Nov 07

The Use Of Potatoes In Mexican Food Recipes

Mexican PotatoAlthough a lot of expats in Mexico complain about the potatoes not having the right texture for non-Mexican dishes, they seem to suit Mexican food recipes with potatoes quite well. One of the most famous authentic Mexican food recipes available as street food is “molotes” and these are made by rolling fresh corn dough over a filling and then frying it.

As well as potato molotes, you can get ones stuffed with chorizo, chilies, squash blossoms, mushrooms, or Oaxaca cheese. You can get the potato variety with or without chorizo and, whether you purchase the big, half-moon shaped ones in Puebla or the torpedo-like ones in Oaxaca, you are sure to find this traditional Mexican food very tasty.

The humble spud is often served with chorizo, chilies, or onions in tacos. They might be served plain, in corn or flour tortillas, or wrapped tightly and fried until crispy. Sour cream, salsa, and shredded lettuce make a popular garnish.

Tortitas de papa are also worth sampling and these golden patties are made with potatoes and seasoned with cheese and onion. They are similar to croquettes. Papas en escabeche is often served as a tapa in bars and this dish features chilled, pickled potatoes with jalapenos and carrots.

Papitas del ajillo are baby potatoes with cumin and garlic. Try them with a grilled steak. You can get both red and white varieties of these at Mexican markets, although the thin-skinned alpha variety with its yellow flesh used to be the most common type by far.

Potato Cultivation In Mexico

Twenty two states grow this vegetable and more than fifty percent comes from Sonora and Sinaloa in the west. The Chihuahua, Guanajuato, and Veracruz regions are other important producers and this vegetable is often used to make atole, which is a thick beverage. Outside Veracruz it is usually made with corn.

This crop was not grown much in the country until the mid-1800s and it was not major until the 1950s. Consumption of potatoes grew by sixty five percent between 1994 and 2004 and the yearly consumption of potatoes per person in Mexico is almost thirty eight pounds. Most are sold as fresh produce and only fourteen percent is used for making chips.

This food was first grown in the Peruvian Andes eight thousand years ago but the cultivated varieties were introduced to South America by the Spanish explorers.

How To Buy Them

If you want to buy your own Mexican spuds, look out for smooth skins and reject any flaky ones. Bright red potatoes might have been dyed but reddish ones should be natural. Spuds with sprouts, blemishes, an over-soft texture, or a greenish hue should be avoided.

Store them away from light in a plastic bag with holes in or in a paper bag with the top left open. Keep them away from onions since they cause them to sprout more quickly.

Do not store your spuds in the refrigerator either, or the low temperatures will turn the starch to sugar and the moisture will make them sprout. Scrub them with a vegetable brush before you cook them and take out any green parts or sprouts. You do not need to peel them unless you want to.

This food is high in iron, antioxidants, magnesium, potassium and vitamin C and low in fat. Potatoes are high in carbohydrates but they are not fattening, like many people assume; instead you can blame the usual accompaniments (sour cream, butter, gravy, or cooking oil) for bumping up the calorie count.


Christine Szalay-Kudra is an author, food expert and mom of four boys. She is the owner of the Recipe Publishing Network, a group of sites dedicated to fine food and information for cooks. When not busy with her business you can find her sharing on one of these social networks at her own URL:

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