Uno Más Por Fa­vor

Lonely Planet Magazine (US) - - Contents -

Spicy tacos, sat­is­fy­ing soups and re­fresh­ing agua fresca: Mex­i­can chefs are tak­ing south-of-the-bor­der cui­sine to a whole new level. And we have the recipes.

AUTHEN­TIC RECIPES FROM THE PEO­PLE WHO KNOW THEM

BEST

Steeped in his­tory and packed with the punch of New World heat, Mex­ico’s cui­sine cov­ers a vast ar­ray of fla­vors, re­gions and sto­ries. Get to know them with these south-of-the-bor­der recipes to try at home. ¡Buen prove­cho!

TWith ex­cerpts and recipes adapted from Lonely Planet’s Mex­ico From the Source, writ­ten by

KATE ARM­STRONG, KRISTIN DIAZ DE SANDI, SCARLETT LINDEMAN, JOHN HECHT & MICHELE PETER­SON

Pho­to­graphs by LIND­SAY LAUCKNER GUNDLOCK Il­lus­tra­tions by LOUISE SHEERAN

he story of Mex­i­can cui­sine is an epic span­ning eras, land­scapes and peo­ple. It be­gins in Me­soamer­ica, with characters from the pre–Columbian cul­tures of the Aztec and Maya. To­day, many lo­cal sta­ples come from the Aztec diet, which was pri­mar­ily vege­tar­ian and cen­tered around corn. In Yu­catán, an­cient Maya fla­vors live on in the of­ten-used in­gre­di­ents of lime, or­ange and the no­to­ri­ous ha­banero chili pep­per. The ar­rival of the Span­ish brought do­mes­ti­cated an­i­mals and Euro­pean cook­ing tech­niques, giv­ing the na­tion new twists on old meth­ods, a tra­di­tion that con­tin­ues to this day.

To­day, Mex­ico is home to one of the world’s most renowned street food cul­tures. In Mex­ico City, an­to­ji­tos (street-food bites) be­stow the streets with scents of home­made salsa, rich onion- and beef-topped chalu­pas, and woody, black­ened corn. Head to Oax­aca for a col­or­ful street food scene with snacks like gar­nachas, orig­i­nally served as party food at ve­las (fes­ti­vals). Ven­ture to Pue­bla and you’ll ex­pe­ri­ence the city that gave birth to the choco­late-and-chili mole poblano.

A blos­som­ing gourmet scene also has es­tab­lished it­self in the coun­try. In Baja Cal­i­for­nia, up­mar­ket seafood, trendy craft brew­eries and vine­yards stretch across one of the world’s largest penin­su­las. In coastal restau­rants here, young chefs mix lo­cal del­i­ca­cies like lob­ster and fish tacos with con­tem­po­rary Asian fla­vors. On the Pa­cific Coast, din­ers eat on sun-soaked ter­races along­side shrimp mar­kets, sam­pling lo­cal fruits, herbs and ed­i­ble flow­ers that com­ple­ment ex­otic dishes like fish and co­conut ce­viche.

In spite of Mex­ico’s re­gional vari­a­tions, the over­rid­ing theme is a col­lec­tive re­source­ful­ness. Com­mu­ni­ties unite in prepar­ing for fi­es­tas, where food is cre­ated both to feed the masses and de­liver a cel­e­bra­tory ex­cla­ma­tion point. Dishes come alive in the pueb­los, with fes­tiv­i­ties mark­ing pa­tron saint cel­e­bra­tions, wed­dings and birth­days – es­pe­cially quinceañeras (15th birth­day cel­e­bra­tions) – think warm­ing chiles en no­gada, pork tacos and pots of po­zole stew.

This is the essence of what makes Mex­i­can cui­sine unique: a fu­sion of Old World and New World; lo­cal, fresh in­gre­di­ents; and a strong sense of com­mu­nity. So pull up a chair. We have some sto­ries – and some recipes – for you.

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