I love a good party. I love birthday parties and “just because” celebrations. I also love going all out for holidays and that includes celebrating some that relate to my cultura, like Cinco de Mayo. As a Mexican-American, I grew up knowing that Mexican Independence Day is in September, but for some reason, Cinco de Mayo has grown to be known as the holiday to celebrate all things Mexico. If you’re curious as to what really happened on May 5th, I encourage you to read this article from the Smithsonian Institute.
Now, if you’re looking to celebrate Mexican culture then you must know that food is where it’s at for us. Every meal is special and holidays are even more delicious (sounds impossible, right?), so this year I want to celebrate three of my family’s recipes. My family has been in the United States for three generations, so our recipes may be a bit different than others you’ve seen, but they all have the same base – amor.
Three Authentic Mexican Recipes for Cinco de Mayo
Authentic Enchilada Sauce
If you’ve never used dried chiles for a Mexican recipe, this will be a game-changer. You’ll instantly notice the difference. You can use this recipe for Enchiladas or Chilaquiles. Note: I do recommend using gloves when working with any peppers.
- 4 dried guajillo chiles, rinsed and stems removed
- 2 dried ancho chiles, rinsed and stems removed
- 1 arbol chile, rinsed and stems removed
- 4 cups hot water
- 1 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/8 tablet Mexican chocolate (Ibarra is my personal favorite)
- In a large bowl, add dried chiles and hot water. Cover the bowl with a large plate or plastic wrap and let the chiles soak on the counter for 20 minutes.
- Transfer the softened chiles into a large blender – leave the water
- Add in 1 cup of chile-soaked water, 1/2 cup of fresh water, garlic, salt, and Mexican chocolate. Puree until completely smooth. Add more water if the sauce is too thick or you like it a bit runnier.
- Cover and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use, for up to two weeks.
Agua Fresca: Jamaica/Hibiscus Flower
Nothing says summer like a real fruit drink. Mexican agua frescas are known for their bold colors and refreshing tastes. An Agua Fresca is an easy combination of fruit, sugar, water, and ice. My absolute favorite is Jamaica/Hibiscus.
- 1 ¼ cup of Hibiscus Jamaica Flowers
- 3 cups of water
- 4 cups of water to make 2 quarts of the final drink
- ½ cup of sugar
- Ice cubes
- Place the flowers in a small pot with 3 cups of water. Bring them to a boil. Boil them for about 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat.
- Set aside for at least 4 hours, you can also make this step overnight.
- Strain the liquid into a pitcher and add the 4 cups of water and sugar. You can adjust the added water if you feel it is too tart for your palate.
- Stir, add ice cubes, and let it chill.
- 1 cup mango diced
- 1 cup mango juice (I prefer nectar, but the juice is fine)
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 3 tbsp chamoy sauce
- 2 tbsp Tajín seasoning
- Add a tsp of chamoy to each popsicle mold. Set aside.
- Blend mango, juice, and lime.
- Add some of the fruit blend and tajin to the mold. Layer with chamoy and repeat with fruit and tajin layer until the mold is filled.
- Freeze for at least 3-4 hours, remove, dip in chamoy, then add a sprinkle of Tajín.
I hope you’re able to try one (or all three) of these recipes soon and I would love to hear what you think of them.