Authentic Mexican Meals

Authentic Mexican Meals
by KC Kudra

Mexican cuisine is known for its colorful presentation and healthy qualities. Home to the Aztecs, Mayans and Zapotecs, Mexico developed a strong agricultural civilization early. They grew many foods like avocados, peppers, beans, corn, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and squash. They hunted for deer, turkey, rabbit, and quail. Chocolate is grown in Mexico, and was originally served as a drink to Aztec royalty.

Once the Spanish arrived, their cuisine was introduced. Bread, cheese, beef, and cream were added to the native foods. They introduced chickens, sheep and pigs, as well as wheat and sugarcane. By the time Spain gave up ruling Mexico, their influence was well blended with the native cuisine.

Corn is a major part of Mexican meals. Cornmeal, known as masa, is made into a dough that can be formed into tortillas, empanadas, or tamales. Corn is also added to soups, stews, and other dishes. Tortillas made of flour are more common in northern Mexico. Chili peppers are also a main part of the Mexican diet. Jalapenos, poblano, and Serrano chilies are just a few of the common choices in the Mexican household.

Beans are an important part of Mexican cuisine and it provides a lot of protein. Each region has their own favorite bean. For instance, pinto beans are favored in the north, while black beans are the bean of choice on the Yucatan. Beans are used in soups, as side dishes like frijoles, and as filling.

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Other regional favorites in Mexico include beef in the north, due to the vast grazing lands; coffee and corn stew on the Pacific Coast; and seafood, fish and tropical fruits on the Gulf Coast. Central Mexico has the most Spanish influence due to the fact that this is where most of the Spanish settled. The Yucatan Peninsula is known for its shellfish, seafood, and black beans. Herbs are used all over Mexico.

If you want to try making a typical Mexican meal at home, there are many easy recipes to try out. Authentic Mexican rice recipes can set the tone for your entire meal. Rice is frequently used in Mexico as a side dish or as filling. Once you have tried a recipe or two at home, you will see how delicious authentic Mexican food can be.

Jump right in and try something new. Maybe you will try a variety of bean you have not tasted before to add a new texture or flavor. Add some simple tortillas and salsa to any meal, or add some seafood to citrus juice and make ceviche on a summer day. Tacos and quesadillas are easy enough for the kids to try.

For something different, try a Mexican breakfast. Mix some tropical fruit in a bowl for an easy meal. Scramble some eggs and salsa for heurvos rancheros. Alternatively, you can top a tortilla with an egg and add some bacon or ham, chilies, tomatoes and cheese. Serve it with some refried beans for a traditional breakfast.

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