Mexican Magic

Smita Mishra

Mexican is the name of food famous for being spicy and stylish ie when it comes on platter it steals hearts due to its beautiful decoration and amazing flavours.

Spicy, flavoured and stylish, these three words truly describe a cuisine known to the world as ‘Mexican’. Lets refer to it as ‘original Mexican’ because there are several regional variations known as Tex Mex, Cal Mex and New Mexican, which are very often used interchangeably and confused with each other.

Today’s Mexican food is actually a fusion of the native Mexican cuisine and the traditions brought by the Spanish colonists. From the native diet of corn and beans to a gourmet of rice, beef, pork, chicken, wine, garlic and onions, the Mexican food has come a long way. Unlike Indian and Chinese cuisines that remained stoically unaltered despite the onslaughts of the colonial tradition, the Mexican food exhibited more flexibility and adaptability and changed to adopt several new inclusions which over the years became part and parcel of this American pabulum.

Those who have eaten tortillas and rellenos should not think that they have had enough Mexican food. These are nothing more than the tip of an iceberg- a tasty one at that! Mexican kitchen has much more to offer than the chilaquiles, tortillas, tacho and enchilada. Each region has its own variation, its own special touch. From Mole Poblano in Puebla to Huevos Rancheros in Sonora, Mexico has an amazing variety to offer.

Tortilla, which remains the unifying string across Mexico, has corn as the main ingredient, which has been the staple diet of Mexico for over 4,000 years. The corn kernels are softened in water and lime and then ground into tortillas. Protein-rich beans are another important item of the Mexican food chart. Cheese and sugar are undoubtedly Spanish additions. A very unique feature of the Mexican cuisine is the use of an incredible array of fruits. Tomatoes, sweet potatoes, avocado, coconut, pineapple, papaya and squash are a few commonly used fruits. Cinnamon, clove, anise and cumin are some frequently used spices, while cilantro, thyme, marjoram and the pungent epazote are popular herbs.

What distinguishes Mexican food from other types of cuisine is its use of chilly- called ‘chile’ in Mexican. Green, ripened, roasted chilies are an essential part of almost all dishes. The Mexican cuisine wears a very rich and colourful look because it uses a variety of vegetables and meats as ingredients. The influence of the long Caribbean coastline is reflected in the use of fishes and lobsrers in an array of dishes.

As in every country and with all foods, in Mexico too topography and geography have played a significant role in placing specific foods in specific regions. While north Mexico is famous for meat and beef dishes, south is known for its spicy, tangy vegetables. Fish, prawn, lobsters, crabs, shrimp are all the specialities of the coastal Veracruz. The Aztec, Maya, Zapotec impact is not quite lost even though Mexico remained a Spanish colony for nearly four hundred years. Some ethnic dishes comprise some of the wierdest items that can be imagined to brought to a dinner table. Who would think of spider monkey, rattlesnake and iguana as food items! Though not very common, these exotic numbers have quite a fan following.

Mexican must-haves:

Spanish Rice

Cilantro Soup Side

Cole Slaw

Green Chili Soup

Cilantro Soup

Beef Green Chili Stew