Among the staples of Mexican food are beans and corn. Corn is used to make masa, a dough that is then turned into tortillas and tamales.
Mexican cooking is packed with flavor among the herbs and spices that give it its distinct kick are a variety of chilies (fresh, dried, smoked and pickled), alongside oregano, coriander (known as cilantro in North America), cinnamon and cocoa. Garlic, onions, lemons, and limes are also used generously.
Mexico’s six regions vary considerably in terms of cuisine due to key differences in geography, climate, and ethnic makeup. For example, the north of Mexico is known for its beef, goat and ostrich production. In the Yucatan, food tends to be sweeter and less spicy and achiote is the most common seasoning, whereas the Oaxacan region is known for its savory tamales and mole sauces. Popular dishes of Central Mexico include carnitas (braised or roasted pork) and pozole (a pre-Columbian meat stew.) Southeastern Mexico cooking has a Caribbean influence due to its geography and is known both for its fish dishes and spicy vegetable and chicken dishes.
There’s a common perception that Mexican food is both spicy and heavy but, in fact, true Mexican food has both a depth of flavor – with its combination of savory and earthy flavors – and a fresh lightness from its generous use of fresh herbs, vegetables, and citrus. In most of Mexico, it would be very unusual to put cheese in tacos, enchiladas or tostadas, for example, and if it were used it would be a Mexican panela cheese (a smooth, fresh, white cheese).
Mexican food in Kirksville has long been far more of the “Tex Mex” variety, but this is slowly but surely changing.
Here is a simple recipe to make our delicious Pico de Gallo
- 3 tomatoes, diced
- 1 1/2 fresh jalapeno, finely chopped
- 3 tpsp chopped cilantro
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1 tsp salt