With only a little over a month to go, Christmas is weighing heavy on many of our minds. Shopping for gifts, setting up the decorations, getting the food prepared — there is always so much to do around this festive time of year. Out of all the things to worry about as Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick prepares to make his annual journey, the food is the biggest in my family. We consider ourselves to be foodies, eschewing the traditional roast beast and fruitcake for dishes that pack more of a culinary wallop.
My husband’s family comes from Yucatan, Mexico, so many of our Christmas mainstays are classic Hispanic foods from throughout Mexico. This means our yuletide preparations are a bit more intense than most, at least in the kitchen, but it also mean our Christmas spread is the best around. If you’re tired of making the same boring, bland food year in and year out, here are just a few of the most delicious Hispanic foods you should try your hand at to delight taste buds around the holidays, from my family to yours.
Three of the Most Delicious Hispanic Foods You Should Give a Go for the Holidays
- Ensalada de Noche Buena
- Classic Mexican Tamales
- Homemade Hot Chocolate
Ensalada de Noche Buena, or Eve Salad, is an extremely traditional dish that we make every year. According to About.com’s Travel, the salad, traditionally served on Christmas Eve, became such a staple because of its colors. Ensalada de Noche Buena features green lettuce, red beats, and white apple slices. This combination gives it the look of the Mexican flag, while simultaneously evoking the image of a Christmas tree.
Many families enjoy their tamale recipes year round, but for us, this classic receta de cocina is usually reserved for the holiday season. We tend to use chicken in our recetas, instead of the more traditional pork, but you can really do anything you want with them to make them your own. The popular home and living website SheKnows recommends making a sweet version, using chocolate, fruit, nuts, and different sweet spreads, instead of savory meat and vegetables, for a delicious treat.
After the day of presents, opening gifts, and drinking too much to survive our family has passed, it’s our tradition to sit together with a cup of hot cocoa. Typically, we like to put on our favorite Christmas movie and enjoy the rich, chocolaty broth in relative silence.
Any cocoa will do in this situation, but if you’re looking to try something unique, go with a version that is close to the Aztec original. Add less sugar to your cocoa to help bring out the bitter tones of the chocolate. Finally, just before you layer on a healthy bit of whipped cream, add a few shakes of chili powder to your cup. Sure, it sounds weird, but it will make your taste buds explode.
What are some of your favorite Hispanic foods that you particularly enjoy around the holidays? Let us know in the comments below.