Don’t miss the amazing flavors of this traditional Mexican celebration!
These are the top ten dishes that every Mexican table has during dia de muertos.
-Bread of the dead (pan de muerto)
The origins of this bread has been widely studied and the National Institute of Anthropology and History has explained that the roots are pre hispanic but the origin is colonial.
The round shape represents the life and death cycle and the so called “bones” on top represent the extremities and the skull of the dead.
This bread is made with loads of butter and orange blossom water that gives it a unique taste, however the exact recipe is a matter of serious debate in Mexican families. Here you have an easy one.
-Candied Pumpkin (calabaza en tacha)
The name pumpkin in “tacha” originated when a special kind of copper pot called that way was used to make this dessert (nowadays any pot will do the trick). The pumpkin is slowly simmered with “piloncillo” or raw sugar and cinnamon. Once again each region has its own recipe, some with orange juice, some with cloves and more.
Here is a great example of a recipe, note that here the chef serves it with evaporated milk which is used only in some regions (my grandma didn’t use milk at all).
Tamal is a word that comes from the nahuatl language and it means “wrapped”. It is made of a maize dough and most of the times in the middle there is some sort of sauce (green, red or mole) and meat (chicken, beef, pork). Then this is wrapped in maize dried leaves and steamed until cooked.
Many countries in Latin America have tamales but according to several historical documents, they originated in Mexico. Nowadays there is a great variety of tamales throughout the 32 mexican states which together sum up to 5000 different types of tamales.
Here is an easy homemade tamale recipe.
-Warm cornmeal drink (Atole)
Before the spanish arrived to mexican lands, locals used to drink a thick drink that was served warm and sweet. This drink was also a great source of energy.
The drink consists basically in maize dough disolved in boiling water and sometimes, sweetened. As the beverage boils then it thickens.
When the spanish arrived some milk was added. Nowadays there is a large variety of flavors involved, however the chocolate (champurrado) and the rice flavor are the most sold in Mexico City.
Find here a couple recipes.
For rice flavor:
The náhuatl “molli” means sauce and thus it is a very general term that has led to confusion in many situations. Mole can be black, brown, green, yellow and there is even a recipe of white mole only for weddings. Moles have in common the use of several spices, nuts, chilies, seeds and fruits and they can be poured over tamales, beef, poultry, pork and veggies.
The mole recipes can be as diverse as you could imagine and every one claims that their recipe is the one and only.
Here you have an easy and less spiced version of mole. Please mexican readers: no judging, remember that there are a million versions of this sauce.
Watch the video here:
Photo courtesy of closetcooking.com
Soon I will be posting my own mole recipe with a step by step manual, keep posted!
Happy cooking and remember, if you need help getting ingredients in your country send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will help you locate shops in your town or online stores.
Your host, Italia.