Mexican Gold

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator border_width=”2″][vc_custom_heading text=”It’s hard to think of another ingredient that is as inextricably woven into the food culture of a country, as corn is in Mexico.” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left|color:%23000000″ use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]Corn is a grain indigenous to Mexico, domesticated approximately 10,000 years ago. In Mexican Aztec history, corn was considered a sacred plant, worshipped and celebrated in images on stone and in paintings. In Mexico, no part of the corn plant goes unused. Apart from animal feed, it is woven into housing materials, burned as fuel, and it is included in almost every dish in Mexican cuisine, eaten from noon until night. 

To start with, it is the main ingredient of tortillas, which is the basis for the bulk of Mexican food. Tortilla is a flatbread made with maize flour, used to make tacos, quesadillas, chilaquiles, enchiladas, nacho chips and tostadas. Corn is also used in Mexican desserts like sweet corn cake (pastel de elote). If that weren’t enough, many foods in Mexico are steamed in cornhusks. Enter the tamale…[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”Dating back to the ancient Aztec and Mayan civilizations, tamales were a peasant dish, considered a sacred food of the Gods.” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1588712899952{margin-top: 30px !important;margin-right: 50px !important;margin-bottom: 30px !important;margin-left: 50px !important;padding-top: 25px !important;padding-right: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 25px !important;padding-left: 25px !important;background-color: #212931 !important;border-radius: 4px !important;}”][vc_custom_heading text=”Tamales” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:left|color:%23000000″ use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_class=”uppercase”][vc_column_text]This traditional main dish is made of maize dough (masa), filled with any blend of slow cooked meat, cheeses, vegetables and chiles, wrapped in a corn husk and steamed. At that point the masa will have become firmer, so you can discard the wrapper and enjoy the delicious corn parcel known as a tamale. Typically, tamales are served with beans and a variety of condiments, such as guacamole and ranchero sauce. [/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”7565″ img_size=”600×400″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow”][vc_column_text]Dating back to the ancient Aztec and Mayan civilizations, tamales were a peasant dish, considered a sacred food of the Gods. They were commonly taken on hunting trips and when traveling long distances, since they were an easily portable food. In those ancient times, tamales were made simply with beans and squash but they became more elaborate when Europeans brought chicken, pork, and many other foods to the New World. 

Tamales are somewhat labor-intensive to make, but once you make the dough, the rest is really quite simple. Cheese tamales can be a great choice for beginners, until you get the hang of the process. Be prepared, making tamales can be an addictive kitchen sport![/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”7570″ img_size=”600×400″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow”][vc_custom_heading text=”Mexican Truffle” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:left|color:%23000000″ use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_class=”uppercase”][vc_column_text]Huitlacoche (pronounced whee-tla-KOH-cheh) is a strange looking fungus that grows on the ears of corn and is considered a delicacy used in Mexican cuisine. So much so, that scoring the fresh stuff is like winning the food lottery. Most of the time it’s found frozen or in a can and can be used raw or cooked. 

Utilizing the corn fungus dates back to the Aztec civilization, who frequently used the savory fungus in tamales and stews. Since then, huitlacoche has had ceremonial and medicinal uses, and is not only a fixture in Mexican cuisine, but proudly served in some of the finest restaurants in the world. [/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”Utilizing the corn fungus dates back to the Aztec civilization, who frequently used the savory fungus in tamales and stews.” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1588713019022{margin-top: 30px !important;margin-right: 50px !important;margin-bottom: 30px !important;margin-left: 50px !important;padding-top: 25px !important;padding-right: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 25px !important;padding-left: 25px !important;background-color: #212931 !important;border-radius: 4px !important;}”][vc_column_text]The soft, grey paste has been called Mexican truffle and contains more protein and fiber than  regular corn. Its earthy flavor can best be described as a corn-mushroom hybrid and it is enjoyed as a filling in dishes, such as quesadillas, and burritos, though it can also be sautéed and added to sauces. When heated, a black inky liquid emerges. Huitlacoche is a peculiar ingredient, to say the least. [/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”Elote and Pazole” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:left|color:%23000000″ use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_class=”uppercase”][vc_column_text]As important as tacos and tamales are to Mexican cuisine, there are two other dishes that are Mexican must-haves, also made using corn. They are Elote and Pozole. 

Elote is Mexican corn on the cob and is a common street food there. This messy snack is made by either roasting or boiling sweet corn, then it is slathered in mayonnaise, crema, and chili powder before a generous sprinkling of cotija (queso anejado), a crumbly cow’s milk cheese which falls somewhere between feta and parmesan. There is also a snack known as esquites that is basically just the same corn removed from its cob and served in a cup. 

[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”7566″ img_size=”600×400″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow”][vc_custom_heading text=”Pozole is a traditional Mexican comfort food that is a cross between a soup and a stew.” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1588713192324{margin-top: 30px !important;margin-right: 50px !important;margin-bottom: 30px !important;margin-left: 50px !important;padding-top: 25px !important;padding-right: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 25px !important;padding-left: 25px !important;background-color: #212931 !important;border-radius: 4px !important;}”][vc_column_text]Pozole is a traditional Mexican comfort food that is a cross between a soup and a stew. There are 3 types: Red (Rojo), White (Blanco) and Green (Verde). The word pozole means hominy (dried corn soaked in a mineral lime bath) which is first cooked in a broth. Then shredded pork is typically added, and several ingredients, such as diced lettuce, chiles, onions, avocados and lime are used to garnish it. It is commonly served as a celebratory dish, enjoyed on New Year’s Eve, birthdays and Mexican holidays. [/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”7568″ img_size=”600×400″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow”][vc_column_text]It isn’t hard to see why corn is the most celebrated ingredient in Mexico. It is a crop that has been a nutritional staple for centuries and, moreover, has shaped the country. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]