All you need to know about a Mexican barbeque

The time is here to chill and grill. Summer is the perfect moment to spend time outside with your family and friends, firing up the barbecue. What about pulling out your Salsa and Salsa recipe sheet to make a spicy salsa roja or tangy salsa verde? Grill the ingredients and have your molcajete at hand to catch those flavors and spice up the afternoon. In Mexico a barbeque is called  ‘carne asada’, which translates as grilled meat. But it’s so much more than that. Join the party and find out how the Dancing Chefs grill.

Drinks

You can’t start the party without some proper hydration. Whether you like margaritas on-the-rocks or beer (click here for our beer cocktail recipe) make sure to have a cooler at hand. For our smaller chefs we love to prepare this double-red fruit water.

Agua de sandia con fresa2

  • 2 cups watermelon chopped
  • 1 cup strawberries, hulled
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 lime
  • Sugar to taste

Put the watermelon in a blender with 1/2 cup water. Blend well and strain out the seeds through a sieve. Place the liquid back into the blender. Add the strawberries, juice of 1 lime, water and sugar to taste. Blend again until smooth. Serve with ice cubes.

Meat

When it comes to meat, it’s all about prepping and marinating. We love to use ‘arrachera’ (beef flank steak) but you could also get a nice rib-eye instead.


2Carne asada

  • 2 pounds beef flank steak, sliced
  • 1/2 cup pineapple, diced
  • 1 Mexican beer, e.g. Corona or Sol
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Season the meat with salt and pepper and place in a non-metal bowl. Blend the pineapple until smooth and pour over the meat. Add the beer and mix well. Make sure that all the meat is coated with the pineapple-beer mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to marinade for 1 hour. In the meanwhile start the fire and have a drink….

Sides

There are so many options to serve as sides for a Mexican barbeque. The basics are grilled nopal leaves and spring onions, grilling together with the meat. We also love to eat seasoned bean soup (‘Frijoles charros’) while waiting for the meat. Another great option is the stuffed Poblano chili. You slit the Poblano chili open on one side, fill with Chihuahua cheese and close with a wooden toothpick. Then put it on the grill until charred on all sides. But our all-time favorite are grilled veggies on a skewer.

Alambre de verduras

Chicken or turkey kebabs

  • 1/2 cup pineapple, 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup red onion, 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper, 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup zucchini, 1-inch cubes
  • Bacon, cut in squares

Soak long wooden skewers in water. Then insert 1 piece of pineapple, onion, bell pepper and bacon onto the skewer and repeat the process until the skewer has filled up. Make sure to leave some space to hold the skewer. You could add chicken or shrimp too. Place onto the grill and turn until lightly charred on all sides.

Dessert

It takes a while to prepare but it’s worth the effort. This world-famous Mexican dessert goes back to the days of the Conquistadores, when milk and eggs were introduced by the Spanish. Custards are popular in many kitchens around the world, but Flan has a characteristic caramel cover. Put a modern twist to this basic recipe, by adding 2 tbsp instant coffee and 2 tbsp coffee liquor.

1Flan – Mexican Caramel pudding

  • 300 grams sugar
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 ½ tsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp cold water

Heat the oven at 180°C or 375°F. Heat half the sugar, in a sauce pan with a thick bottom, on low heat. Move the pan continuously until the sugar melts and caramelizes golden-brown. Pour the caramel in a round cake shape, holding at least 3 cups. Turn the shape around until the caramel covers the whole bottom, set aside.

Mix the remaining sugar with the milk, vanilla and salt in another sauce pan. Bring to a boil and leave to simmer for at least 10 minutes. The mixture should boil down to at least half. Cover and set aside.Whisk the eggs and egg yolks in a big bowl. Mix the corn starch and water until a smooth paste and add to the eggs. Add this mixture, while stirring, to the warm milk. Strain the custard and pour into the prepared cake shape.

Cover the shape with aluminum foil and place into a bigger pan. Pour boiling water into the bigger pan, until covering half-way the cake shape. Place the 2 pans into the oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes. You can check if the Flan is ready by sticking a knife into the middle and that is comes out clean.

Leave the Flan to cool down for at least 30 minutes at room temperature and preferably leave in the fridge for 1 night. Turn around on a serving dish and serve cold.

*Tip: If the caramel on the bottom of the cake shape has hardened, place the shape in a pan with hot water.

 

 

 

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It’s Taco Time – How to prepare a ‘Taquiza’

Fact: in Mexico we love to eat and especially during parties. And there is always something to celebrate: a birthday, an anniversary, a baptism or first communion or just because it’s Sunday! If you have to feed a big group of people, you need to have a lot of food and the best option is to have a ‘taquiza’. A taquiza is basically a taco party, where you choose from a variety of taco fillings to put on your (hand-made) tortillas and add copious amounts of salsa. If this sounds like the kind of party you would like to attend, keep reading…….

 

The set-up

 

agua frescaHosting a ‘taquiza’ at your house is easy to do. You need to have rectangular table and cover with a colorful table cloth. You can use a fun Mexican pattern, but a bright-colored plastic table cloth works just as well. You can have the drinks on one side of the table in big pitchers, because with all those spicy salsas you’ll sure be thirsty. You could make lemonade, fruit water (e.g. water melon water) rice water (Horchata) or hibiscus tea (Jamaica) for the designated drivers and a tasty Michelada or Margarita for the lucky adults!

 

taquiza cazuelas

 

In the center of the table you can display the taco fillings in Mexican pottery or chafing dishes to keep it warm. Have a stack of plates and warm tortillas ready for each guest to serve their own tacos. At the far end of the table you can have the Salsa bar with a variety of salsas (Red, green, Pico de gallo, etc.) as well as diced fresh onion, cilantro, radishes, limes and salt to top off your tacos.

 

 

 

The taco filling

 

You can find Taquizas in all Mexico and the taco fillings changes per region. But the most common varieties are: Rajas con crema (for recipe: see Newsletter May 2014), Chicharron (pork rinds in sauce), Mole, Frijoles refritos (refried beans), Carne asada (diced grilled beef), Cochinita Pibil (Pork in Yucatecan sauce) and Tinga de Pollo (chicken in chipotle-tomato sauce). We love to have at least one taco of each flavor….. Que rico!

 

tinga de polloTinga de Pollo:

 

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, cut in thin slices
  • ½ pound Roma tomatoes
  • 1 small can of Chipotle chili (you can add less if you don’t like it hot)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 pound boiled chicken breast, shredded

 

Heat the oil in a big skillet and fry the onion until golden brown. In the meanwhile blend the tomatoes with the chipotle chili and the salt. Add this mixture to the onions. Add the shredded chicken as well and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

tortillasThe Tortillas

 

There is some controversy about what a ‘Taco’ is. In Mexico there are no hard-shell tacos and Mexican people consider this an American invention. At a taquiza the tortillas that are used, are either corn tortillas or flour tortillas. In the north of Mexico we usually use flour tortillas and in the south of Mexico corn tortillas are more common. Tortillas are at their best when they’re just made, but you buy your tortillas at the store and heat them in a dry skillet or ‘comal’. Keep them warm in a kitchen towel.

 


The Fiesta

 


Fiesta Papel PicadoOnce you have prepared all the food and drinks, it’s time to get the Fiesta started. Tropical music (salsa, cumbia, and merengue) is always a great option, as well as some fun props like maracas, Mexican sombreros or Piñatas. Let your imaginations run free and don’t forget the occasional…. Olé!

 

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