When it comes to good, authentic Mexican food, there are a lot of delicious options! Yes, a lot of us are familiar with quesadillas and tacos. Those are indeed delicious. But, there is so much more to Mexican food! Mexico itself is a huge country. Between the varying states, you will find a lot of variety in cuisine. Additionally, due to the indigenous and Spaniard mestizaje, Mexico has diverse influences on its dishes. Join me as I review some of my favorite, authentic Mexican food and dishes. Read on for my favorite top ten authentic Mexican food dishes from all over Mexico (that aren’t tacos). And, enjoy some fun facts about and tips!
What are Top Ten Best Authentic Mexican Food Dishes?
I love sopes! The base is fried dough (made from Maseca) that’s formed in the shape of a very shallow bowl. Then, you add refried beans to act as a paste to which other foods stick to. Add chopped steak or chicken next. Then garnish with salsa, lettuce, and queso fresco. The dough of the sope itself is usually crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, which makes this one of my ultimate comfort foods. It can be a lot of work to make the sopes at home: you mix the ingredients for the raw dough and then fry the dough. Then the beans must be refried and the meat must be cooked. You make the salsa from scratch for the best flavor. Finally, you chop lettuce and grate cheese. It requires multitasking, but it is so worth it! I think part of what makes this meal so satisfying is all the labor of love that goes into it. I enjoy every single bite when it’s time to feast!
Learn to make sopes here.
I make chiles rellenos with poblano peppers. I remove the seeds from the inside. Then, I stuff the pepper with cheese. After that, I coat it in an egg and flour mixture. Then it is served on top of rice and drizzled with salsa. A salad can often accompany this meal too! I recall eating chiles rellenos during Lent, on meatless Fridays. I loved the way my mom made them. It took a lot of practice before I could get mine just right, but thanks to my mother’s guidance, I finally cracked the code!
Check out my tips for chiles rellenos here.
Recipe for chiles rellenos here.
Chilaquiles are a delicious breakfast food. Tortillas are cut into triangles, cooked in oil and salsa. They can be scrambled with eggs and topped off with queso fresco. I personally prefer to make my chilaquiles on the crunchy side. For instance, I fry the tortillas, add in the scrambled eggs, then I drizzle with salsa and top off with queso fresco. Someone once threw shade at my cooking and said that if I make them that way, that’s not authentic Mexican food! They said you’re basically eating breakfast nachos since the tortillas still had a crunch! I say, since I’m half Mexican American, 100% Latina, and I enjoy the meal that way, doesn’t that make it authentic? What do you think?
Chilaquiles technique and tips here.
In my home, we grew up eating red pozole with beef or chicken and maíz. The pozole was often topped off with thinly cut cabbage and radishes, and garnished with a lot of lime juice! There is also a green variety of pozole that is delicious, but it is not what I personally grew up with. There are also pozole variations with pork, but again, it’s not what we were accustomed to in my home. The way I recall pozole was that we ate it on special occasions that fell on colder days. The chicken version is delicious, but the beef is my favorite kind. What type of pozole do you love best?
Learn to make green pozole here.
Learn to make red pozole here.
An enchilada consists of a cooked corn tortilla folded over some delicious filing, like cheese, chicken, etc. Then the folded goodness is smothered with a savory sauce. They can be cooked like a casserole, or each one can be cooked individually on a comal. Once served, enchiladas are typically topped with finely chopped lettuce and crumbled queso fresco. I like to enjoy them with cactus salad and some radishes on the side for extra veggies. Although, this dish is often accompanied by beans and rice. What is your favorite type of enchilada? Are you team red enchiladas or team green enchiladas?
Check out my recipe for keep enchiladas here.
Carne asada is a marinated skirt steak that has been cooked on a grill. It is hands down one of my favorite foods! I love it with salsa on top, with a side of rice and some salad. It is a food that I cannot get enough of. I am always down to eat some carne asada! One thing I love about carne asada is the leftovers. I chop them up, reheat them, and make some asada tacos. Whichever way I enjoy it, whenever I eat carne asada, I think of my Hispanic upbringing. I think of congregating with family in South East LA, in someone’s backyard, and enjoying carne asada. My brother and I would playfully fight over the most well-done pieces. Bien quemaditos.
Learn how to marinate carne asada here.
And check out my asada tacos recipe here.
Fajitas are like a Mexican stir fry. Sliced beef or chicken is cooked along with bell peppers and onions and enjoyed with corn or flour tortillas. I try to eat fajitas on their own, to keep my carbs low. Though, they are traditionally accompanied by beans and rice. Additionally, when cooking fajitas at home, I like to throw in a pasilla pepper for an extra kick. Why not? 😉
Fajitas tips here.
Coctel de Camaron
When I was younger, my dad and I would go to Mexican seafood, or mariscos, restaurants often together, without my mom or siblings. We both love mariscos; it is one of the many things we have in common. Therefore, going out to eat mariscos together was like our special bonding time. Something I always ordered as a child was a coctel de camaron, or a Mexican Shrimp Cocktail. This dish is very similar to gazpacho. It is a cold soup, in a tomato type of broth base. My dad sometimes used to make it for me by using V8 or Clamato as a base. The coctel also contains corn, peas, diced onion and cucumbers, and minced cilantro.
The coctel is then garnished with a lot of lime juice, and maybe some Tapatio. You can enjoy it with tostadas or crackers. As a child, I loved to dip my crackers into the broth! Not a fan of shellfish? You can also try a coctel de pescado. It simply contains fish instead of shrimp. It is just as delicious!
Aguachile is another type of Mexican seafood or mariscos. Yes, mariscos are so nice, I just had to mention them in this article twice. The aguachiles dish consists of raw shrimp cured in a sauce made of lime juice, salt, cilantro, and liquified jalapeno or serrano pepper. You will often find sliced cucumbers and sliced red onions added along with the shrimp to infuse even more flavor. As I write this, I am sniffling at the thought of how spicy it is! If you like, spicy, tangy, and refreshing seafood, you have to give these a try.
Do you like mariscos? Then learn to make salmon al mojo de ajo here.
My dad’s family is from Sonoro, Mexico. We grew up eating carne con chile, but we did not necessarily grow up eating traditional mole. I tasted it at different friend’s houses as I got older, but since it was never something I necessarily grew up on, it never caught my attention. I know. What type of half Mexican-American doesn’t like mole?
Well, my thoughts on mole changed when I met my husband’s best friend. My husband’s best friend is Salvi-Mex, like me. That homie’s mom is a dope lady who I admire very much. I look up to her. And let me tell you, she makes the absolute best chicken mole I have ever tasted. The recipe comes from Puebla, Mexico. As I write about it now, I feel like calling her to ask her if she wants to make some mole with me! I’ll gladly be her sous chef and accept a plate of mole for payment. It’s that good. Check out the mole recipe here.
What is your take on this? Did you agree with the authentic Mexican food dishes discussed in this article? Was there a dish that we totally missed and need to add to our next post? Here, at Herencia Cookbook, we would love to know! Be sure to hit us up in the comments. Finally, if you would like to learn to make a lot of these foods, then check out my blog and my book for authentic Salvi Mex recipes with a modern (and sometimes healthy) twist. Until next time, Buen Provecho! Herencia Cookbook is currently available for sale on Amazon.