Hispanic cuisine represents typical foods and cooking styles common to many Hispanic cultures in Latin America. Classic cuisine include corn (maize) based dishes and various salsas. The spices in Hispanic cuisine are very characteristic and give a very distinct flavor. Many Hispanic dishes start off with a sofrito (the Latin equivalent of a mirepoix) consisting of garlic, onion, tomatoes and peppers cooked in olive oil. Some popular Hispanic foods include tacos, quesadillas, tortas, flautas, empanadas, chiles rellenos and flan. Salsas and other condiments like pico de gallo, guacamole, mole, chimichurri, and chilies are usually served alongside or on top of dishes.
So what exactly are these dishes?
Empanadas are stuffed pastry that is baked or fried. They are made by making almost a biscuit type dough, and folding it around a stuffing. The stuffing in empanadas differ based on the country, but typically include a variety of meats, cheeses and vegetables or sweet version for dessert.
Tacos are a traditional Mexican dish that is composed of a corn or flour tortilla folded around a filling. Fillings can include a wide assortment of ingredients including beef, pork, chicken, seafood and vegetables. They are usually topped with cheese and accompanied by garnishes like salsa, guacamole, cilantro, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and cabbage. Tacos are customarily eaten without utensils.
Quesadillas are another traditional Mexican dish that combines a flour or corn tortilla that is folded over a filling of cheese and other ingredients like vegetables or meat, and is then fried. Quesadillas are generally topped with salsas or guacamole.
Flautas also known as taquitos are Spanish for a “small taco”. This is a Mexican dish that is comprised of a corn or flour tortilla with a filling including meat and cheese and is rolled up and deep fried. They are generally topped with condiments like guacamole. When a corn tortilla is used to make this dish, it is called a taquito, and when a flour tortilla is used, the dish is called a flauta.
Chile Rellenos is a Mexican dish that is made up of a stuffed and roasted poblano pepper (and less traditionally jalapeno, hatch, pastille and ahaheim chiles). The stuffing in these peppers typically include a melted cheese like Chihuahua or queso Oaxaca. Chile rellanos are then covered in an egg batter or a corn flour and fried.
Tortas are type of flatbread common in Spanish cuisine. In Mexico, a torta is a kind of sandwich, served on a long crusty white roll and depending on the region can be eaten cold or hot, and either grilled or toasted. Mexican tortas are served with garnishes like avocado, poblano and jalapeno peppers, tomatoes and onion.
Flan is a custard dessert common in Hispanic cooking. Varieties of flan vary by the region in which they are prepared. In Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, flan is usually eaten with dulce de leche. In Cuba, flan is made with the addition of two egg whites, and is usually flavored with cinnamon. In Caribbean countries, flan is usually made with the addition of coconut milk.
Now that you know what these dishes are, let’s get cooking! Here are a few links to some popular Hispanic food recipes! Enjoy!
Tacos al Pastor
Mahi Mahi Tacos