Shout out for Mexican Independence Day

viva mexicoIn Mexico we love to cheer: Olé….. Salud…… Ándale….. Ay ay ay! In September there’s another great occasion to cheer: Mexico’s Independence day. Now don’t get confused with Cinco de Mayo, which is sometimes mistaken for independence day. The Dancing Chefs love to cheer: Viva Mexico! Independence Day is celebrated every September 16th with parades, festivals, feasts, parties and more. Mexican flags are everywhere and the main plaza in Mexico City is packed. But what’s the history behind the date of September 16?

Back in 1810 the Spanish were the official rulers of Mexico, but many Mexicans weren’t happy with how they governed. On September 16th 1810 Father Miguel Hidalgo rang the church bells of Dolores and made a speech, now known as ‘Cry of Dolores’ or ‘Grito de Dolores’. He made a shocking announcement: he was taking up arms against the tyrannies of the Spanish government and his parishioners were all invited to join him. Within hours Hidalgo had an army: a large, unruly, poorly armed but resolute mob.

independence day dishesEvery year, local mayors and politicians re-enact the famous Grito de Dolores. In Mexico City, thousands congregate in the Zócalo, or main square, on the night of the 15th to hear the President ring the same bell that Hidalgo did and recite the Grito de Dolores. The crowd roars, cheers and chants, and fireworks light up the sky. On the 16th, every city and town all over Mexico celebrates with parades, dances and other civic festivals.

Most Mexicans celebrate by hanging flags all over their home and spending time with family. A feast is usually involved. If the food can be made red, white and green (like the Mexican Flag) all the better! Favorite dishes include Chiles en Nogada, Tostadas or Pozole. Pozole is a delicious soup filled with hominy corn and pork meat and garnished with lettuce, onion, herbs and tostadas. For all you chefs, who want to celebrate Mexican Independence Day in style and make Pozole at home: here is the recipe!!!



The stock:

4 litres of water

1 kilo pork meat

1/2 kilo pork ribs

3 cans hominy corn (450gr. each)

1 onion, quartered

8 cloves of garlic

Salt to taste


The Sauce:

5 dried Chili Anchos, cleaned without seeds

5 dried Chili Guajillo, cleaned without seeds

6 cloves of garlic

1 onion, diced

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 tsp oregano

Salt to taste


garnishes-for-pozoleThe Garnish:

1 Romaine lettuce, washed and shredded

1 1/2 cup onion, diced

1 1/2 cup radishes, washed and sliced

Chile Piquin, to season

Oregano, to season

Tostadas, 2-3 per person

Limes, cut in halves



  1. Heat 4 litres of water in a big pan. Add the quartered onion, garlic, salt, pork meat and ribs. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to simmer for about 2 hours or until the meat has been cooked. You can remove any foam that is formed on the soup. If neccesary you can add more water.
  2. Take the meat out of the stock. Remove excess grease, bones of the ribs, onion and garlic.
  3. Now to prepare the sauce, soak the chili ancho and guajillo in enough hot water to cover the chilis. Leave for 25 minutes.
  4. Once the chilis are softened, drain and place into a blender with the raw garlic, diced onion and oregano. Add a little bit of water too. Blend until you obtain a smooth consistency.
  5. Heat the oil in a skillet on medium high fire. Add the chili mixture to the skillet and season to taste, continuously stirring. Lower the heat and leave to simmer for about 25 minutes.
  6. Pass the chili sauce through a strainer into the stock. Bring to a boil and add the meat, simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the hominy corn, season with salt and pepper if needed. Heat through until the soup is completely hot.
  7. Serve the Pozole in a big soup bowl and place the garnish in the center of the table, so everybody can serve themselves.


Buen Provecho and Viva Mexico!!!


Dancing Chef Maaike


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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