Cinco de Mayo lands on a Thursday this year which commemorates the victory of an outnumbered Mexican army against France during an intervention in Puebla, Mexico. Although Cinco de Mayo isn’t widely celebrated in Mexico, this holiday has become quite popular in the United States. Like St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo is a mainstream event that evolved out of an authentic celebration of cultural heritage. And what better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than to eat delicious Mexican food, right?
Typically, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated by eating tacos and drinking margaritas. But similar to how you won’t find corned beef and green beer in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, ground beef tacos, nachos, and frozen margaritas aren’t native to Mexico when celebrating Cinco de Mayo. That said, traditional and authentic Mexican food isn’t always easy to find and can be quite different from what we’re used to. Still, considering how Mexican cuisine is so vibrant both in taste and in color, you’ll miss out should you not give their authentic dishes a try.
Thus, the Zoomget team has curated a variety of bona fide Mexican eats that are sure to be popular at your Cinco de Mayo gathering. From tamales and tortillas to guacamole and enchiladas, you really can’t go wrong. Just don't forget to use our dependable 1st Choice 6-mil black nitrile disposable industrial gloves or X3 3-mil clear vinyl disposable industrial gloves when trying out these savory Mexican recipes to keep your hands clean and your food safe.
Tamale – It’s one of the most iconic Mexican dishes ever made and has been around since the dawn of civilization in the Americas. Historically, tamales were only eaten on holidays, making them the perfect meal for Cinco de Mayo. They’re like little pockets of tangy and tender meat fillings that are steamed to perfection in cornhusks. These chaffs allow the tamales to stay moist and flavorful just in time for the occasion. After all, if impressing a Cinco de Mayo crowd is your goal, then nothing beats preparing for a feast using homemade tamales.
Tortilla – It’s a thin, circular unleavened flatbread originally made from maize hominy, and now also from wheat flour. From a symbolic perspective, tortillas, especially corn tortillas, are pride-inspiring symbols for Mexico and its people. Moreover, tortillas and the corn they’re made of are sacred to indigenous Mexicans, which serve as a connection between modern-day Mexicans and their ancestors. At present, they’re best served as chips by heating a griddle to medium-high. Once each tortilla is pressed, you can warm it on the griddle for about a minute on each side, or longer depending on how light or dark you want your tortilla chips to be.
Carnitas – Literally meaning “little meats,” Carnitas is a Mexican dish that originated in the state of Michoacán. It’s traditionally made with pork shoulder (also known as pork butt) because of the higher fat content, which helps in always keeping the meat juicy and succulent while being cooked. This dish is made by braising or simmering pork in oil, or preferably in lard, until tender. To best bring out its flavors, season your carnitas with oregano, cumin, chile powder, and lime juice.
Enchilada – Sometimes known as enmolada or enfrijolada depending on the ingredients it’s made of, an enchilada is basically a corn tortilla rolled around a filling and covered with a savory sauce. As the perfect Mesoamerican dish, enchiladas can be filled using a combination of different ingredients such as meat, cheese, beans, potatoes, and/or vegetables, making them flexible enough to satisfy anyone’s palates. Play with all kinds of toppings and fillings with no holds barred to create the perfect enchilada made exactly the way you want.
Pozole – It’s a popular Mexican comfort food and for good reason. Pozole is a warm and hearty soup or stew made with pork and maize hominy, a chewy kind of plumped dried corn. Sometimes made with chicken, this recipe offers variations from green to red pozole. Either way, seasoning and garnishing your pozole with shredded lettuce or cabbage, chile peppers, onions, garlic, radishes, avocadoes, salsa, and/or limes can help give it a nice kick.
Horchata – It’s a traditional Mexican drink made up of white rice soaked in water, which is then flavored and sweetened with cinnamon and granulated sugar. Everything is minced up together in a blender and later strained to remove solids. A good horchata recipe allows you to experiment with different Mexican ingredients to customize its taste. For example, some locals add shredded coconut or almonds to make their horchata’s consistency thicker. Others would sometimes prefer almond milk over dairy to get a boost from its richer nutritional content.
Guacamole – The word “guacamole” comes from Nahuatl (a language spoken by the ancient Aztecs that’s still very much alive in Mexico today) and translates loosely as “avocado sauce.” Just like the enchilada, there are as many versions of guacamole as there are cooks—from simple mixtures to the more elaborate recipes with local spices, chiles, and fresh veggies. At its core, authentic guacamole contains straightforward ingredients such as avocadoes, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, lime juice, garlic, and salt.
Barbacoa – Beef barbacoa is a braised meat dish that's tender, flavorful, and an ideal filling for tacos and burritos. It’s typically made with beef, goat, or lamb. It’s traditionally seasoned with dried chiles and spices, and slowly cooked until perfectly tender. Cooking it in the pressure cooker makes it much quicker and easier while still producing delicious results. Don’t forget to try it on nachos, too for a savory Cinco de Mayo experience.
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