Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Introducing Children to Mexican Food

I grew up in Spain and in Mexico which meant, from a young age, I was used to eating different varieties of food which included some really spicy stuff! I'll never forget being around age 3 and eating huge prawns with lemon that I had to peel myself or really hot curries that would blow my head off now but didn't phase me at the time.

When we lived in Mexico, we used to visit a restaurant called Don Taco where they served up the most amazing soft flour tortilla tacos. I used to get spicy beef, in a wrap, with a squeeze of lime juice. My Sister would have Tacos al Pastor; pork meat in a variety of spices and herbs, cooked in the same way Donner meat is cooked for a kebab. They both tasted amazing. I'm not a fan of things like salsa and guacamole but my Sister and my Mum would fill their tacos up with them. This is Mexican food at its best.

We used to travel most weekends to the coast of Mexico. The city centre is incredible but it is a busy city and there isn't much in the way of greenery. We used to head over to Acapulco and eat in some of the best restaurants serving the best Mexican food. If I could go back there tomorrow, I'd be on the first flight there. I'd love to take Husband to visit the city where I grew up, the beautiful Acapulco or Cancun and the gorgeous Blue Diamond Riviera Maya in Playa del Carmen. It would be the perfect place for us to spend our ten year wedding anniversary in 2016.

Because of my love for all things spicy and exotic, I wanted to introduce these foods in to Z and Miss C's diet from a young age. By a year old, they were eating dishes like paella, Spanish chicken, chicken curry and, one of my favourite dishes, fajitas!

The kids love fajita night in our house. Usually I'll make them with chicken, onion and peppers but sometimes I'll add in prawns or steak. They all taste delicious! I tend to buy a pre-packed fajita mix but you can easily make your own mix if you prefer. Fajita mix is made with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, 2 teaspoons of chili powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of white sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne powder and 1/2 teaspoon of cumin. You simply stir all of the ingredients together in a bowl and add them to the pot when you are frying your meat and onion. The kids love to add a small amount of mayonnaise and cheese to their fajitas. They have yet to try my Mum's guacamole recipe but I've heard it is really good and that's coming from my Mexican relatives.

Another favourite Mexican dish is enchiladas and nachos. Traditionally enchiladas are made with a meat, bean and vegetable mixture which you fill a tortilla with, wrap it securely and place it in an oven dish. Then you cover the tortillas with a tomato sauce, chili, sour cream and grated cheese. Again, I'm not a fan of things like sour cream so I tend to make up a chicken and vegetable mix, add in some shop bought enchilada sauce and then fill the tortillas up with the mixture. I'll serve them with salad and rice or nachos. Husband and the kids love nachos with plenty of salsa, sour cream and melted cheese. I'm glad my avoidance of these types of sauces hasn't put the kids off trying them! They also love a hot chili con carne!

One of the best memories I have of Mexico and the delicious food is eating churros with hot chocolate sauce. Churros are like long doughnuts, sweet with cinnamon and sugar. I mean, they aren't exactly healthy as desserts go since they are deep fried and then rolled in the sugar and cinnamon but they are really yummy. When we went to Spain a few years ago, the kids loved them for breakfast with a cup of hot chocolate to dip them in.

I love that my children enjoy eating different cuisines from different countries. They would eat a curry or spicy stew over fish and chips any day of the week. It's definitely never too early to introduce children to Mexican food or any kind of spicy food!

Have you ever been to Mexico? Do you enjoy Mexican food? What other exotic or spicy dishes do you and your children enjoy?

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