We find them in the parks and fairs, outside the subway and the church, next to the bakery, the supermarket, and the mall. Huge pots with whole corn, or with beans in hot water, with epazote and everything the imagination allows to add.
The word esquites comes from the Nahuatl izquitl, from icehqui 'toast (on a griddle). It is said that they were created by Tlaxocihualpili, the female ruler of Xochimilco from 1335 to 1347.
The classic esquite is prepared by frying onion and green chili, then adding corn with chicken broth and salt. They are served hot in a glass, with lemon juice, mayonnaise or cream, grated cheese, chili, and salt.
But in fact, there are all kinds of variations. In many places, marrow, sausage, and pieces of chicken and beef are added. They are made in several states of the country, although with different names. In Aguascalientes, they are called chaskas and they add slivers, bacon, or mushrooms.
In Tampico, they are known as trolelote or trole and are prepared with boiled corn. In Sonora, they are cooked with melcocha and in Hidalgo, they are prepared with pulque, salt, chile, epazote, and onion.
In Puebla, there is an important variant: chileatole. It is prepared with corn dough, water, ground serrano chile, corn kernels, epazote, and salt. The result is a thick green soup. Esquites are also prepared in other parts of the world, such as Iran. There they are known as "Mexican corn".
In addition to esquites, another Mexican delicacy is corn with mayonnaise, cheese, and chili. They can be eaten boiled or roasted. The customer chooses it. It is stuck on a wooden stick and spread with mayonnaise, cheese, and chili.
Even in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, the preparation of elotes has become more sophisticated. The business is called Elotes Asados San Rafael, and they make them with cheddar cheese, carne asada, chipotle, and bacon. It is a success in the north of the country.
Esquites and elotes with mayonnaise and cheese are one of those delicacies of Mexican cuisine that we have all tasted and always want more of.