5 Cooking Secrets Only Mexican Chefs Know – Eat This Not That
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrate traditions and historic cuisine by cooking up authentic Mexican dishes. Try having tender barbacoa tacos, topped with homemade salsa verde, accompanied by a bowl of crispy tortilla chips with the freshest and tastiest guacamole to spice up your taste buds. Maybe there’s a tower of cheesy, spicy nachos smothered in jalapenos with your name on it. Either way, and whatever your favorite dish, this is the month to try and cook the way Abuela planned.
If you’re looking to prepare authentic Mexican cuisine from the comfort of your home, you’ve just hit the jackpot. Here is 5 Cooking Secrets Only Mexican Chefs Know to help you on your way. Hope you’re in the mood for a plate of spice!
And if you’re still hungry for dessert, check out 8 Baking Secrets They Only Teach You In Baking School.
Abuela style, “mide con tus manos”, or measure with your hands. It’s not uncommon for recipe cards in a Mexican kitchen to lack exact measurements next to the ingredient list. Authentic dishes are prepared with a keen sense of precision and a handful (or more) of heart.
In 2019, Doña Angela launched a YouTube cooking page called “From Mi Rancho to Tu Cocina” (From My Ranch to Your Kitchen) and instantly became internet famous for its authenticity and ability to bring Abuela’s food straight to your screen. In an interview with NPRAngela says, “I’m just grabbing with my fingers,” and she explains that all you need is love and attention, because “food cooked without it isn’t good.”
Fries and guac are an obvious staple when you sit down at any Mexican restaurant. But when that craving hits home, don’t be so quick to search for a ton of ingredients like cream or so many spices. The biggest secret to making an authentic guacamole is using only the key ingredients at their peak of freshness – avocados, tomatoes, chili, cilantro, salt and a good squeeze of lime – said Edson Diaz-Fuentes, chef and co-founder originally from Mexico City. from London Restaurant Santo Remedioin an interview with Delight.
The smoothness and creaminess we all want in a good guacamole will come from using the ripest avocados you can find, says Diaz-Fuentes. And as simple as it sounds, the few ingredients listed above provide plenty of flavor that you don’t want to overwhelm with excess elements. Diaz-Fuentes says it’s best to steer clear of pepper, paprika, or any other dried spices that might overpower your refreshing chip dip.
In early Mexican heritage, especially before ovens became widely available, it was best to cook most foods over an open fire and/or use cast iron or ceramic cookware. However, now that times have changed and cooking appliances have grown exponentially, many Mexican chefs are using these new methods to continue bringing together old school recipes and flavors.
According to Chelsie Kenyon, author of “Mexican Knack Kitchen: A Step-by-Step Guide to Authentic Dishes Made Easy”. And while meats were often steamed over boiling water back in the day, since modern upgrades, cuts of beef, like barbacoa and birria, go through a process similar to using a dutch oven, Kenyon goes on to say. The secret is that using an oven to slowly roast meats can help pack in powerful flavors and lock in the most delicious moisture. Grilling has also greatly enhanced Mexican dishes, whether it’s a nice piece of marinated carne asada or lending a smoky hand to fresh vegetables to bring out the authentic taste of how they cooked over an open fire. .
There are many types of salsa and sauces used in Mexican cuisine, many of which are one of the main components of a specific dish. Since various meals depend on certain sauces, it’s important to master the recipes and use the right proportions for whatever you need, explains Don Emilioa beloved brand of Mexican hot sauces sold in 32 US states.
Mole sauce, for example, is a sauce typically made with chocolate and used in stews, enchiladas, and meat platters. Foods are often dipped in this sweet and savory sauce with an incredible spicy kick, which is why the ratio of rich chocolate to a variety of peppers, nuts and spices is crucial.
Salsa, on the other hand, needs love, attention, and time to simmer and meld into a punch of big flavors. According to Don Emilio, since there are so many salsa options, it’s also best to practice making them all to find the tastes and ingredients you enjoy the most. However, you also stick to simple, classic salsas because when done right, they can make any dish even tastier, like salsa verde (made with tomatillo tomatoes), pico de gallo ( mix of tomatoes, onions and peppers), salsa ranchera (puréed tomatoes, peppers and garlic) and salsa Veracruz (made with tomatoes and green olives).
While it can be convenient to buy pre-packaged cooking components, such as rice, salsas, tortillas, or beans, cooking from scratch is part of a tradition. Do an authentic staple, such as beans, you can’t just throw a can of the bland, crushed mixture into a pan. Not a single person in Mexico would hesitate to cook anything other than fresh dried beans which are boiled to a soft consistency with a light touch of salt (and/or possibly onions), writes Kate Elliott, chef and writer for Cooktop Cove.