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Head South of the Border with These Mexican-Inspired Recipes

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Even if you don’t have the same amount of experience as a world-famous traveler, you know that food is unique to the location. Breakfast in Thailand may be different than breakfast in the United Kingdom. A sweet snack in South Africa isn’t often the same as a treat in Guatemala. 

For foodies and those who love to explore new types of cuisines and flavors, this can be an exciting thrill. Perhaps it is one of your favorite parts about traveling. 

So while may not always be able to drop everything and travel abroad and take on new experiences, we can still get creative in our own kitchens. Whether you want to head to Bangkok or Mexico City, you can attempt to bring a little bit of culture into your own meals. 

All Aboard: Mexican Cuisine 

One of the most beloved and versatile types of cuisine is Mexican. While fast food chains and other cultural influences may have adjusted our perception of authentic Mexican cuisine, it’s worth exploring in its organic and true roots. 

Yet keep in mind that even as we cook and explore new recipes, we enter the kitchen with our own preferences and biases toward ingredients. Whether Mexican cuisine has been a part of your story your entire life or are curious about moving past tacos, traditional Mexican dishes can be a fun way to experience culture without leaving your home. 

Location Matters 

Like many other types of cuisine, the ingredients and flavors incorporated may depend on which region of the country of origin you’re “visiting.” The type of Mexican cuisine in northern Mexico is different than that of the south. In fact, Mexico is thought to be divided into seven main regions that can each have their own take on cultural cuisine. 

  • El Norte - This northern region of Mexico features ingredients like grilled meats and cheese with their large ranching component. They also are known for their variety of types of tortillas that pair perfectly with most dishes. 
  • North Pacific - Along the seashore, the cuisine on the Pacific coast incorporates more seafood and fish options in their cuisine. Whether raw or cooked, these menu items incorporate fresh from the sea main dishes with sides of veggies and grains. 
  • Bajio - Travelling south, the Bajio region includes locations like Queretaro and Guanajuato. Features here include pork, called carnitas, rice and other specialty dishes. 
  • Central Mexico - Once you hit the Mexico City area, you can expect to find taco stands as well as torta shops rich with flavor and culture. This region is also where you’ll find dishes like chalupas and barbacoa. 
  • Gulf - With a strong influence of Caribbean and African cuisine, dishes here emphasize seafood as well as sweet additions like plantains and vanilla. 
  • South Pacific Coast - The cuisine of the South Pacific Coast invites you to explore a little with both bold ingredients like insects as well as common staples like pork and corn. This is also where you’ll find the origins of mole sauce and its many variations. 
  • South - With its Mayan roots, the cuisine of Southern Mexico can incorporate slower cooking methods and fruits like tamarind and plums. 

As you plan your culinary itinerary, keep these regions in mind. Not all dishes categorized as Mexican cuisine come from the same part of the country. 

Food For All Occasions 

Whether you’re celebrating an annual holiday or just a weeknight dinner, Mexican cuisine comes with dishes for all occasions. There are certainly some staples like tacos, fajitas, enchiladas and more that you can always count on. Snacks like guacamole or churros can be easy to devour. Many of these things are great on the go. And if you’re celebrating a holiday like Day of the Dead, you can also enjoy specialty treats and dishes to commemorate the day. 

Travel to Mexico Right From Your Kitchen 

Ready to board a plane or pack the car? While we may not all be able to travel to these various regions to get the full experience of their cuisines, we can at least get a little taste by trying out dishes and recipes right in our own kitchen. Whether Mexican cuisine has been your natural menu or if you’re interested in learning more about culture through food, you can get just a sample with great recipes and dishes. To help you get started, here we share a few favorite recipes that will have you saying, “mas, por favor!” 

Tacos 

A go-to for Mexican cuisine. One just won’t be enough. 

Grilled Vegetable Taco - Go vegetarian with this classic Mexican favorite. Top it off with a zesty corn salsa that amps up the flavor with a Habanero Agave Agrodolce

Baja Chicken Bowls - Bring in flavorful veggies and classic Mexican flavors like lime and cilantro in this easy, quick meal. Bonus points if you make your own version of a taco seasoning. 

Charred Corn and Chorizo Taco - Top off a favorite with a vibrant Green Chili Mojo that incorporates a heated Poblano pepper and Tunisian Harissa Olive Oil. That heat is moderated with a sweet mango addition. 

Pork Tacos with Spicy Mango Slaw - Blend a harmonious sweet and spicy flavor with these light pork tacos topped with a slaw that turns up the heat with a spicy balsamic.

Tacos Al Pastor - Whip up your own adobo to top off this flavor-packed take on pork tacos.  

More Favorites 

Try out a more authentic method of preparation with these commonly heard - and eated - Mexican dishes. 

Enchiladas Suisas - Drench your clean enchilada in this zesty and flavorful tomatillo salsa that may just have you eating it by the spoonful. 

Cheese Quesadilla - Perfect for any age, this classic has a hint of spice with Chipolte olive oil.

Corn & Black Bean Salsa - This basic recipe leaves plenty of room for creativity and customizing it to your own taste preferences. You can even spice it up with some honey vinegar

Tostada de Picadillo - Top off a delicious tostada with some bright cabbage to give it a complex texture that will have you asking for seconds. 

Green Chili Tamales - Enjoy the art of cooking with making each component of tamales from scratch. From the filling to the dough to topping it off with a zesty salsa verde, you can get a taste of culture by making these at home. 

Vegetable Quesadillas with Black Bean Salsa and Border Guacamole - Add some versatility and flair to two tortillas with cheese. With so many flavor combinations and ingredients, you can make custom dinners based on each person’s preferences. 

Buen Viaje a Mexico! 

While we may face some physical travel limitations, we can still get a taste of walking the streets of Mexico with these tasty and delightful recipes. Whether you like things sweet or spicy, you can find it all in Mexican cuisine. Try out a new recipe and travel to Mexico without even leaving your kitchen.  

 

 

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