and vegetables are optional ingredients.

The main difference is that they include fried beans, an ingredient that can not be missing in this dish, and that the tortilla is closed at one end.

In fact, burritos are the fried version of tacos, which is why they are also known as flutes or flour tacos. Its origin is located in the state of Guanajuato, although in Yucatan a burrito is known as coçitowhile in Cuernavaca just like Taco.

White pozole

Actually, there are also red versions of this white pozole (like the one made in Jalisco) and the green version (usual in the Costa de Michoacán). It is a soup made from a specific type of corn known as cacahuazintle, to which pork or chicken is added as a complementary ingredient.

The basic recipe includes as a basic ingredient corn kernels of the type cacahuazintle or cacahuacintle, that is, a variety of corn native to Mexico whose grain is whiter, more tender and round than usual.

The peculiarity of this type of corn is that, when the beans are boiled, they open in the form of a flower and release a kind of foam, and this is the reason why they are used in the pozole.

White pozole

Empanadas

Empanadas, really, are taken throughout Latin America. Thus, for example, it is one of the typical dishes par excellence of Argentine cuisine. However, at present, it has crossed barriers and is cooked almost anywhere in the world.

In Mexico, where they are popularly known as «Mexican dishes«, The recipe varies by region. In the north, empanadas filled with sweet ingredients are common; in the coastal areas, fish and shellfish are added. In Oaxaca different varieties of mole are added, and in the city of Pachuca (Hidalgo) it is common to add meat and potatoes.

Tortilla chips

Today, totopos, better known internationally as nachos, are famous all over the world. These are small corn tortillas or fried wheat flour and which is triangular in shape.

Normally, they are served covered with abundant cheese, but other ingredients are also added, such as jalapeno peppers or any other variety of chili (usually, some spicy).

Quesadillas

Quesadillas also include corn or wheat tortillas and their main ingredient is cheese, hence its name. They are made grilled or grilled and cheese is added until it is melted. If only one tortilla is used, then they are served folded.

If one tortilla is placed on top of the other (so that the cheese and the rest of the ingredients are filled), then they are called synchronized. When ingredients other than cheese are included, they are usually called simply hems.

Shrimp in aguachile

The shrimp in aguachile, also called simply aguachile, is an original Mexican dish from the region of Sinaloa. Its base ingredient is shrimp, although other complementary ingredients are also added to enhance its flavor.

Thus, in summary, the main ingredients of this dish are: shrimp, cucumbers, chopped serrano peppers, coriander, lemon juice, maggi juice (seasoning), purple onion, salt and pepper.

Shrimp in aguachile or aguachile

Huarache

This dish is called huarache because its shape is reminiscent of flips flops of the same name that the indigenous people of Mexico usually wear. It is made with corn dough, thicker than that of tortillas, and usually its shape is oval.

They are grilled and covered with various ingredients, including beans, lettuce, fresh cheese, sauces and the main filling, which is usually chicken meat, although there are also steak and sausage.

Oaxaca cheese

This particular variety of cheese is also known as String cheese or quesillo. It is a white and medium hard cow cheese, whose origin is in the region of Central Valleys (Oaxaca).

It is an excellent cheese to be melted and, in fact, thanks to this characteristic it is used as the base ingredient of the appetizer known as flamed cheese, which also has red sausage. It is also the cheese used to make quesadillas.

Oaxaca cheese or quesillo

Panela cheese

Panela cheese is a very popular fresh cheese in Mexico and looks similar to goat cheese and ricotta cheese from Italian cuisine. It is soft to the touch, white and brittle like the feta cheese of Greek cuisine, because, in fact, this cheese is a heritage of Greek cuisine. It is used to accompany salads, tacos, chiles or burritos, among others.

Panela cheese

banderillas

The banderillas are nothing more than a sausage breaded with dough fried in oil, so that they are crispy. They are served on a skewer and some spicy sauce is added, such as tabasco. They are a very popular snack in Mexico.

Mexican flags

Mexican cakes

The Mexican cake is a kind of sandwich made of bread, which can be Telera bread, birote or bolillo. This is split in half and filled with various foods, which vary according to the region where it is served. They can be served hot or cold and can be found in places called Torterías or in street stalls.

They are usually seasoned with mayonnaise, cream, tomato, beans, mustard and any variety of chili, even with several chiles at the same time, and typical Mexican sauces, such as guacamole, are also included. In 2014 the Cake Fair was held, in which more than 90 exhibitors prepared their own version of the famous Mexican cake.

Mexican cakes

Chicken with pipian sauce

The chicken in pipián sauce is chicken seasoned with the famous Mexican pipián sauce, which is prepared with pumpkin seeds and green chili, which gives it its characteristic greenish color. The chicken is cooked with garlic and onion and then covered with the sauce.

Chicken with pipian sauce

Fish ceviche

Ceviche is one of the most traditional dishes of Mexico and, in general, is consumed throughout Latin America. It is made with white fish, such as hake, sole, sea bass, etc. and seafood can also be included.

To these ingredients, coriander branches, purple onions, red peppers, lemon, pepper and salt are added. The end result resembles a kind of fish salad.

Fish ceviche

Chicken wings in BBQ sauce

Chicken wings in barbecue sauce or barbecue They are an international dish, but those prepared in Mexico are distinguished by including chipotle peppers, which are considered the most spicy dry chili variety.

Barbecue Wings

Rancher eggs

Some say that the origin of the term rancher eggs It goes back to the time when day laborers worked at their ranches, whose daily breakfast was this dish and hence its name. This dish is also known as rancher breakfast.

It consists of fried eggs accompanied by two corn tortillas or wheat flour also fried. They are covered with ratatouille, coriander leaves and hot peppers. Beans or rice may also be included.

Rancher eggs

Yucatecan Tamales

There are four varieties of Yucatecan tamales. They are similar to Venezuelan hallacas, but, unlike these, they are steamed or baked.

The best known type of tamale is the leafless tamale, known under the name of tzacol, term of the Mayan language that means God of heaven and it applies to this meal because it is said to be a delicacy of the gods of heaven.

They are prepared with chicken and pork stew in achiote, which are introduced into a corn dough. The most traditional way to cook them is in underground ovens. In addition, there are two varieties: on the one hand, the baked ones and, on the other hand, the strained tamale.

Yucatecan tamales wrapped in banana leaf

Chilies

The peppers are really peppers. It is brought from an indispensable ingredient in Mexican food since prehistoric times, when recipes were invented that are still cooking today. Its origin is from Mexico and, in general, from South and Central America. There are them with a great diversity of shapes and colors, spicy and softer. They can be consumed dry or fresh. Below are some of the best known chiles.

Chilaca or Pasilla Chili

It is a type of fresh chili of dark green color, almost black, with an elongated shape, slightly flat and twisted. It is spicy and is taken fresh, although it can also be taken dry, in which case it is usual to call it Pasilla. It is cultivated especially in the states of Michoacán, Jalisco and Nayarit.

habañero pepper

Light green, although when the color matures it becomes yellow-orange, it is another type of fresh chili. Its texture is soft and is considered as the hottest chili variety of all. It is a basic ingredient in Yucatecan food and is usually taken when it is still light green or yellow, that is, when it has not yet fully matured. It is not taken dry.

Habanero peppers

Chile güero

Actually, this name applies to any variety of chili that is yellowish, “blond” or greenish-yellowish. The chiles güeros are fresh and vary in shape, flavor, size, intensity of itching, etc. depending on the region of Mexico where it is grown.

jalapeno pepper

This name comes from the fact that they are said to be originals from Jalapa (Veracruz), although they are no longer cultivated there. They are strawberry chiles, green or dark green, with a conical and elongated shape that are sometimes pointed. The skin is characterized by being bright. They are very spicy.

Chile Apple

It is a fresh cone-shaped, fleshy chili with bright yellow skin. It is considered an extremely spicy chili, almost at the same level of intensity as habanero chili.

It is named with different names according to the region; Thus, in Michoacán they call it “chile perón”, in Veracruz “chile cera” and in Oaxaca “chile canario”, due to its yellowish color. When they are taken dry, they are called “bell pepper” and adopt a dark red color.

Serrano Chile

It is a fresh green chili with a cylindrical shape that sometimes ends in a pointed position. It is small (about 3-5 cm in length) and is considered spicy. Usually, it eats ripe (fresh). When it matures, it turns red. It is grown in the mountains of Puebla and Hidalgo, hence it is called “serrano chile”.

Green and ripe mountain peppers

Poblano chile

It is a large-sized chili (usually about 12 cm long and 6 cm wide), fleshy and in the form of a flat cone that is usually taken fresh. Its color is dark green and bright skin. It is not considered very spicy, but it does have a characteristic flavor. This is the most used fresh chili in Mexican cuisine and, therefore, it is the most cultivated in the country.

green chile

This is the name given to all fresh green peppers. Therefore, those mentioned above, such as serrano chile, jalapeño or poblano, would enter into this group. However, in the center of the country, if one speaks of “green chile”, reference is always made to serrano chile; otherwise, one usually speaks directly of “jalapeño pepper”.

Chili pepper

This variety of fresh chili is practically always dark green or red, but there are also yellowish and even orange. They are large and fleshy. Usually, this variety of chili is commonly referred to as “peppers” or “bell peppers.”

It is considered as a type of sweet-tasting chili. However, it is not usually used as an ingredient in Mexican cuisine, but simply to decorate.

Fresh chili peppers

Wide chili

It is a dry brown-red pepper that measures about 12 cm long and 7 cm wide with a triangle shape. They are flexible to the touch. It is the dry variety of poblano pepper.

Bell rattle

It consists of a dry chili, rounded and even spherical, brown-reddish and moderately spicy, although its flavor is considered pleasant. It is used for the preparation of spicy sauces. The name “bell rattle” is derived from the fact that, if we shake it, its seeds are heard as if it were a rattle or rattle.

Chile Chile

This dried chili is dark red and large in size (12-15 cm long and 3 cm wide). It is spicy and is grown especially in the region of Oaxaca, specifically in Cañada Chica, which makes it difficult to find it in the rest of the country. It is used for the preparation of sauces, stews, moles …

Catarina chili

This chili is also known by the name of “Catarinita chili”. It is green, red when ripe. When it dries, it acquires a sepia-red color. Its shape is oval and ends in a point. It is used to give a reddish color to sauces, stews, soups, marinades … It is grown in Aguascalientes and also in the southern United States.

Chilhuacle chili

This denomination includes three varieties of dried chili: black, red and yellow. This is because they share several characteristics, such as their Oaxacan origin, when they dry they maintain their original shape without wrinkling and their skin is smooth. The name of this variety of chili comes from Nahuatl and literally means “old chili.”

Chipotle pepper

It is a type of dry and smoked chili, dark brown, with a wrinkled texture and considered the most spicy dry chili of all. It is the dry variant of jalapeño pepper. The name “Chile Chipotle” also comes from the Nahuatl language and means “smoked chili.”

Chipotle pepper

Piquín Chile

This name is used to refer to all chiles that are small in size and round, oval and slightly conical. When they are fresh they are green and, when dried, they acquire a sepia red color.

Chile tree

They are a variety of elongated and thin peppers (7 cm long and 1 cm wide approximately). When they are fresh they are green, but when ripe they acquire a red color. They can be found in popular markets with ease. Its flavor is very similar to that of serrano peppers and they are very spicy. In fact, they are used to spice a variety of stews.

Dried chili peppers

Sauces

Fresh, spicy sauces with an acid touch are a basic pillar in every Mexican menu; In fact, what distinguishes Mexican food from the rest are its sauces, each with a characteristic flavor. In many dishes even several sauces are mixed at the same time, which provides a unique taste and texture to the palate. Below we list the main sauces of Mexican cuisine:

Guacamole

It is a sauce made with avocado. There are many variants from one area to another but the most common ingredients are avocado, onion, green clile and a few drops of lemon, although many people add roasted, dried or fresh tomato.

Guacamole sauce

Red sauce

The so-called Mexican red sauce is made with cooked tomatoes, onion, garlic, hot peppers (such as jalapeños or apple trees) and fresh coriander branches.

Rooster’s beak

This sauce is very popular in the cuisine of Mexico and is made with onions, tomatoes and jalapeno peppers, as well as lemon juice olima. It is also known by the name of fresh sauce. It is a usual sauce in fajitas and tacos.

Green sauce or tomatillo

Its ingredients are tomatillos, onion, garlic, hot peppers and cilantro. It is added to all kinds of dishes, such as tacos, quesadillas, fajitas, burritos, enchiladas …

Mango Sauce

Mango sauce has a sweet and spicy flavor, and is made with mango (hence its name), red bell pepper. onion, hot peppers and cilantro. It is added to any type of roast chicken or fish, as well as dip sauce for the nachos.

Mass

Several Mexican variants take their name from this sauce. Basically, in its most traditional version, it is a sauce prepared with cocoa, peppers of different types, tomatoes, almonds, raisins, cinnamon, parsley and other spices.

Mole sauce

Hot sauce

This is the generic name used to refer to almost any sauce that is spicy in Mexican cuisine. As such, it applies to almost any dish.

Enchilada sauce

This sauce is specific to enchiladas and is basically used to give a spicy touch to this dish. It includes hot peppers, onion, garlic, tomato sauce and other spices.

Tabasco

Eta spicy flavor sauce is prepared with red tabasco chili, vinegar, salt and water, all marinated in oak barrels. It is originally from the Mexican state of Tabasco (hence its name), although it is currently marketed as an American product and sold worldwide.

Tabasco sauce

Chamoy

Chamoy sauce is made from dehydrated fruit, hot peppers, corn (corn cob), salt, sugar, vinegar and water. Its flavor is a mixture between spicy, acid and sweet. The fruits that are used for its elaboration are usually the apricot or the mango. Its appearance is reddish.

Jumile Sauce

Jumiles, mountain bugs or xotlinillis are edible hemiptera insects and are the main ingredient of this sauce, as the name implies. It is consumed especially in the states of Guerrero and Morelos. Its flavor reminds cinnamon, due to the stems and oak leaves from which these insects feed.

Cheddar cheese

This sauce is used to dipear, that is, to dip. Usually, it accompanies the nachos and is served hot, so that the cheese is melted. The main ingredient of this sauce is, as the name implies, cheddar cheese, as well as cheese spread, milk, butter, cornmeal, sweet paprika and hot peppers. Its color is yellowish-orange, because of cheddar cheese.

Creamy Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Desserts

Without a doubt, an adjective that perfectly describes the typical desserts of Mexico is “sweet.” Liquid caramel, condensed milk and, of course, sugar are ingredients widely used in Mexican pastry. If you want to know what are the most traditional desserts and sweets in Mexico, read on.

Mamey’s tie

The so-called “ate de mamey” are, in reality, pieces of the fruit of the mamey candied tree. For its preparation you need ripe mameys, chopped almonds, sugar, cinnamon and vegetable oil. Everything is crushed and a homogeneous mixture is made until a light syrup is formed.

All the ingredients are mixed until the mixture resembles a mash and, finally, they are put in a mold to form small dice. They are allowed to cool in the refrigerator before serving.

Mamey's tie

Coconut kisses

Coconut kisses are a typical Mexican dessert that is also known as Coconut kisses. It is made with condensed milk, vanilla extract and grated coconut. All these ingredients should be mixed to form a homogeneous dough that will eventually be baked.

Coconut kisses

Peanut Squid

For the preparation of this dessert raw peanuts with shell, sugar, water and red vegetable dye are needed. All these ingredients are mixed and allowed to boil over medium heat, until they become a dry mixture similar to caramel.

Peanut Squid

Sweet Alfeñique

It is a figurine, usually in the form of skull, caramel or jam and that is prepared based on pure cane sugar. It is prepared since colonial times in much of Latin America. The skull shape is due to the fact that it is a sweet that is usually taken on November 2, that is, the Day of the Dead.

Sweet Alfeñique

They are also known by the name of sugar skulls. Its preparation requires the use of various artistic techniques. Also, during the Day of the Dead, the famous Alfeñique and Regional Sweet Fair is celebrated, which has been held since 1989 and there are many street stalls where this candy is sold. In the following video you can see what we will find if we visit the Alfeñique Fair in Mexico:

Guava candy

Guava candy is a dessert similar to quince jam that is made with guavas, a very popular fruit in Mexico and Colombia and that is considered to have beneficial properties for health, among other reasons because it has a high content of Vitamin C. This sweet is made with guava, sugar or panela, cinnamon and water.

Guava candy

Caramelized apples

Caramelised or haunted apples are also a typical sweet of Day of the Dead and Halloween Night. Apples (which must be red and medium-sized) are added other ingredients such as a cup of red wine, water, whipped cream, red dye and sugar. There is a version for children in which red wine is not used, but corn syrup.

Wine-flavored caramel apples

Muéganos

This dessert is typical of the city of Huamantla, in the Mexican state of Tlaxcala. This candy basically consists of mixing popcorn with melted piloncillo syrup. The piloncillo is a syrup that is prepared from the sugarcane juice after being soaked and boiled.

Black Sapodilla Cake

Black zapote is a fruit from the tree of the same name and whose flavor is reminiscent of that of chocolate, so it is said that this cake could be the substitute for chocolate cake, and much healthier.

After crushing the fruit until a kind of mash is achieved, it is mixed with brown sugar, banana and granulated sugar. This dough is put in a mold and baked until a firm and spongy cake or pudding is achieved. It is served cold.

Black Sapodilla Cake

Drinks

From the famous tequila accompanied by a touch of salt and lemon to more natural drinks made from fruits such as lemonade or Jamaican water, among others, in Mexico it is very traditional to accompany meals with a special drink. Below we list the most popular.

Fresh waters

The name “fresh water” applies to non-alcoholic beverages made from water, fruits, flowers or grains, and sugar. These drinks are taken during lunch or lunch, and are usually made at home. The most popular are lemonade, Jamaican water, orange, tamarind and rice horchata. They are served cold and are more typical of spring and autumn.

Fresh waters

Tequila

Tequila is an alcoholic beverage originally from the municipality of Tequila, in the state of Jalisco. Its preparation consists in the fermentation and distillation of the blue agave game (agave tequilana). This drink is considered the best known internationally and representative of the country.

It is tradition to drink it with salt and lemon, because formerly at the borders of Mexico cheap tequila was served, which was not made with blue agave but with agricultural alcohols that gave it an unpleasant taste. Salt and lemon were added to reduce this flavor.

Mezcal

Mezcal is another alcoholic beverage that is made from the sugars extracted from the heads or ripe pineapples of various types of agave. It is a colorless or slightly yellowish drink.

Pulque

Pulque is a fermented alcoholic beverage that is traditional in Mexico and has a pre-Hispanic origin. It is prepared from the fermentation of mucilage, popularly known as mead, agave or maguey pulquero. Although it is consumed throughout the country, it is especially popular in Guanajuato, Guerrero, Michoacán, Oaxaca, Puebla, Hidalgo, Veracruz and San Luis Potosí, among others.

Tepache

Tepache is another very popular fermented drink in Mexico, although its alcohol level is quite low. Its taste is similar to beer, except that it has a sweet touch. It is common to use corn for its production, especially in the indigenous communities of Oaxaca, Querétaro, Puebla, Sinaloa, Yucatán, Chiapas, Tabasco…

It is considered that this drink was already taken as a symbol of religious worship in the times of the Mayans. Nowadays, it is obtained from the fermentation of various fruits such as pineapple, apple, guava or orange, among others. You can buy its version sold in supermarkets or also its homemade version, sold in some street stalls.

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