Mexico

This week we’re off to Mexico! I tried to use ingredients I already had to make my dish this week. Key word: Tried. Really, I made a fair attempt at pan-fried fish in garlic, or filete de pescado al mojo de ajo, recipe courtesy of Mely of Mexico in My Kitchen. Sounds easy enough, right?

I believe I was over-confident, seeing as I live in Texas and am a big ol’ fan of Tex-Mex cuisine. But I freestyled a bit, I didn’t follow the recipe perfectly. The result was good, but I wouldn’t say it reminded me at all of what I think Mexican food to be. Then again, maybe that’s the point!

What I'm learning from this experiment is that there are lots of cross-cultural foods and meals. Not everything is significantly different from food we would eat in the U.S. Undoubtedly there are difference, and maybe I'm not finding/picking recipes that are adventurous enough! I had a friend from Mexico tell me this meal sounded more like a typical homemade Mexican dinner. She also compared enchiladas and what we think of as “typical” Mexican food to hamburgers and hotdogs – those are things she ate in Mexico occasionally, but not every day.

Before I show you the recipe let me tell you some fast facts about Mexico.

Mexico was conquered by Spain in the 16th century, though it was a site for several earlier civilizations, like the Mayans and Aztecs (less familiar others include Olmec, Toltec, Teotihuacan, and Zapotec civilizations). It wasn’t independent from Spain until the 19th century, and is currently a democratic state. It’s the third largest country in Latin America, but only 10% of its land is suitable for growing crops (still almost 200,000 square kilometers).

Low wages, underemployment, and resulting poverty are all issues within Mexico, particularly among indigenous groups and in the southern regions. However, the economy has improved again since the worldwide recession in 2008.

Prayer points:

  • Praise for steady growth of the evangelical Church!
  • Pray for breaking down of cultural Catholicism, where people identify with the religion but are not really effected by the grace of Christ
  • Pray for provision of help for the poor, both in everyday needs like food and shelter as well as long-term solutions to poverty
  • Pray for those Christians who are being persecuted in Mexico, a trend which has risen in recent decades (not a place I would have expected there to be this issue)
  • For those seeking refuge and/or a new home in the U.S., pray for provision and protection where they are and against the dangers that may come with immigration
  • And finally, let’s be praying for the process of immigration in general. Pray for patience and perseverance for those immigrating. And for our leaders around the world, pray for wisdom as they make decisions about immigration processes that will effect many, many lives

Shout out to the CIA World Factbook and Operation World for all the background info.

And finally, shout on out (again) to Mely of Mexico in My Kitchen for this simple and tasty dish de pescado!

Filete de Pescado al Mojo de Ajo - Fish Filets in Garlic

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1½ Tilapia or other fish fillet
  • 1 Lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil (or a mix of half olive oil and half vegetable oil)
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (I used minced garlic, and did not need 6 cloves, because I didn't use them as a topping later)
  • 3 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour (optional, can help keep fish from sticking to pan)
  1. Season fish with salt, pepper and lime juice. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Heat oil at low heat in a large frying pan. Once hot, fry the garlic slices until they are golden. Make sure to remove promptly once they are light golden, if you leave them longer they will get a bitter taste. This step takes a few seconds, so be very careful. (I sauted minced garlic in oil and pan-fried the fish on top of that)
  3. If using the flour, dust the fillets with the flour, very lightly. Using the same pan, turn the heat to medium high, add the fish and cook on both sides. The cooking time will depend on the fish’s thickness. It will be about 2-3 minutes per side for those fillets about 1/3 inch thick, and about 5-7 minutes for thicker fillets. Do not turn the fish until every side is golden and cooked.
  4. Remove fish from the frying pan and place on a cooling rack with paper towel underneath to absorb any excess fat.  To serve, garnish with the chopped parsley and golden garlic slices.
Mexico-pescado

We ate our pescado with some left over ginger rice (Malaysia) and roasted veggies (red bell pepper, butternut squash, eggplant, onion, tomatoes), and of course a few squeezes of lime.

Happy cooking, yall!