Culture

Cholo Scar Calls His Dad To Get His Famous Birria Recipe

There is something so comforting and soothing about a hot bowl of birria in the middle of the summer. Yeah. That’s right. We are talking about a steam bowl of chiles based soup in the middle of the hottest part of the year and we have no shame about it. Everyone is always joking about how our parents make us eat soup in the summer but the joke is really us becoming adults and making soup over the summer.

Birria is traditionally made with goat meat or carne de cabra but this recipe takes a page out of our convenience-based economy and uses some choice beef. What really makes this soup so unique and delicious is the use of the chiles to make the broth for the soup. The chiles used in the broth really gives the soup a special and hearty kick without overpowering your senses.

While some purist might think foods should always be prepared the same way doesn’t understand the true versatility of food. Cooking is about experimenting and creating things out of what you like. For some, goat meat is too gamey or tough making beef a perfect substitute. For those cutting out red meat, you can always try the dish with some chicken or any meat substitute that you might desire.

Soups are a universal dish. Every culture has a soup that hold some of the most iconic vegetables and meats of a region combined to create comfort food. These dishes are a great way to look into someone else culture. By tasting and exploring a soup, you can see the kinds of foods that bring people of that culture warmth, comfort, and tastes of home. If you think about it long enough, you will be able to point directly to a soup that you grew up with that is a representation of your culture and childhood in a bowl.

Ingredients:

  • 10 pounds of chuck roast beef cut into cubes
  • 1 pound of dried guajillo chiles, washed and dried
  • 1/2 pound of dried chiles de arbol, washed and dried
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tomatillo
  • 2 tablespoons of chicken stock powder
  • 2 onions, one cut in quarters and one diced
  • 1 bunch of radishes, sliced thin
  • 3-4 bay leaves, depending on the size you are preparing

Directions:

  1. Fill a heavy bottom pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the beef to the water and let boil for about 3 hours. Check after 2 hours. The beef should be cooked enough that it starts to fall apart when you stick a fork in it.
  2. In another post, fill halfway with water and bring to a simmer. Slowly add the guajillo chiles, chiles de arbol, the quartered onion, the whole tomatillo, and the chicken broth powder. Raise heat and bring the water to a rolling boil. Once the water hits a boil, turn off the heat and cover for 30 minutes so it starts to cool down but continues to cook the ingredients without the boiling water.
  3. After the water has cooled down for 30 minutes, add the chiles, onion, tomatillo, and some reserved water to a blender. Pulse the blender until the chile mixture is smooth.
  4. Set a fine mesh sieve over a mixing bowl and pour the chile mixture into the sieve in batches so it doesn’t spill. Using the back of a spoon, press the child mixture through the so all you have in the bowl in a smooth liquid.
  5. In a sauté pan, add the cooked beef and the salsa you made. Cook over medium-low heat until the beef starts to shred on its own.
  6. Once the beef is ready, put some beef in serving bowls and cover with the salsa broth you made. Add the cilantro, diced onion, and sliced radish on top and serve while hot. Make sure everyone has a nice cold glass of horchata and some warmed tortillas to really make the meal a treat and enjoy this delicious dish.

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Nopales, The OG Ancestral Food We’ve Been Eating Since Waaaay Before Plant Based Foods Became Trendy

Culture

Nopales, The OG Ancestral Food We’ve Been Eating Since Waaaay Before Plant Based Foods Became Trendy

I can literally talk food until my babas drip. Don’t judge. The comelón life chose me and I’m not mad at it. Because growing up Latino meant breakfast wasn’t always cereal, and dinner wasn’t always mac and cheese. I grew up con más sabor en mis platillos than most Americans. And, at the time, I didn’t even realize that many of the foods my family was trying to get me to eat were ancestral foods. From chocolate to cocoa and chia to nopalitos, I blame los ancestros for my obsession with food and all the glorious ingredients that have been passed down for generations.

My knees already feel weak, fam, because today I’m gonna be talking nopalitos. Ya me estoy chupando los dedos, thinking back to how I grew up with these babies always in the refri in that Nopalitos jar, ready to be thrown into a sauce or encima de una carne asada. It turns out this soul-feeding food is one of the OG ancestral foods that have been used by our people for thousands of years. Ahí les va un poco de historia:

The Mexica introduced the world to the “fruit of the Earth.”

In Náhuatl, the word for nopal translates to “fruit of the Earth.” I don’t know what the Náhuatl word for “bomb-delicioso” is, but in my opinion, that should also be the name for nopales. And the Aztecs must have felt this way too because one of the most famous cities in the Aztec Empire – Tenochtitlán, the empire’s religious center – was named “prickly pear on a rock.” Iconic.

According to legend, the city was built after an Azteca priest spotted an eagle perched on a nopal plant, carrying a snake in its mouth. The priest, obviously extremadamente blown away by this, ran back to his village just so he could gather everyone to check out this crazy eagle with a snake in its mouth. As they watched, the cactus beneath the eagle grew into an island – eventually becoming Tenochtitlán. I’ll give you 3 seconds to just process that. 1…2…3. Please take more time if you need it. The image of the eagle carrying a snake, its golden talons perched on a nopal growing from a rock, can now be found on the Mexican flag.

Today, we know that the Mexica were right to call nopales the plant of life.

In Mexico, it’s still common to place a handful of nopal flowers in a bath to help relax achy muscles. And nopales are becoming more popular than ever in beauty treatments to help fight aging. But, y’all are too beautiful to be needing them for that, so let’s talk about what’s important — eating them.

There are so many ways you can mix this iconic ingredient into your meals.

We should all be eating our green foods. Your tía, your abuela, your primo, everyone…except your ex. Your ex can eat basura. I said what I said. But, nopalitos are especially important. These tenacious desert plants can be eaten raw, sautéed, pickled, grilled – they’re even used as pizza toppings. Though for some people, nopales – with their spines and texture – can be intimidating. After cutting off the spines and edges, and cutting them into slices, they will bleed a clear slime. But boiling for 20 minutes will take care of that. Or make it even easier on yourself and avoid espinas by buying them all ready-to-go from the brand we all know and love, DOÑA MARIA® Nopalitos.

Check it out, I’m even gonna hook it up with that good-good, because if you’re looking for ways to enjoy your nopales, I got’chu with some starter links to recipes: Hibiscus and Nopal Tacos, Nopal Tostadas, Roasted Nopales con Mole, and Lentil Soup con Nopales.  One of my personal favorite ways to eat them is in a beautiful Cactus Salad, full of color and flavor. Trust. I rate these dishes 10 out of 10, guaranteed to make your babas drip, and when you eat this ensalada de nopalitos, you will remember even your ancestors were dripping babas over this waaay before it was cool to eat plant-based foods.

So let’s give the poderoso nopal the spotlight it deserves by adding it to our shopping lists more often.

Rich in history, mythology, and practical uses, the nopal’s enduring popularity is a testament to its versatility. It’s time to give this classic ingredient the respect it deserves and recognize just how chingon our ancestors are for making nopales fire before plantbase foods were even trending.

Next time you’re at the supermercado, do your ancestors proud and add nopales to your shopping cart by picking up a jar of DOÑA MARIA® Nopalitos. This easy-to-use food will definitely give you a major boost of pride in your roots. Viva los nopalitos bay-beh!

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Mexicans Travel To U.S. For ‘Vaccine Tourism’ Say It’s A Matter Of Survival

Things That Matter

Mexicans Travel To U.S. For ‘Vaccine Tourism’ Say It’s A Matter Of Survival

The United States is one of the world’s most successful countries when it comes to rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine program. So far, more than 200 million vaccines have been administered across the U.S. and as of this week anyone over the age of 16 is now eligible.

Meanwhile, in many countries around the world – including Mexico – the vaccine roll out is still highly restricted. For many, who can afford to travel, they see the best option at a shot in the arm to take a trip to the U.S. where many locations are reporting a surplus in vaccines.

Wealthy Latin Americans travel to U.S. to get COVID vaccines.

People of means from Latin America are chartering planes, booking commercial flights, buying bus tickets and renting cars to get the vaccine in the United States due to lack of supply back in their home countries. Some of those making the trip include politicians, TV personalities, business executives and a soccer team.

There is an old Mexican joke: God tells a Mexican he has only a week left to live but can ask for one final wish, no matter how outrageous. So the Mexican asks for a ticket to Houston—for a second opinion.

Virginia Gónzalez and her husband flew from Mexico to Texas and then boarded a bus to a vaccination site. They made the trip again for a second dose. The couple from Monterrey, Mexico, acted on the advice of the doctor treating the husband for prostate cancer. In all, they logged 1,400 miles for two round trips.

“It’s a matter of survival,” Gónzalez told NBC News, of getting a COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. “In Mexico, officials didn’t buy enough vaccines. It’s like they don’t care about their citizens.”

Mexico has a vaccine rollout plan but it’s been too slow in many people’s opinions.

With a population of nearly 130 million people, Mexico has secured more vaccines than many Latin American nations — about 18 million doses as of Monday from the U.S., China, Russia and India. Most of those have been given to health care workers, people over 60 and some teachers, who so far are the only ones eligible. Most other Latin American countries, except for Chile, are in the same situation or worse.

So vaccine seekers who can afford to travel are coming to the United States to avoid the long wait, including people from as far as Paraguay. Those who make the trip must obtain a tourist visa and have enough money to pay for required coronavirus tests, plane tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars and other expenses.

There is little that is fair about the global race for the COVID-19 vaccine, despite international attempts to avoid the current disparities. In Israel, a country of 9 million people, half of the population has received at least one dose, while plenty of countries have yet to receive any. While the U.S. could vaccinate 70 percent of its population by September 2021 at the current rollout rate, it could take Mexico until approximately the year 2024 to achieve the same results.

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