No one cooks like your mamá. Who doesn’t say that? Here are 11 dishes that always remind us of her.
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When you’re hungry, what satisfies more than meat? And churrasco is it, man, because it consists of meat, meat and more MEAT. Did I say meat? Popular throughout the Americas this dish is all about perfectly seasoned beef or grilled meat that is cooked and served on large skewers — swords with meat. Not fancy, just filling.
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Popular in Peru and Mexico, this simple fish plate features raw fish cooked in lime juice combined with fresh onion, salt, and — if you’re Mexican — cilantro. It also goes great with beer. So if you get wasted, no prob: save some for the next day, because it’s got a rep for being a miracle hangover cure.
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If you haven’t had fresh tamales, what are you even doing with your life? They can be stuffed with anything from beef to chicken or cheese, beans and fruit. Basically you can make anything better by adding masa and wrapping it in leaves. Given the effort, tamales are saved for the holidays, but believe it or not, they CAN be enjoyed year-round.
Credit: Flickr / James
Another holiday favorite are Caribbean pastelitos, but you don’t need an excuse to eat these. Pastelitos, and their Empanada cousins, can be stuffed with fillings like meat, vegetables, potatoes or corn. The dough for Caribbean pastelitos is made from plantains and wrapped in parchment while Empanadas are often made with simple pastry dough.
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Is … that? Yes, it’s a whole pig, homie. A Cuban holiday fav, lechon is usually roasted whole over an open flame. But if you don’t have the space for an open pit or the sight of Porky sizzling over the coals might cause you to go vegan, there is another option.
6. Arroz con Gandules
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Some families treasure rare jewels as heirlooms. But in a Puerto Rican household, it’s the arroz con gandules recipe that’s passed down from abuelas to nieticitos. The two main ingredients are rice and pigeon peas, but if done right, they can satisfy a single person or an army of 20.
Have you ever met anyone who DOESN’T like flan? They don’t exist. And if they do, they’re lying to themselves. This egg-based Mexican classic features sweetened milk and vanilla extract, creating a delicious dessert that should never be missing from your refrigerator. Just make sure you get a slice of it before it disappears.
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With a blend of more than 20 ingredients, mole is perhaps one of the most complex Mexican dishes to make. But don’t let that intimidate you — you can make it at home with a little patience and a lot of love. There are a number of variations on mole but the most well-known version is probably mole poblano, which is powered by chocolate and chiles.
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For Ecuadorians, a taste of home means a meal like encebollado. The fish soup is a national staple that is topped off with lots of red onion, yuca, tomatoes, and crushed coriander leaves. And don’t tell mama, but many Ecuadorians claim encebollado is a perfect hangover dish.
10. Ropa vieja
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The English translation may be “old clothes,” but there’s nothing sad and worn about Cuban ropa vieja. Cooked until brown on all sides then tossed in a mixture of garlic, onions, peppers, and sofrito sauce, ropa vieja is a hearty shredded beef dish that will feel like a warm hug from an old friend.
11. Huevos rancheros
Got huevos? Fried eggs topped with homemade green or red sauce is a breakfast staple in Mexican cuisine. A little heat from salsa and a slather of refried pinto beans will boost those plain ‘ol huevitos to HUEVOTES.