The Little Mexican Cooking School-Chilies & Lunch

July23

Last but not least at our culinary adventure at The Little Mexican Cooking School in Puerto Morelos was our study on chilies.  As was explained to us at the school:

chiles1.jpg

The chili pepper works as a catalyst in Mexican Food, having been served for centuries to modify flavours of a basic country diet, and with the corn and the black beans, it creates a good nutritional balance.  The chile has helped give the Mexican people the ingredients for their best biological development and kept them healthy since pre-Hispanic times.  The lack of essential amino acids makes corn an incomplete protein, but beans contain those in abundance, so together they are a high quality protein.  The chile also contributes vitamin A and C.  As a general rule the littler ones are spicier than the big ones.

Chef Christobal patiently explained the different varieties of chiles utilized in Mexican dishes but I still could not copy them down quickly enough so I found this cheat sheet:

Serrano: A small, fresh, green hot chile. Used for spice and flavor in cooking and as a garnish.

Jalapeño: Larger than a serrano, though still small. This fresh green or red chile is probably the easiest to find in America. The ripe red version is sweeter; the green version can be spicy.

Poblano: A dark green, medium-sized fresh green chile often roasted and stuffed.

Habanero: A tiny, lantern-shaped fresh chile of extraordinary heat. Interchangeable with the incendiary Scotch Bonnet.

Chile de arbol: A small, red dried chile. It’s the chile used for the dried red chile flakes in the spice section of the market.

Chipotle: A medium-small, wrinkled, dried brown chile with a unique smoky flavor reminiscent of bacon. It’s the dried, smoked version of jalapeño.

Chile negro, or pasilla: A long, narrow, dark brown dried chile used for grinding into moles.

Ancho: A medium-sized, wrinkled, brown dried chile with a mellow, earthy, sweet flavor. It’s the dried version of the poblano.

chiles2.jpg

With this explanation, the theoretical part of our training had concluded but the demonstration of technique was still ahead.  And the best part was that we also had a great deal of tasting to come.  At our first little break, Chef Christobal demonstrated the versatility of chili powder by paring up a fresh pineapple, slicing it and serving it with a glistening of sea salt and chili powder-so refreshingly different.

chiles3.jpg

chies4.jpg

chiles6.jpg

Then we prepared our own pico de gallo and guacamole.

cookingschool3.jpg

Another ancient Mexican technique was demonstrated to us with “stone” soup where a lava stone is heated and then placed into a soup bowl to finish cooking the ingredients.  This was one of the courses of our lunch finale for the day.

chiles7.jpg

Our main dish was roasted pork and apples.

chiles8.jpg

Dessert was a creamy rice pudding.

chiles9.jpg

Perhaps you have not incorporated learning into your vacations as of yet.  The Little Mexican Cooking School is a great excuse to change all that.  The setting is comfortable and the little touches of the day, a real pampered treat.  You meet wonderful like-minded people and get to share an amazing meal and libations with them.  Isn’t that what vacations are all about?  Well for me, they are and I am looking forward to returning to the school when we next vacation in the area.

Kath’s quote: “The smell of roasting meat together with that of burning fruit wood and dried herbs, as voluptuous as incense in a church, is enough to turn anyone into a budding gastronome.”-Claudia Roden

Love-that is all.


Warning: Use of undefined constant addtofacebook - assumed 'addtofacebook' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h02/mnt/48927/domains/foodmusings.ca/html/wp-content/themes/notepad-chaos-v2/single.php on line 12

Warning: Use of undefined constant wpurl - assumed 'wpurl' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h02/mnt/48927/domains/foodmusings.ca/html/wp-content/plugins/add-to-facebook-plugin/addtofacebook.php on line 85

Email will not be published

Website example

Your Comment: