In my previous post, I had talked about the similarities between Mexican and Indian cuisines with respect to indigenous cooking tools, common native ingredients, preparation methods and basic food like the traditional daily bread and sauces. For those who missed it, click here.
In this post, I’ll be sharing with you some of the similarities that I have observed in popular Mexican and Indian snacks.
Here’s the first one: Like India, in Mexico too, beer is usually accompanied by savouries (called botanas (boh-tah-nahs)) like peanuts, spiced cashew nuts, etc.
In the south-eastern city of Villahermosa (veeh-yah-ehr-moh-sah), I discovered this savory snack (“Charricos”) which looks and tastes like “shankarpali,” a popular snack from my home state, Maharashtra.
Crisps made from potatoes, corn, tapioca or other cereals and spiced with chile are popular both in India as well as Mexico.
In Mexico, during fairs and festivals, these deep-fried snacks are commonly sold at temporary food stalls.
But the most widely enjoyed Mexican meals are the antojitos (ahn-toh-hee-tohs), the traditional corn dough based appetizers or snacks. And the most popular among them are tacos (tah-kohs), the smallish corn tortillas (tohr-teeh-yahs) topped with any of the wide variety of meat or fish and garnished with required condiments as per taste.
Antojitos are very often served from food carts on the streets of Mexican cities and towns. Shops vending tacos are called taquerias (tah-keh-reeh-yahs). Vendors press and cook the tortillas on the spot using a tortilla press. They make them as they need them — so they’re always incredibly fresh and soft.
Antojitos include quesadillas (keh-sah-deeh-yahs), which are tortillas folded over a filling of cheese (or with mushrooms, squash blossoms, etc.) and heated on the griddle until the cheese is melted. In some parts of Mexico, quesadillas are freshly rolled corn tortillas folded over a savory (or just cheese) filling and sealed like a turnover and deep-fried. These are similar to the Indian “samosas”.
Crispy, deep-fried tortillas called tostadas (tohs-tah-dahs) have cousins in many Indian snacks like “masala papads” and spicy “chaats” when they are laden with fresh salsa. But otherwise, tostadas are very often piled with meat, frijoles refritos (freeh-hoh-lehs reh-freeh-tohs, refried beans) and salad.
The popular Indian chatpata corn preparation of roasted corn, chiles, lemon juice and cilantro mixed together in a bit of oil is equally relished at Mexican street stalls as the spicy elote (spicy corn-on-the-cob).
See, it’s all very interesting! Now, coming to a breakfast dish, did you know that Huevos a la Mexicana (hweh-wohs ah lah meh-hee-kah-nah, Mexican-style eggs), which is scrambled eggs with tomato, onion and chiles is quite like the spicy Anda Bhurji (ahn-dah bhuhr-jeeh, Indian-style eggs)? It’s a small world, eh?
Right, I hope you have enjoyed this post as well! Soon, I’ll be posting “Similarities between Mexican and Indian Cuisines – Part III” which will cover the similarities between Mexican and Indian sweets.
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If you missed my previous post on Traditional Mexican cuisine, then click here.
Let me remind you that you can read all about Mexican Cuisine in my book “A Guide to Mexican Cuisine” which is a part of my soon-to-be-published three-book series on Mexico.
And now, enjoy this very romantic song by the Scorpions 🙂 Still Loving You
See you soon… 🙂