Like many Americans you might be celebrating today with margaritas and tacos. However many folks mistakenly believe that Cinco de Mayo (or May 5 in Spanish) commemorates Mexico’s independence, which isn’t the case. For the record, September 16th is Mexico’s independence day. Cinco de Mayo marks the Mexican army’s May 5, 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla, during the Franco-Mexican war.
In Mexico, in Puebla in particular, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated with parades, dancing, mariachi bands, colorful festivals, and traditional Mexican food and drink. Keep the Cinco de Mayo celebrations respectful, by preparing an array of scrumptious and spicy traditional dishes from Mexico…
Tinga Poblana de Pollo y Papas, or Puebla chicken and potato stew, is full of smooth smoke and spice. A popular Cinco de Mayo dish, this complex recipe takes time and patience, but it’s worth every mouth-watering moment. A hearty combination of spicy chorizo, chicken thighs, diced onion and garlic, canned tomatoes, potatoes, smoky chipotle chiles, and crumbled queso fresco (or farmers cheese). Top with avocado slices and serve with warm corn tortillas.
The key to preparing authentic Mexican rice is to fry the uncooked rice in hot oil first and foremost to seal in that lightly toasted flavor. Infused with the irresistible flavors of fresh lime juice, zesty tomato, earthy cilantro, spicy jalapeño, and smoky cumin, this rice perfectly accompanies enchiladas, tacos, and mole dishes.
A fragrant marriage of spicy chilies and rich dark chocolate, Mexico’s iconic chicken with Puebla-style mole sauce will beckon guests from far and wide to your kitchen. Jam-packed and simmered with ancho, mulato, and pasilla chiles with warm cinnamon, anise, and brown sugar spices this velvety smooth sauce is infused with banana, whole tomatoes, cloves, coriander, almonds, raisins, sesame seeds, and roughly chopped Ibarra (or Mexican chocolate). Spoon over whole chicken pieces and serve with Mexican-style red rice.
A very popular Mexican street food, sopes are similar to thick corn tortillas made with masa and water to create thick doughy fried disks. These golden, crispy masa disks form the ideal edible bowl for shredded lettuce, your choice of grated cheese, zesty refried beans, your choice of fried meat, and salsas and sour cream.
The fun of making tamales is almost more enjoyable than eating them. When Mexican families make tamales, everyone—including family, kids, friends, and neighbors come together and work together for the “Tamalada”—a traditional tamale making party. Everyone works as a team to prepare the tamale filling; and then soak, stuff, and fold the cornhusk wrappers. Of course, the final the steaming and feasting on meat and veggie tamales is a much-anticipated and celebrated event.
Churros are a very popular street treat in Latin America. These dense pastry sticks, which are similar to a donut, are crisp and crunchy on the outside and moist and fluffy on the inside. They are typically rolled in a generous amount of cinnamon sugar and accompanied by a decadent cup of thick, rich, chocolate for dunking!
Champurrado, or Mexican hot chocolate, is much more popular during Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and Las Posadas (during Christmas), however, depending on your location, an outdoor, evening celebration might welcome a rich and delicious cup of chocolate comfort. Champurrado is prepared using Mexican chocolate (i.e., Ibarra or Abuelita or chocolate), cinnamon sticks, anise star, milk, brown sugar, and masa harina (or corn flour) for a slightly nutty flavor.
The Cindo de Mayo festivities aren’t complete without a slice of pastel de tres leches, or three milk’s cake. The super moist sponge cake made it’s fluffiest with whipped egg whites and literally soaked in vanilla-infused sauce made with a trio of milks—evaporated milk, regular milk, and La Lechera (which is sweetened condensed milk). Of course this cake calls for fresh whipped cream on top!