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Friday, September 22, 2023

Ruta de La Milpa: Distinctive Mexico Metropolis Meals Tour


Milpa Alta is a rural space of Mexico Metropolis crammed with cactus fields and plenty of selfmade mole! Right here I’m sharing my expertise as a dietitian studying learn how to harvest and prepare dinner nopales, making recent corn tortillas and tasting many several types of mole.

Nopal taco with fresh cheese and salsa on an earthen clay plate.

Milpa Alta is the southernmost borough of Mexico Metropolis. It’s rural and strikes at a a lot slower tempo. This particular place is fertile floor for studying in regards to the three king crops of the nation and having fun with amazingly recent conventional meals. I took the Ruta de La Milpa expertise created and led by chef Jorge Córcega.

Whereas visiting, we had recent nopales tacos, cafe de olla, sopes with recent salsa, black bean tamales and mole and sipped refreshing bottomless agua de hibiscus (or Jamaica) all through the afternoon. If you’re not acquainted with any of these, I’ll clarify.

Nopal field under a clear blue sky.

La ruta de la Milpa was enjoyable and academic. And the meals was easy and scrumptious. As a dietitian I used to be particularly curious in regards to the historical past and tradition – and the day answered a lot of my questions and ignited new ones within the course of.

How far is Milpa Alta from the town heart?

We took a 60+ minute bus trip from the Roma Norte/Juarez space to succeed in Milpa Alta on a Wednesday morning. The infamous Mexico Metropolis visitors will dictate how lengthy it would take you.

However you will have to take a automobile. It’s a rural space that isn’t simply accessed by way of public transportation. Plus, you’ll desire a automobile to actually expertise the fantastic thing about the realm, store the native shops and dine within the household run eating places at your personal tempo.

So right here’s a snippet of our day en Milpa Alta:

We began the day in a discipline of nopal with a heat mug of cafe de olla.

Clay pot warming on a coral with cactus in the background.

What’s cafe de olla?

Cafe de Olla interprets to “espresso from a pot” in Spanish.

This conventional Mexican espresso is made in an earthen clay pot (pictured above). The espresso is barely sweetened with piloncillo (akin to a wealthy darkish brown sugar or molasses) and spiced with cinnamon. From what I perceive the pot is an important “ingredient” because it gives depth of taste. You may also discover recipes right this moment that embody different spices together with clove, star anise or orange peel.

The cup of cafe de olla I sipped on the tour was barely candy, wealthy and balanced. Positively get a cup whenever you go on the tour – it’s the right begin to the day particularly when it’s a bit chilly within the nopal discipline.

chef Jorge Córcega removing thorns from nopal.
Chef Córcega cleansing nopales.

Harvesting, cleansing, cooking nopales

Nopales could be eaten recent (uncooked) or cooked. Use them in recent salads, griddled for tacos or add to soup or stew and extra.

Nopales are perishable. And as soon as recent nopales are are picked and the thorns eliminated, they need to be eaten inside about 48 hours. Earlier than prepping them, you’ll be able to retailer them within the fridge for longer however it’s a good suggestion to attend till you’re able to prepare dinner or eat them to prep (take away the spiny needles).

Chef Cócega confirmed us learn how to take away the thorns with a pointy knife (above). He provided however I left the prep to the chef. Principally as a result of I already had a thorn in my thumb from the harvest and didn’t need extra.

When making ready them at dwelling, it’s a good suggestion to make use of a secure chopping board and a thick, clear kitchen towel to carry the small finish of the cactus leaf when you use a pointy knife to scrape right down to take away the prickly thorns.

As soon as that half is finished, you might be able to take pleasure in them in your favourite dishes.

Cooking nopal on the comal.

These nopales have been cooked merely over the hearth on the comal (proven above) with oil. As soon as barely charred on either side, we sliced the nopales into large strips and so they have been able to eat.

The nopales have been the star ingredient in our breakfast tacos. The tacos have been made with the nopal strips, recent cheese, and a spicy (to me) tomato salsa on recent corn tortillas.

Making recent corn tortillas

We additionally discovered learn how to make recent corn tortillas, tamales and sopes from the heirloom corn grown, dried, nixtamilized and floor on the farm.

Dried red corn on the cob being scraped against a bundle of corn cobs to remove kernels.

It’s a course of. However these have been the best-tasting tortillas I’ve had in life. The colours have been all pure from the completely different heirloom corn she crops and harvests on the farm.

Heritage corn tortillas multicolor.

We additionally made corn and black bean tamales and so they have been one of the best ones I’ve ever had. The tamales have been steamed in corn husks. Then we wrapped them placing a finger sized gap within the heart which was later used for spooning in mole. It was a heat, barely candy and savory meal that I’d return to the farm to expertise.

Along with these experiences, we additionally visited a neighborhood mole maker. Milpa Alta is well-known for it’s ample selfmade moles. The household enterprise we visited is certainly one of a number of within the city creating moles that many households and eating places use all through the town and nation. I introduced some again that I can’t wait to take pleasure in at dwelling.

The day closed with a stunning lunch exterior. We had extra recent nopal sope starter, hen mole with Mexican rice, and a semi-sweet corn pudding made with pinole (roasted corn powder) and topped with toasted pumpkin seeds. It was a pleasing finish to the day all set to the tunes of Sade.

Extra in regards to the tour

I’ve been on plenty of farm and meals excursions. Ruta de la Milpa one was an incredible mix of fingers on experiences, and historical past plus easy, scrumptious meals.

That is an all-day tour I’d say. You may be again to the town heart by early supper time (US) however you gained’t have an enormous urge for food – imagine me.

The tour hosts are extremely educated and type. I paid for this expertise myself. They don’t know I’m scripting this.

For those who like meals, tradition and historical past, you’ll take pleasure in this expertise. Go. Be ready to get your fingers a bit of messy with masa. Absorb the expertise.

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