Mexican cuisine


Mexican cuisine, a style of food that originates in Mexico, is known for its varied flavors, colourful decoration and variety of spices and ingredients, most of which are native to the country. The cuisine of Mexico has evolved through thousands of years of blending indigenous cultures, with later foreign elements added after the 16th century. In November 2010, Mexican cuisine was added by UNESCO to its lists of the world's "intangible cultural heritage".
The staples of Mexican foods are typically corn and beans. Corn is used to make masa, a dough for tamales, tortillas, gorditas, and many other corn-based foods. Corn is also eaten fresh, as corn on the cob and as a component of a number of dishes.Squash and chili peppers are also prominent in Mexican cuisine. Mexican cuisine is considered one of the most varied in the world, after Chinese and Indian.
The most frequently used herbs and spices in Mexican cuisine are chiles, oregano, cilantro, epazote, cinnamon, and cocoa.Chipotle, a smoke-dried jalapeño chilli, is also common in Mexican cuisine. Many Mexican dishes also contain garlic andonions.
Honey is an important ingredient in many Mexican dishes, such as the rosca de miel, a bundt-like cake, and in beverages such asbalché.
Next to corn, rice is the most common grain in Mexican cuisine. According to food writer Karen Hursh Graber, the initial introduction of rice to Spain from North Africa in the 4th century led to the Spanish introduction of rice into Mexico at the port of Veracruz in the 1520s. This, Graber says, created one of the earliest instances of the world's greatest fusion cuisines.[2]
Alcoholic beverages native to Mexico include mescal, pulque, and tequila. Beer in Mexico has a long history. While Mesoamerican cultures knew of fermented alcoholic beverages, including a corn beer, long before the Spanish conquest, European-style beer brewed with barley was introduced with the Spanish soon after Hernán Cortés arrival. The arrival of German immigrants and the short-lived empire of Austrian Maximilian I in the 19th century provided the impetus for the opening of many breweries in various parts of the country. There are also international award-winning Mexican wineries that produce and export wine.

Mexican-style tortillas
Corn (maize), one of the world's major grain crops, is thought to have originated in Mexico. When conquistadores arrived in the Aztec capitalTenochtitlan (now Mexico City), they found that the people's diet consisted largely of corn-based dishes with chiles and herbs, usually complemented with beans and tomatoes or nopales.[3] The diet of the indigenous peoples of pre-Columbian Mexico also included chocolate,vanilla, tomatillos, avocado, guava, papaya, sapote, mamey, pineapple, soursop, jicama, squash, sweet potato, bell peppers, peanuts, agave,chili peppers, chicle, sunflower seeds, achiote, huitlacoche, turkey, and fish. In the 1520s, while Spanish conquistadors were invading Mexico, they introduced a variety of animals, including cattle, chickens, goats, sheep, and pigs. Rice, wheat, and barley were also introduced as wereolive oil, wine, almonds, parsley, and many spices. The imported Spanish cuisine was eventually incorporated into the indigenous cuisine.
Regional cuisine

Carne asada

Piñon Mole

Chapulines, (roastedgrasshoppers), for sale in anOaxacan market.
Mexican food varies by region because of Mexico's large size,[15] local climate and geography, ethnic differences among the indigenous inhabitants and because these different populations were influenced by the Spaniards in varying degrees.[citation needed] The north of Mexico is known for its beef, goat and ostrich production and meat dishes, in particular the well-known arrachera cut.
Northern Mexico is also known for its carne asada (lit., "grilled meat"), an item that consists of thin beef steak. The meat can be marinated by rubbing with olive oil and sea salt or with spice rubs such as lemon and pepper or garlic salt, lime and Worcestershire sauce, before being cooked on a grill. The dish is traditionall in the states of Sonora, Baja California, Baja California Sur, Coahuila, Sinaloa, Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Durango, and Tamaulipas.
In the Yucatán, a unique, natural sweetness (instead of spiciness) exists in the widely used local produce along with significant use of achioteseasoning. In contrast, the Oaxacan region is known for its savory tamales, celebratory moles, and simple tlayudas, while the mountainous regions of the West (Jalisco, etc.) are known for goat birria (goat in a spicy tomato-based sauce).
Central Mexico's cuisine is largely influenced by the rest of the country, but has unique and tasty dishes such as pozole, menudo, barbacoaand carnitas.
Southeastern Mexico is known for its spicy vegetable and chicken-based dishes. Cochinita pibil (also puerco pibil) is a traditional Mexican slow-roastedpork dish from the Yucatán Península. The cuisine of Southeastern Mexico has a considerable Caribbean influence due to its location. Seafood is commonly prepared in states that border the Pacific Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico, the latter having a famous reputation for its fish dishes, à la veracruzana. According to the book "Mexico One Plate At A Time," even though the dish ceviche has been a part of traditional Mexican coastal cuisine for centuries, ceviche is not a dish native to Mexico. Despite this, Mexican ceviche has developed its own distinct styles that make it unique from the other variations available. The origin of ceviche is disputed but its a seafood dish popular in the coastal regions of the Americas.
Mexican laws state that tequila can be produced only in the state of Jalisco and limited regions in the states of Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, andTamaulipas. Mexico has claimed the exclusive international right to the word "tequila". The truest tequila of all is said to come solely from the highlands of Jalisco. In a similar fashion, Mezcal is distinctly known to originate and be exclusive to the Sierra regions of Oaxaca.
In pueblos or villages, there are also more exotic dishes, cooked in the Aztec or Mayan style (known as comida prehispánica) with ingredients ranging from iguana to rattlesnake, deer, corn fungus, spider monkey, chapulines, ant eggs, and other kinds of insects.
Street cuisine
Throughout the country one of the most popular forms to buy food is from informal street vendors. Despite sanitary concerns, its consumption is extremely widespread in cities because it's the most practical and often cheapest way to lunch after the fast food. The dishes most commonly offered by street vendors are tacos, tortas, quesadillas, tamales, elotes, abulon, camotes, water-based ice cream, and candy; and drinks such as aguas frescas, tejuino, tepache, and atole.
Modern cuisine
Recently other cuisines of the world have acquired popularity in Mexico, thus adopting a Mexican fusion cuisine. For example, sushi in Mexico is often made with a variety of sauces based on local ingredients like mango or tamarind and very often served with serrano-blended soy sauce, or complimented with habanero and chipotlepeppers. The large immigration of Middle Easterns, Africans, Asians, and Europeans in Mexico has influenced Mexican cuisine as well, but the most influential is the Spanish cuisine. For example, Paella, Dates, Tacos Árabes and dolma have their origins in Arab cuisine.