13th May 2016
Ok, so I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a pretty big offender when it comes to inviting people over, cooking up a chilli, throwing down some nachos and sour cream on the table and calling it a Mexican night. However, I’m starting to get a real insight into what might really cut it as the real deal when it comes to Mexican Foods.
So you thought the Big Night In Calzone was the biggest piece of folded food you’ve ever seen. Well think again kids, you’ve obviously never seen a Tlayuda before.
No I can’t pronounce it either, but let’s not get distracted by minor details. It’s basically a huuuuge corn tortilla, that is first smeared in pork fat, smothered in black beans, filled with lettuce or veg and then folded and grilled until teeth-crackingly crispy. Before serving, the main filling is placed on top, and in my case, that was just a quaint little garnish of OH-IT’S-A-WHOLE-STEAK! (sit down Jamie) It sure isn’t glamorous, but who needs glamour when you’ve got food that’s bigger than your head in front of you.
At first glance these reminds me of British BBQs. You know, when you stick some corn on the grill and slather it in butter, and sit inside to eat it whilst you watch the garden get rained on through the window. I’ve recently come to learn however, that it is hands down the most common street snack that you’ll come across in Mexico*.
And then this is where it gets random… either grilled or boiled, the cob is then rubbed with lime, sprinkled with chilli, slathered in mayonnaise and sprinkled with fresh cheese. I’m not even making it up. Whether it sounds like something you’d like or not, you’ve not eaten Mexican food until you’ve tried one of these.
*Probably not a real fact, you’re just going to have to trust me on this one.
Forget your Eggs Benny, there’s a new brunch in town. It starts with a plate of crispy fried tortillas (similar to nachos), which is drenched in a thick red or green salsa, pulled chicken and finally topped with lashings of cheese. Incase that’s not enough, usually it’s served with re-fried black beans, and in some places – a fried egg *insert Ha-le-lu-jah emoji here*.
The green salsa is typically made from tomatillos (Ben, that’s “Tom-ah-teee-yoh’s” by the way), whilst the red is made from tomatoes, both with a Mexican amount of chilli in them. However, the absolute beauty of the dish is as they’re served, the chips are crispy, but as you make your way through it, they slowly become gloriously soft and warm. Mmmmmmmm…..
4. Lime soup
Need a use for leftover nachos from your fake Mexican dinner party? Introducing, Lime soup.
It sounds like a weird one, but stick with me. A base of chicken stock, lifted with the juice of several limes, plenty of diced veggies, shredded chicken and then finally, strips of crispy tortillas dropped in at the last minute. The heat of the soup slowly takes on the toasted corn flavour and you’re left with a delicious chicken-y, lime-y, corn-y soup and it’s going to make your Mum’s chicken soup pale into insignificance. (Sorry Mum, your Yorkshire puddings are still top dollar though I promise.)
Ok so Pozol isn’t technically a food, it’s a drink, but it is hugely popular in the region of Chiapas and despite being thousands of years old, it was completely new to me.
I can’t lie, when I first saw the huge brown bowl of it in the market, frothing with white lumps of fermenting corn on top, I really wasn’t convinced. But as soon as I found out it had a base of cacao, my head was nearly in the bowl. Along with cacao, the drink is also made from fermented corn, a bunch of spices like cinnamon and achiote (a red paste made from the annatto seeds) and is finally sweetened with a little sugar. It’s probably not one you’re going to make everyday at home, but if you ever get the chance to taste it, don’t pass up the chance, although perhaps just go for a cup instead of dipping your whole head in.
Lou and Dave are currently travelling through Mexico and are doing a grand job of updating us with all the food they discovers along the way! To keep up with the full story and to find even more stunning photos, don’t forget to follow them on instagram @twohungrybrits and catch up with their blog.
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