Mexican Cuisine Definitions

Some Valuable Mexican Cuisine Definitions

  • Adobo: a seasoning paste, usually containing ground chiles, vinegar, garlic and spices
  • Barbacoa: meat cooked in a sealed, underground pit
  • Borracho: cooked with booze
  • Burrito: various fillings wrapped in a large flour tortilla
  • Asado: grilled or broiled
  • Carnitas: pork simmered in lard until tender and crisp
  • Ceviche: pieces of raw fish marinated in lime juice and mixed with other ingredients
  • Chalupas: elongated crisp tortillas with a ridge around the edge topped with various fillings
  • Charro beans: pinto beans stewed with other ingredients such as onion, garlic, and bacon
  • Chiles rellenos: deep fried chili peppers stuffed with cheese or other fillings
  • Chimichanga: deep fried burrito
  • Chorizo: Mexican style sausage
  • Empanada: pastry turnover stuffed with meat or sweet fillings
  • Enchilada: corn tortilla rolled around fillings, covered in sauce and cheese, and baked
  • Fajitas: thin strips of marinated and grilled meat, peppers, and onions usually served sizzling with tortillas and other fillings to assemble yourself
  • Flan: custard made from cream and eggs
  • Flautas: a large deep fried corn tortilla rolled around various fillings
  • Guacamole: dip made from mashed avocado and mixed with onions, chiles, tomato, lime juice and cilantro
  • Mole: traditional stews which are thickened by their own ingredients including chiles, nuts, fruit, and seeds
  • Nachos: toasted tortilla chips topped with melted cheese and a variety of toppings
  • Picadillo: filling made of ground meat
  • Pico de gallo:  uncooked salsa made with diced tomato, onion, and fresh chilies
  • Queso: cheese
  • Quesadilla: tortillas that are folded over cheese and other fillings and cooked on a griddle until the cheese is melted and the tortilla begins to become crisp
  • Refried beans: cooked pinto or black-eyed beans that have been mashed and fried
  • Taco: small crispy or soft tortilla, folded and stuffed with various fillings
  • Tamales: corn tortilla dough and filling wrapped in a fresh corn husk and steamed
  • Taquitos: a small deep fried corn tortilla rolled around various fillings
  • Torta: a Mexican style sandwich usually made by removing most of the crumbs from both sides of a split bun and placing various fillings inside

Health Benefits of Mexican Food

Nutrients in Mexican Food

1. Fiber

Beans, a staple of Mexican cuisine, are an excellent source of fiber. Many people have fiber deficiencies, which can lead to digestive issues, including constipation. Fiber also helps you feel fuller, which is helpful if you’re dieting. One serving of beans supplies an average of seven grams of fiber, as well as a healthy dose of protein. Whole beans are more nutritious, and contain less fat, than refried beans.

2. Protein

Protein builds muscle and keeps body tissues healthy. It also increases energy and, like fiber, it can help curb your appetite. In addition to beans, most Mexican dishes contain some form of meat, whether it’s chicken, pork, beef, or fish. Keep in mind lean meats are healthier, and contain less saturated fat, than fried meats. Many Mexican dishes, including huevos rancheros, also include eggs, another excellent source of protein.

3. Capsaicin

Capsaicin is a compound found in spicy peppers, like jalapenos. Peppers are another common ingredient in Mexican food, used in salsa, chili, and sauces. Capsaicin has several health benefits, including lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. It can also improve circulation and relieve congestion.

4. Vitamins & Minerals

Tomatoes, onions, lettuce, peppers, and avocados contain many essential vitamins and minerals. Tomatoes, peppers, and onions, for example, contain a high amount of vitamin C, which helps fight infection and strengthen the immune system. Avocado is high in potassium, fiber, and heart-healthy unsaturated fats. For an extra healthy meal, ask for extra vegetables in your enchiladas, burritos, or other dishes.

A Great Beginning

The Scene – Sitting at a red light at the intersection of Cross Street (Route 1) and Main Street (Route 123) in Norwalk. One of my favorite lunch spots, Nicholas Roberts sits vacant over my left shoulder. On the northeast corner a converted Meineke Shop with a hand-made sign indicating it was now a CT Inspection site (I thought we did away with those). But there was something calling me into the lot, a brightly painted food truck…and a good number of customers eating and ordering at its side window.

The Decision- Sometimes you just gotta go with your gut and give into temptation. So I pulled in, approached the truck and looked at the menu…Tacos, Quesadillas, Burritos and Tortas. I looked at all of the plates that the others were enjoying and they were overwhelmingly tacos, and it appeared that four occupied each plate. Go with the flow… so I ordered beef, pork, tongue and head, all for $7. Included in the price were a small container of green sauce, a few lime wedges and a whole Jalapeño pepper.

The Product- The tacos were the standard size served by Taco trucks, probably 4” in diameter, and the amount of filling was varied, from scant to reasonable, but they were each $1.50-$2.00. There were two in which the meat was sautéed with spices and two in which the meat was first sautéed and then lightly coated with a red sauce. All were topped with chopped onion and cilantro. I poured a little green sauce on each.

The Results – I’ll be honest, I could not truly tell which taco was which meat. I first sampled the two un-sauced tacos. I think the first was beef. It was very bland, no spice, no seasoning…I was not impressed. The other plain was probably the tongue, it delivered a little spice and I liked the texture of the meat, very soft. I moved to the red-sauced tacos and my earlier disappointment turned to happiness. These offered a good level of spice, the pungency of the onions had a partner and the cilantro added a good accompaniment.

As a first visit I was pretty pleased. Next time will order a few of the other items.

Tacos El Azteca – Cross & Main Streets – Norwalk, CT – 203-957-2029

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