The Cheat’s Guide to Cinco de Mayo

The to Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is a very important day of the year for the people of Mexico and indeed anybody who is a fan of Mexican culture and of course, food. Often mistaken for Mexican independence day, or even worse the Day of the Dead (which actually coincides with Halloween!), Cinco de Mayo is actually a celebration of Mexico’s greatest military achievement:  the battle of Puebla which occurred on May 5, 1862. This battle saw 2,000 Mexican soldiers defeat 6,000 French soldiers who were equipped with far superior equipment. The French army was considered the greatest in the world at the time and was undefeated in 50 battles. Accordingly, Cinco de Mayo is a day of great national pride for the people of Mexico. And what better way to celebrate than with a delicious meal with friends and family? 

Per the title, this is the Cheat’s Guide, so it’s super easy, super quick, and, by blending the method with some Korean flair, it’s super cool!

All of the ingredients can be bought pre-made at your local supermarket: fajita spice mix, corn chips, salsa, guacamole, and flour tortilla shells. Other than that, you just need some brown onion and green capsicum to cook up in the meat, some tomato and cos lettuce for the wraps and some sour cream and Tabasco sauce to put on the top. My wife has a pair of favourite recipes: one for guacamole and another for a delicious Mexican rice.

To begin with, put your beef strips, fajita seasoning mix and thinly sliced brown onion and green capsicums into a ziplock bag with a little extra virgin olive oil and mix thoroughly. Allow this to marinate for 2 to 4 hours.

When you are ready for dinner, slice up some tomatoes and put some lettuce leaves on a plate. Put some corn chips, salsa, sour cream and guacamole in separate bowls and take them out to your table. This is where things get really fun.

For around $20 you can get yourself a tabletop Butane burner and hotplate. You might even find these cheaper on special, or just ask around and see if your friends have any: I have three and they were all given to me!

This goes in the middle of the table and everyone can participate in cooking the meat that they want to eat. This is what we are borrowing from the Koreans in this meal: we’re styling it like ‘kalbi’, the traditional Korean style of BBQ.

As the meat cooks, grab a tortilla, put in some beef, whatever salads you want, roll it up, drop it on a plate and top it with some sour cream, salsa and Tabasco sauce. Then eat it up. Yummy yummy!

Alternatively, grab a piece of cos lettuce and use it instead of the tortilla: now you’re really mixing up your styles!

And what goes well with fajitas? Strawberry Daiquiris of course!

What’s your favourite festival food? Let me know in the comments below!

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2 thoughts on “The Cheat’s Guide to Cinco de Mayo

  1. What a fun looking meal! Viva la revolucion! I love the idea of ‘making your own’ with Mexican food, as it always lets people make their own perfect creation. Cooking your own meat as part of the process makes the meal an ‘experience’ (I’m sure one with great aromas), compared to just Sitting to Eat. Mexican is social, so with Daiquiris, I could imagine this would be great for a dinner party or catch up with friends. Thanks for the inspiration Ben. I have a cooker similar to that, but not with that cooking plate. It’s now on the shopping list! 😉

    1. Thanks Nigel. Glad to hear you liked it. The more you can involve people in the cooking process, the more memorable and meaningful the meal will be to them.

      Hopefully your new hotplate will arrive in the next two days in time for Cinqo de Mayo. Share some pics. I’d love to see them!

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