Mexican food is rich, flavorful, simple and yet, complex. Seasonings and ingredients vary by region. For example; Tropical fruits are combined with fish and seafood to create aromatic and delicious dishes in the Yucatan, Puebla is home to famous mole dishes and the central regions still prepare the unique indigenous foods that were popular at the time of the conquest.
Generally, Mexican food is not hot. Salsas are served as accompaniments to a meal. Mexican cooks spend too much time preparing a meal, to have the flavors buried under the salsa. The food is to be savored and enjoyed in the company of family and friends. Authentic Mexican food is very different from the Tex-Mex foods found in the Southwest.
Below is a guide to some of the more popular Mexican dishes and their modes of preparation.
Moles
Moles are complex pastes made with a combination of spices, chiles and sometimes fruits. The most famous mole poblano is a combination of chiles, garlic, peanuts, almonds, sesame seed, raisins, chocolate and plantains. To prepare mole with chicken, the mole is added to chicken broth and chicken pieces. Moles can be green, red, yellow and black. It all depends upon the ingredients.
Tacos
The most popular tacos are those in which the meat is placed on top of hot, soft corn tortillas. Tacos dorados are tacos that are filled, then fried.
Quesadillas
Quesadillas are made fresh, beginning with the corn tortilla. The tortilla is rolled into a large oval and cooked. Popular fillings are ham, beef, chorizo (sausage) and cheese. It is folded somewhat like a burrito and about the same size.
Next time you go to a Mexican restaurant, take a chance and try something new. Mexican food is more than just tacos and enchiladas.