Mexican food is very popular and you will find a Mexican restaurant in most cities all over the world. For the lovers of chillies, avocado and vegetables, Mexican gastronomy is a fantastic opportunity to satisfy their palate.
Mexican gastronomy has been recognized by UNESCO since 2010 as an intangible “Heritage of Humanity”. This says a lot about its health and its weight in society. A rich and diverse cuisine, well known throughout the world. The cuisine we know today is a fusion of the Pre-Hispanic period with the later colonial contributions.
Among all the variety of dishes that Mexican gastronomy has to offer, there is a category of street food that is eaten as snacks between meals or as a starter, not as main dish. Tacos belong to this category and today on World Taco Day, we would like to take this opportunity to learn more about it.
Tacos have a tortilla base, which is filed with different combinations of vegetables, legumes and meats, and are usually eaten by hand. Mexican tortilla is soft and served warm. Wrapped around the taco filling, it is made from corn, which is one of the main inheritances from the Pre-Hispanic cultures.
The exact date of origin of this famous dish is not entirely clear, but it is very possible that it was created in Pre-Hispanic Mexico, as the basis of an Olmec diet thanks to the first traces of nixtamalized corn.
There are two widespread theories about its creation; the first says that Moctezuma used the tortilla (which was prepared on hot stones) as a utensil, like a “spoon” to hold the food that was inside.
The second believes that women invented this food to send food to men who worked long hours in the fields, since tortillas were an easy way to transport and then heat.
There is no certainty as to the origin of the word “taco”, although the most widespread theory is that it comes from the term “tlahco” in the Nahuatl language, which means “half” or “in the middle”, referring to the fact that the food is placed in the centre of the corn tortilla.
Whatever the date of its origin or where its name comes from are by the by. The truth is that it is fortunate that they have survived to this day and that we can enjoy this delight almost anywhere in the world.
A good taco must always be accompanied by a good sauce and this could be made with raw, cooked, or blended ingredients, depending your taste. To make the sauce you can use the following ingredients: tomatoes, green tomatoes or a simple Pico de Gallo, which are rich in antioxidants and capsaicin.
The vegetable component is equally important. The basic ones are onion, garlic, coriander and tomato.
Protein is also present in the varieties of cheeses and meat that you decide to put in. Low-fat cheeses and lean meats would be the ideal healthy option. Choose lean meats and cook them on the grill, in the oven or in a steamer.
Fish is a great ally for a healthy option. Choose oily fish with a large amount of omega 3 such as sardines, tuna, salmon and trout. White meats like chicken or turkey are also a great healthy alternative.
Include good fats. Guacamole and avocado add creaminess to your tacos, protecting you from cardiovascular diseases and reducing your cholesterol.
If you follow a vegan diet, fill them with raw vegetables that are high in fibre and antioxidants like carrots, radishes, or red cabbage.
Replace animal protein with vegetables. Choose legumes like kidney beans, lima beans, or chickpeas.
For taco lovers everywhere, today is the perfect day to go out for them or make them at home. There are many traditional varieties of tacos. Try a style of taco you’ve never had before. You may be surprised by how many options there are. While you’re celebrating be sure to share recipes and give a shout out to your favourite Mexican restaurant, food trucks or taco stands.