Milpa Alta is a rural space of Mexico Metropolis full of cactus fields and many do-it-yourself mole! Right here I’m sharing my expertise as a dietitian studying methods to harvest and prepare dinner nopales, making contemporary corn tortillas and tasting many various kinds of mole.
Milpa Alta is the southernmost borough of Mexico Metropolis. It’s rural and strikes at a a lot slower tempo. This particular place is fertile floor for studying in regards to the three king crops of the nation and having fun with amazingly contemporary conventional meals. I took the Ruta de La Milpa expertise created and led by chef Jorge Córcega.
Whereas visiting, we had contemporary nopales tacos, cafe de olla, sopes with contemporary salsa, black bean tamales and mole and sipped refreshing bottomless agua de hibiscus (or Jamaica) all through the afternoon. In case you are not accustomed to any of these, I’ll clarify.
La ruta de la Milpa was enjoyable and academic. And the meals was easy and scrumptious. As a dietitian I used to be particularly curious in regards to the historical past and tradition – and the day answered lots of my questions and ignited new ones within the course of.
How far is Milpa Alta from the town middle?
We took a 60+ minute bus trip from the Roma Norte/Juarez space to achieve Milpa Alta on a Wednesday morning. The infamous Mexico Metropolis visitors will dictate how lengthy it would take you.
However you have to to take a automobile. It’s a rural space that isn’t simply accessed through public transportation. Plus, you’ll need a automobile to actually expertise the great thing about the realm, store the native shops and dine within the household run eating places at your personal tempo.
So right here’s a snippet of our day en Milpa Alta:
We began the day in a area of nopal with a heat mug of cafe de olla.
What’s cafe de olla?
Cafe de Olla interprets to “espresso from a pot” in Spanish.
This conventional Mexican espresso is made in an earthen clay pot (pictured above). The espresso is barely sweetened with piloncillo (akin to a wealthy darkish brown sugar or molasses) and spiced with cinnamon. From what I perceive the pot is a vital “ingredient” because it gives depth of taste. You may also discover recipes right this moment that embrace different spices together with clove, star anise or orange peel.
The cup of cafe de olla I sipped on the tour was barely candy, wealthy and balanced. Undoubtedly get a cup if you go on the tour – it’s the right begin to the day particularly when it’s a bit chilly within the nopal area.
Harvesting, cleansing, cooking nopales
Nopales will be eaten contemporary (uncooked) or cooked. Use them in contemporary salads, griddled for tacos or add to soup or stew and extra.
Nopales are perishable. And as soon as contemporary nopales are are picked and the thorns eliminated, they need to be eaten inside about 48 hours. Earlier than prepping them, you possibly can retailer them within the fridge for longer nevertheless it’s a good suggestion to attend till you’re able to prepare dinner or eat them to prep (take away the spiny needles).
Chef Cócega confirmed us methods to take away the thorns with a pointy knife (above). He provided however I left the prep to the chef. Largely as a result of I already had a thorn in my thumb from the harvest and didn’t need extra.
When making ready them at dwelling, it’s a good suggestion to make use of a steady reducing board and a thick, clear kitchen towel to carry the small finish of the cactus leaf when you use a pointy knife to scrape right down to take away the prickly thorns.
As soon as that half is completed, you might be able to get pleasure from them in your favourite dishes.
These nopales have been cooked merely over the fireplace on the comal (proven above) with oil. As soon as barely charred on either side, we sliced the nopales into extensive strips and so they have been able to eat.
The nopales have been the star ingredient in our breakfast tacos. The tacos have been made with the nopal strips, contemporary cheese, and a spicy (to me) tomato salsa on contemporary corn tortillas.
Making contemporary corn tortillas
We additionally discovered methods to make contemporary corn tortillas, tamales and sopes from the heirloom corn grown, dried, nixtamilized and floor on the farm.
It’s a course of. However these have been the best-tasting tortillas I’ve had in life. The colours have been all pure from the totally different heirloom corn she crops and harvests on the farm.
We additionally made corn and black bean tamales and so they have been the perfect ones I’ve ever had. The tamales have been steamed in corn husks. Then we wrapped them placing a finger sized gap within the middle which was later used for spooning in mole. It was a heat, barely candy and savory meal that I’d return to the farm to expertise.
Along with these experiences, we additionally visited an area mole maker. Milpa Alta is well-known for it’s considerable do-it-yourself moles. The household enterprise we visited is certainly one of a number of within the city creating moles that many households and eating places use all through the town and nation. I introduced some again that I can’t wait to get pleasure from at dwelling.
The day closed with a beautiful lunch outdoors. We had extra contemporary nopal sope starter, rooster mole with Mexican rice, and a semi-sweet corn pudding made with pinole (roasted corn powder) and topped with toasted pumpkin seeds. It was a nice finish to the day all set to the tunes of Sade.
Extra in regards to the tour
I’ve been on a variety of farm and meals excursions. Ruta de la Milpa one was an important mix of fingers on experiences, and historical past plus easy, scrumptious meals.
That is an all-day tour I’d say. You may be again to the town middle by early time for dinner (US) however you gained’t have an enormous urge for food – imagine me.
The tour hosts are extremely educated and type. I paid for this expertise myself. They don’t know I’m penning this.
When you like meals, tradition and historical past, you’ll get pleasure from this expertise. Go. Be ready to get your fingers just a little messy with masa. Absorb the expertise.