THINGS YOU NEED TO KONW ABOUT MEXICAN STREET FOOD
Almost any type of Mexican street food can be quickly assembled from the basic building blocks you will find in this blog “Mexican Food” : tender, long-simmered shredded meats such Shredded Chicken, Shredded Beef, or Carnitas, or any of the thick, savory guisados. Although these dishes usually require long tending over a hot stove, they are easy to prepare using a slow cooker. Even the iconic tamale, which is trickier than it first appears, is a breeze to make in the slow cooker. And if you want to try your hand at using masa yourself, in this chapter are directions for making fresh tortillas and other typical Mexican street foods based on fresh masa dough, such as sopes, gorditas, and quesadillas.
Street food, above all, should be quick. When you are ready to serve, have everything prepared before you start assembling the food. The table should be set, the salsas and garnishes prepared, the fillings and meats hot and at the ready. These foods are meant to be
consumed as soon as they are made—to quickly go from pan to plate to panza (belly)—so, with the exception of tamales, I do not recommend preassembling, holding, or reheating any of the foods in this chapter.
When it’s time to serve, learn from the taqueros and other street food vendors in Mexico, whose work is a lesson in organization and simplicity. The cook, who usually works alone, heats a freshly made tortilla (either soft or lightly fried, dorado style), fills it with some type of shredded and hands it to the waiting customer, who then adds garnishes al gusto, according to his or her preference. It’s this immediacy and freshness that makes Mexican food so exceptional.
MEXICAN STREET FOODS
Here is a quick rundown of the types of food you can find en la calle (on the street) in Mexico.
Enchiladas: Corn tortillas dipped in salsa, filled, rolled, and topped with a little cheese and lettuce.
Gorditas, huaraches, and tlacoyos: Fresh corn masa patted into thick disks or ovals, toasted on a griddle, and topped with a guisado, beans, and salsa. Tlacoyos are made with blue corn masa.
Quesadillas: Fresh corn masa folded in half over a filling, usually of vegetables or flor de calabaza (squash blossoms), and toasted on a griddle. If it is fried in oil, it is called an empanada.
Sopes: Round disks of masa fried in oil until chewy-crisp, topped with beans,meat, shredded lettuce, cheese, and salsa.
Tacos: White or yellow corn tortillas topped with a small amount of any number of meats, salsas, and garnishes. They may be served soft (with the tortilla briefly warmed on the comal) or dorado, toasted on a lightly greased griddle until golden brown and chewy. Flour tortillas are never used to make tacos.
Tamales: Fresh corn masa filled with a little meat and sauce, wrapped in either corn husks or banana leaves and steamed. Tamales are a kind of cottage industry, often made in home kitchens and sold warm from modified bicycle baskets or coolers on street corners.
Taquitos: Corn tortillas that are filled, rolled, and fried in a small amount of oil until crisp-chewy. Served with guacamole, lettuce, onions, and salsa, they are highly addictive.
Tostadas: Small corn tortillas deep-fried until very crisp and golden brown. Tostadas are offered as antojitos or botanas (snacks) topped with hot or cold garnishes, and they are usually finished with crema, cheese, avocado, and lettuce.