Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Aztec Influence in Authentic Foods from Great Mexican Restaurants

The Aztec culture that flourished in Mexico during the 14th to 16th century left many fascinating relics behind such as its pyramids and artwork, but many people do not realize that its food also survives today in the Mexican food that we enjoy.

Aztec Farming

The food cultivated by the Aztecs still plays a significant part in the food you eat when you visit a Mexican restaurant today. The Aztecs had a sophisticated approach to growing crops.

Chinampa was the name of the farming method that used floating islands and grew crops such as corn, chili peppers and tomatoes. The corn tortillas and hot salsas that we eat today as well as the use of chili peppers in the preparation of many dishes date back to these early agricultural innovations.

Familiar Ingredients

The use of chocolate in mole sauces came later in Mexican food history, but Aztecs drank chocolate and also used ingredients such as annatto seed ground into a paste and tomatillos, popular ingredients in modern dishes such as cochinita pibil, arroz con pollo and salsa verde. The Aztecs also made a sauce out of avocado that they called ahuacomolli, which sounds very close to guacoamole when you say it out loud.

Beans were another popular dish in the Aztec diet, and the Aztecs ground corn to make tortillas as well as mixing cornmeal with vegetables and beans to steam in a corn husk. Today, we know this preparation as a tamale.

Spain introduced ingredients that changed Mexican cuisine and in the United States, the influence of Texan and southwestern food also altered what you can find on a Mexican restaurant, but those Aztec influences are still at the heart of much of the Mexican diet.


History of Traditional Mexican Food: The Evolution and History of Mexican Cuisine,

Traditional Mexican Food,

What Kind of Food Did the Aztecs Eat?,

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