Hit the road, Chef!

carretera mexicoIt’s that time of year again. It’s the blissful period where school is a far-away thought on the mind of children and many parents. Some people stay at home to celebrate the 4th of July and others hit the road to visit relatives. Wherever you’re going this summer, the Dancing Chefs want you to bring Salsa and Salsa with you!

When you travel in Mexico, whether it’s by boat, bus or car, you will invariably find ‘antojitos’ on any street corner or at any bus stop. Antojitos literally translates to ‘little cravings’. It’s a variety of snacks that are quick to eat and ready to take away. Antojitos are street and market food and most are made with masa, dough made of corn flour and water.


antojitosThe tortilla is made of masa and serves as bread, plate and cutlery at the same time. Quickly baked on a hot griddle or comal, folded with creamy cheese in between, become a quesadilla. Tacos, soft tortillas, are served with beans, chicken, mole or Poblano chili as well as the crunchy tostadas. Thick stuffed gorditas and panuchos or sopes: their rims folded upwards to keep the filling inside or delicious enchiladas: there’s too much to choose from!

Wherever you eat antojitos, you can find gigantic containers filled with agua fresca: refreshing drinks of mixed fruits with water. Bright-green colors of limes, orange colors of melon or mango are lined up to extinguish the fire after a plate of tacos with salsa! There are two favorites that never miss: agua de tamarindo made from the sticky tamarind pods and the deep-red agua de Jamaica made from hibiscus flowers.


queso-fundidoQueso fundido con champiñones y chile poblano

(Melted cheese with mushrooms and poblano chili)

Queso fundido is a tasty appetizer in many Mexican restaurants world-wide. It’s usually served in shallow clay plates with soft flour tortillas. You can use Mexican chorizo too and don’t forget to prepare some spicy Red Salsa!

1 Poblano chili: roasted, skin and seeds removed, cut in slices

2 tbsp butter

Salt and pepper

2 oz. or 60 grams mushrooms, sliced

9 oz or 250 grams grated Chihuahua cheese or Monterrey Jack

10 – 12 flour tortillas

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet and shortly fry the poblano chili slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and remove from skillet. Heat another tablespoon of butter in the same skillet and bake the mushrooms until softened. Also sprinkle with salt and pepper and remove from skillet.

Grease the inside of 2 cazuelitas or small oven dishes. Place half of the cheese and half of the strips of poblano chili in one dish and the other half of the cheese and half of the mushrooms in the other dish. Cover with aluminum foil and place under a broiler for about 3 minutes until the cheese has melted. Remove the aluminum foil and heat for another 2 minutes until the cheese is bubbly. Add the remaining mushrooms and chili to the dishes.

Serve warm with flour tortillas, so the cheese can be used to make tacos. This is a very tasty snacks with Pico de gallo.






T- time: All about Mexican culinary vocabulary

Whenever you’re in Mexico or eating Mexican food, doesn’t it strike you how many ingredients and dishes start with the letter T? It seems that this is the most important letter in the food-ABC. But do you know what all these dishes are that start with a T? The Dancing Chefs have been digging deep to find the delicious T’s out there! Olé!

T – Tequila

tequila los osunaIn Mexico we love tequila. We drink it on large and small national holidays, at funerals and anniversaries, at casual lunches and at dinner with friends. Legally tequila is our champagne. All tequila has to come from the state of Jalisco and is protected with a DO (Designation of Origin) by the Consejos Regulador del Tequila (Tequila Regulatory Council). This organization ensures that all tequila sold throughout the world comes from this state in central south Mexico. This arid area with highland soil creates the perfect conditions for the blue agave, the plant from which tequila is distilled, to grow. No tequila made in China (or elsewhere), por favor!

Taste is a key word when it comes to tequila. If you’re interested in discovering its real taste, you should stay away from the image of big testosterone-driven machos gulping shot after shot of tequila and throw away its reputation as a quick intoxicator. Tequila has become more and more sophisticated and today’s is considered a refined drink that rivals an imported single-malt whiskey or a quality cognac, and not only in price but also in its smooth warm taste. Today’s finest tequilas are meant to be enjoyed in a small glass with pleasure, in tiny sips.

T – Tortillas

tortillasTortillas are made from corn dough (masa) and serve in Mexico as bread, plate and spoon at the same time. Every city has many tortillerías (tortilla bakeries) where tortillas are made by hand or with a tortilla machine on a daily basis. Fresh masa is made from specially treated corn that’s ground into dough, but corn flour is also commonly used.  Flour tortillas (tortillas de harina) are staple in the northern regions of Mexico and are less easily broken due to its high gluten content, and can be made larger and thinner without breaking too easily.

T – Tacos

tacos de guisadoThis typical street food can be made of any cooked meat, fish or vegetable wrapped in a tortilla, with a dash of salsa and garnished with onion and cilantro. Soft corn tortillas are used to wrap grilled meats in Tacos al carbon, an array of stews in tacos de guisado or griddle-cooked meats and vegetable in tacos a la plancha. When tacos are filled with chicken, barbacoa, potatoes or cheese and lightly fried they are called tacos dorados. If you are in northern Mexico, chances are you will find tacos with flour tortilla (tortilla de harina) and the fillings will be more meat than vegetarian.

T – Tamales

tamalesMade with masa (corn dough) mixed with lard, stuffed with stewed meat, fish or vegetables, wrapped or steamed. The word comes from the Náhuatl word tamalli and refers to anything wrapped up. Every region in the country has its own special tamal, the most famous being the Oaxacan-style tamales with mole and wrapped in banana leaves, the Mexico City tamales with chicken and green tomatillo sauce wrapped in corn husks and the Yucatecan style made with chicken marinated in achiote (annatto paste) wrapped in banana leaves.

T – Tortas


tortasIn every street corner in Mexico you find stands where they sell an abundant amount of sandwiches or Tortas: with beans, chile, cheese, onions, tomatoes, cabbage, and avocado and, if that weren’t already enough, also fried egg, meat, turkey or chicken. All these ingredients go into a bread roll, called telera.

There’s one kind of torta from Guadalajara,  that is believed to be the best hang-over cure, a Torta Ahogada (‘drowned sandwich’).  There are three major components to this dish. A birote baguette is filled with tender chunks of roasts pork leg and then smothered with a searing chili sauce (made primarily from a dried chili pepper called ‘de arbol’, vinegar, garlic and oregano). The soggy sandwich is crunchy on the outside and soft in the center, because of the crusty, sour birote bread.

 T – Tostadas

tostadasTostadas are tortillas that have been baked or fried until they get crisp and are then cooled. The idea is that in this state they can hold a variety of toppings. Tostadas de pollo are a beautiful layering of beans, chicken, cream, shredded lettuce, onion, avocado and queso fresco (a fresh cheese). In Mazatlan tostadas are served with a dollop of mayonnaise and crab meat (tostadas de jaiba) or with shrimp or fish ceviche.

Enjoy these tasty dishes at home!


Dancing Chef Maaike

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