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Cinco de Mayo food

Cinco de Mayo is celebrated more enthusiastically by Mexican descendants in the United States than in its native Mexico.

The day celebrates the victory of the Mexican Army versus the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Often it is mistakenly called  Mexican Independence Day. Mexico had actually declared its independence on September 16, 1810, fifty years earlier.

Celebrations include not only wonderful Mexican foods, but also parades, mariachi music, and folk dancing. Decorate your home with plenty of flowers, and add the colors from the flag of Mexico – green white and red. There is no set traditional food for Cinco de Mayo, as foods vary between the families and the regions of Mexico, combining native Aztec foodstuffs, with a rich variety of items brought by Spanish conquistadors and settlers. Traditionally Mexican foods include guacamole, chilaquiles, enchiladas and mole poblano. The food will be colorfully presented with many vegetables and salsa.

Mexican Dishes for Cinco de Mayo

You don't have to be Mexican to love Cinco de Mayo. Here are some traditional foods to have at your fiesta. Sure you would be able to find some you like and be able to celebrate.

Menudo Soup

Serves: 8

1 calf's foot (about 1 to 1½ pounds)    2 pounds honeycomb tripe
1 large onion    3 cloves garlic, peeled
6 peppercorns    2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
4 quarts of water    3 large chiles anchos
1 large chili poblano, peeled    ½ cup canned hominy (1 pound) drained
Salt as necessary    1 scant teaspoon oregano
  1. Cut the tripe into small squares and put them into a large pan. Cover with the water and bring to a boil. Lower the temperature and simmer, uncovered for about 2 hours, or until the tripe and foot are just tender but not too soft.
  2. Meanwhile, toast the chilies. Then slit them open and remove seeds and the veins from the chili poblano, cut into strips. Add to the meat while it is cooking.
  3. Remove the pieces of calf's foot, cool to handle, then strip off the fleshy parts. Chop roughly and return them to the pan.
  4. Pour in the hominy, cooking the menudo slowly, uncovered, for an additional 2 hours. Add salt to taste. Sprinkle with oregano and serve in large, deep bowls.


Ask the butcher to cut the calf's foot into four pieces.

If you don't have it, substitute 1 large chili poblano, peeled, with 2 canned, peeled green chiles.

Plantain chips

2 plantains, greenish-yellow    oil for frying
salt to taste
  1. Peel plantains and slice as thin as possible -less than 1/8 inch thick. Fry in hot oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
  2. Salt to taste and serve immediately.


3 cups masa harina (all purpose flour will do)    2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon salt    oil for frying
  1. Combine the flour, 2 cups of water and salt until a soft dough forms. If dough seems dry, add water by the teaspoon until soft. On a lightly floured surface, knead until all ingredients are well combined, about 5 minutes.
  2. Roll small balls out of the dough, 1 inch for small, 2 inch for regular size, 3 inch for large sized sopes. By hand, press each ball to about ½ inch thick. Or use two pieces of parchment paper, sandwiching the ball, and pressing with a plate. Use a drinking glass that the bottoms diameter is smaller than the pressed out dough. Press the glass bottom into the center of the dough; flatten the center and allowing a ridge to rise. Use parchment paper to keep the glass from sticking.
  3. Heat 1/4 inch of hot oil in a frying pan, fry the dough on both sides until lightly golden brown and cooked thoroughly. Garnish with one of the following toppings, and serve immediately.

Sope toppings


2 lbs carnitas    4 onions sliced and sauteed
2 cloves of garlic cooked with onions    1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Top each sope with a light layer of the sauteed onions and garlic. Heap on the carnitas and a sprinkle of cilantro.

Shredded Beef

1/2 pounds beef    1 cup red chili sauce
2 onions, coarsely chopped    1 cup tomato sauce
6 cups water    cotija cheese

Simmer beef in 6 cups of water for 4 hours. Remove from water, allow it to cool. Shred with 2 forks or pull apart with your fingers. Stir in remaining ingredients, simmer for 45 minutes. Top sopes with beef and a teaspoon of crumbled cotija cheese.


1 whole onion, peeled and chopped    3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 large potatoes, peeled and chopped    5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 yellow zucchini, chopped into inch cubes    2 green zucchini, chopped into inch cubes
1 teaspoon finely diced, seeded jalapeno    2 teaspoons cumin
2 tablespoons oregano    1 teaspoon salt
8 cups vegetable broth    1 tablespoon oil
parsley for garnish     

In a large pot, bring broth to a boil. Add carrots and potatoes, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Add onion; simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, sauté the zucchini, jalapeno, garlic, and seasonings in hot oil for 8-10 minutes. Strain the carrots, potatoes and onions from broth and drain on paper towels. Top sope with the stewed vegetables and then a layer of sautéed vegetables; add a sprig of parsley for garnish.

Bean and cheese

4 cups warmed refried beans    16 oz shredded jack cheese
4 oz cotija cheese, crumbled    6 green onions, chopped

Top each sope with 1-2 tablespoons of shredded jack, including the edges. Heat sopes under broiler until cheese begins to bubble and brown. Add beans, cotija and green onion.


cup chopped cilantro

3 lbs cooked shrimp, skin removed and coarsely chopped    2 cucumbers peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup oil    1 teaspoon salt
4 tomatoes, seeded and diced    2 tablespoons lime juice
cup chopped white onion

Toss together all ingredients and top the sopes. Serve immediately -liquids in the topping may make the sopes soggy.

Tacos al Pastor

The true recipe is a secret, past down from generation to generation. This is as close to the real thing that you can make at home.

10 chiles Pasilla    10 chiles Guajillo
1/2 garlic bulb    1/4 litter white vinegar
1/4 tsp cumin    5 cloves
salt    pineapple (fresh or canned)
2 lb thin pork meat    1 onion
Fresh coriander    2 Limes
  1. Cut the pork meat in thin steaks, set aside.
  2. Take seeds out of chiles. Cut the chiles into little pieces; mash them together in a food processor, with the garlic, cloves, and cumin, avoid touching the chiles with your bare hands if possible.
  3. Boil the chili mix in vinegar until it makes a heavy paste. Stir frequently to avoid burning.
  4. Heat thoroughly, remove from heat and allow cooling. Slather the paste onto the steaks, placing them on top of each other, then store in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  5. Chop cilantro and onion, and the pork steaks into bite size pieces. Throw the pork into a frying pan with small pieces of pineapple. Cook until the pork is fully cooked, almost burnt.
  6. Slice the lime, serve the pork and pineapples in a taco shell along with the cilantro, onion and limes.

Elotes Tatemados

Serves: 12

10 dry chiles    1 dozen ears un-husked sweet corn, yellow or white
1 dozen Mexican limes, halved    5 tsp salt dissolved in 1 cup of water
1/4 cup butter, melted     
  1. Over a medium flame, heat a  large, heavy, dry skillet. Sauté chiles for 30 seconds, or until they turn a dark red. Use a blender or food processor and grind the chiles finely, set aside.
  2. On a barbecue, roast the un-husked ears for 30 minutes. Remove the ears, cool, and take off the outer leaves along with the silk, returning them to the barbecue.
  3. Use the salt water to coat the ears, and then a heavy coat of butter. Roast until the kernels turn a golden color, and the marinade has soaked into each ear.
  4. Squeeze lime juice over the corn, dust with just a pinch of the toasted ground chili. Sprinkle with salt to taste.


1 tsp baking soda    1 tsp salt
5 med nopales cleaned, do not cook    3 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
3 jalapenos, finely chopped    1 small white onion, finely chopped
1/4 c cilantro leaves chopped   
  1. salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large copper pot, bring one gallon of water to a boil. Add salt and baking soda.
  2. Cut the nopales across the grain in 1/4-inch strips; then cut these strips into 1/2-inch pieces. Add the cut nopales to boiling water. After about 15 minutes, they should be soft and still green,(over cooking will turn them brown), drain, return to pot and pour cold water over them to stop the cooking process. This step and the cooking in copper, is important to help retain the green color that is necessary for this dish.
  3. Rinse the nopales again, in a strainer, shaking out as much moisture as possible.
  4. Put the nopales in a bowl; add the tomatoes, cilantro, onion, chiles, salt and pepper; combine by mixing. Best served at room temperature.

Tinga poblana de pollo

Serves: 6 to 8

8 chicken thighs    1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper    1 tsp garlic powder
8 ripe, whole Roma tomatoes    4 cups chicken stock
4 chipotle chiles    1/2 lb good-quality chorizo
1 white onion, sliced thin    6 red potatoes, diced
1 tsp cumin    1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbs Mexican oregano (not Greek)    1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
1 cup crumbled Mexican queso fresco or feta cheese
  1. Over a medium heat, bring the chicken, salt, pepper and garlic powder, with water to cover, to a simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the chicken to cool in the water, until you are able to handle it. Remove the skin and coarsely shred the meat. Set aside.
  2. Over a high heat, in a sauté pan, char and blister tomatoes on all sides. Do not use oil. Remove from heat and add the chicken stock and chipotles. Cool. Pour into a blender, puree until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Put the chorizo and onions in a stockpot, cook over medium heat. When the chorizo releases some of its oil, add the diced potatoes. Reduce heat to low. Cook until the potatoes have browned and slightly tender.
  4. Add cumin, oregano, pepper, shredded chicken and the pureed tomato mixture. Simmer 10 minutes. Add salt to taste.
  5. Serve in deep bowls, top with avocado and cheese, with a side of corn tortillas and Mexican beer.

Mole verde

8 whole cloves or 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves    1 tsp cumin seeds
3 jalapenos    6 large tomatillos, husks removed
1 small onion, cut into chunks    2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh marjoram    5 cloves garlic
teaspoon salt    6 cups strained chicken or pork stock
1 cup ( pound) fresh masa    1 bunch Italian parsley
8 (6-inch) sprigs fresh epazote or 1/4 cup dried, crumbled    3 large or 5 medium fresh hoja santa leaves or 5 dried leaves
2 cups cooked Great Northern or other white beans, optional    Stewed Pork or cooked chicken, optional
  1. Grind cloves and cumin together with mortar and pestle. Place ground spices in blender with the jalpeños, thyme, tomatillos, onion, garlic, marjoram, salt and ½ cup of stock. Puree until smooth (about 2 minutes on high).
  2. In a pan bring remaining stock to boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer. Add pureed mix to hot stock and cook, uncovered, for 3 minutes.
  3. Add masa to stock mix, whisking constantly. Let sauce return to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes uncovered; use a whisk to stir occasionally. If lumps form, pass mixture through a medium-mesh sieve. Push with spoon to force lumpy bits through and return to heat. The mixture should thicken to the consistency of whipping cream (If not thickening, increase heat slightly to reduce the liquid)
  4. In a blender, place parsley, epazote and hoja santa, add a few tablespoons water. Process into a smooth puree.
  5. Add the cooked beans to the thickened sauce, return to a simmer. Add the pureed herbs. If you are using stewed pork or chicken pieces, add it at this step and cook for about 5 minutes.
  6. Serve immediately.

Mole Poblano

Serves: 12

1 chicken or turkey    11 ancho chiles
6 mulatto chiles    3 chiles chipotles adobados
3tablespoons chili seeds    5 pasilla chiles
4 oz almonds    4 oz peanuts
8 oz sesame seeds    2 oz pumpkin seeds
1 bar dark chocolate    6 allspice
6 cloves    1 cinnamon stick
A pinch aniseed    4 tomatoes
10 green tomatillos    3 cloves garlic 1 medium onion
3 tortillas    1 stale white bread roll
1/2 lb lard   
  1. 2 Tbs vinegar
  1. Clean and boil the chicken or turkey. Cut into pieces, and fry them in the lard. Puree the tomatoes and the chipotle chiles, adding them to the chicken. Cooked through, then add one quart of chicken broth.
  2. For the Mole sauce, toast the sesame seeds. Fry the bread, set aside.
  3. Next fry the tortillas.
  4. Fry the chili together with the almonds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, aniseed, cloves, cinnamon, and allspice. Grind together adding a little water. Throw in the toasted and peeled tomatillos, onion and garlic. Continue to blend, returning to heat and slowly mix in one quart of stock. To prevent sticking, stir continually, thicken over a low heat.
  5. Add the mole sauce to the poultry and tomato purse. Stir well. Grind chocolate to a powder and then sprinkle over the sauce. Blend thoroughly, then bring to a boil and thicken. Remove from heat; add vinegar and one tablespoon of hot lard.
  6. Serve one piece of chicken on each plate with a helping of mole. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over top.


Serves: 4

For the cooked chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts    1 onion, quartered
2 cloves of garlic

For the tomato sauce

2 onions, fnely chopped    1 garlic chopped very small
12 tomatoes peeled and seeded and pureed    1 Tbs cilantro, minced
salt and pepper, to taste    2 Tbs Tabasco sauce if you want it hot (optional)

Plus you will need

4 round corn tortillas    Sour cream, diluted with a small amount of water
1/2 lb manchego cheese    1/2 pound mozzarella cheese
  1. Cut the tortillas into strips
  2. Cook chicken with a little water, the quartered onion, a pinch of salt and two cloves of garlic. Cover, cook slowly over a medium heat.
  3. Once the chicken is fully cooked, place chicken on a plate. Cool until you are able to handle it.
  4. Throw away the garlic and onion.

Tomato Sauce

  1. Gently fry the chopped onion and garlic in some olive oil. Once the onion is translucent, add tomatoes, cilantro and Tabasco sauce, over medium heat for 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Shred the chicken and place in sauce, lower heat and cook for a few minutes to absorb some of the flavors from the sauce. Do not over cook.

Frying the corn tortillas

Deep fry the corn tortillas. When they are crisp, remove and drain on paper towels.


Set the chilaquiles like lasagna. Use a large lasagna pan and layer the following:

  • tortillas
  • chicken in sauce
  • sour cream {diluted in water}
  • cheese.

Repeat layers and finish with cheese and sour cream. Bake at 335 degrees F for about 45 minutes.


3 tablespoons finely chopped white onion    4 chiles serranos
2 rounded tablespoons cilantro    teaspoon sea salt
3 large avocados    2/3 cup tomatoes, finely chopped, not peeled
2 tablespoons white onion, finely chopped    1 tablespoons heaped, finely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons finely chopped tomatoes   



  1. Grind the onion, cilantro, fresh chiles, and salt into a rough paste. Cut the avocados in half, remove pits (set them aside, but do not throw away), and scoop out the flesh.  Mash the flesh roughly into the chili mixture, Mix well.
  2. Mix in the chopped tomato, sprinkle top of the guacamole with the extra onion, cilantro, and tomato.
  3. Place the pits back into it for a nice effect and serve immediately  inside a fresh, warm, corn tortilla.


3 pounds of pork skin, partly frozen    Salt
  1. Preheat a fryer to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut pork skin into pieces, 2 inches long and 1/2-inch thick. Season with the salt. Cover, then refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Fry the pork until golden brown and crispy, around 5 to 6 minutes.
  3. Remove then drain on paper towels. Season with salt and serve warm.


8 eggs    1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract    1 cups white sugar
  1. Heat the oven to 300º F.  Prepare a 9 inch round cake pan.
  2. In a blender, combine eggs, condensed milk and vanilla and blend until smooth. In medium sauce pan, cook the sugar, stirring constantly, until it liquefies. Remove from heat when it begins to turn a light brown, pour into the waiting pan. Pour the egg mix over the liquefied sugar.
  3. Next you need to line a roasting pan with a damp kitchen towel. Place the baking dish on the towel. Then place the roasting pan on oven rack. Fill the roasting pan with water halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
  4. Bake for 70 minutes in the preheated oven, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Remove pan from water and allow cooling completely (1 hour). Run a knife along the edge of the pan, place a serving plate on top, and invert.

Masa - Spanish word for dough. In Mexico, masa refers to the traditional dough to make corn tortillas. It is made from dried corn kernels cooked in limewater (water with calcium oxide.)

Masa harina - literally, dough flour, would be flour made from dried masa.

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