The Many Ways of Cooking Mexican Food | By KC Kudra
Mexican foods, like many other foods, can be boiled, grilled, or fried. These are modern Mexican cooking styles but Mexican traditional cooking techniques were rather different.
In ancient times, Mexicans did not have ovens. Instead, they would cook Mexican food over an open fire, which was the most common out of all the Mexican traditional cooking techniques.
The food would be placed in iron pots before cooking. This Mexican cooking method is similar to how we cook food on the grill these days. The Aztecs steamed and boiled their food in two handled clay pots before the Spanish introduced iron cooking pots. These two handled clay pots were called xoctli. The pot would be filled with food and then heated over an open fire. A lot of foods were fried and Mexican cooking features frying to this day.
Today in the present, it is a lot easier to cook Mexican dishes. It takes less time to prepare the foods. If someone wants to make homemade tortillas, there are iron pans that make it easy. Flans are made simply using spring form type pans. Long ago, it was a long process to make masa, which is a dish that includes a certain type of corn that has to be grinded. Nowadays you can purchase a metal grinder that helps grind the masa.
When you are making Mexican cooking recipes, the oven is perfect for many of them. You can bake meat, fish, and vegetables easily. You can also cook foods in a pot of water with added spices. A lot of Mexican recipes can even be made in a crock pot or slow cooker. Large steaming pots simplify the tamale cooking process. They take a long time to cook so a large pot means you can cook more at once, instead of in smaller batches.
Grilling Mexican food is another way to enjoy it. Foods used to be cooked this way many years ago and it was called “barbacoa.” With this Mexican cookery method, meat was wrapped in banana leaves and cactus leaves and steamed over boiling water in a large pit. If you want to learn how to cook Mexican food, this is not the easiest technique for a novice! Food cooked in this way would have tasted similar to our grilled food of today. Fajitas are a good example of a perfect Mexican food to grill.
Mexicans many years ago used “metate y mano,” which was a large tool with a concave surface, made from stone or lava rock. This utensil was used to mash the ingredients together. A “molcajete” is another ancient Mexican cooking tool, which translates as a mortar and pestle. You would learn about these ancient cooking tools in a Mexican cooking class, although we use different utensils today.
Cooking almost always requires stirring somewhere in the preparation. Wooden spoons have been around for many hundreds of years and are still widely used. There are different types of spoons today, depending on whether you are moving meat around in hot oil or stirring a thick sauce.
There is a rich history behind Mexican food and Mexican traditional cooking techniques. The methods might have changed through the ages but the food is still traditional. Food tastes different when cooked in different ways and there are plenty of Mexican recipes to try out and enjoy.