Squash, pipe, izote, pita, nopal, or tejón flowers are some of the flowers that define a way of eating and taking advantage of the elements offered by the earth and that result in incredible recipes in Oaxacan cuisine. Natural flowers are part of the natural elements that fuse with corn, chiles, meats and enrich the flavor of soups, salads, tamales, drinks, and desserts. Its delicate aroma and texture add color and beauty to many recipes.
Esperanza Hernández, Tía Lancha, prepares a traditional pumpkin soup, typical of the Valles Centrales region. The preparation includes corn, pumpkins, and an herb from the countryside, known as chepil. "It is a vegetable soup, typical of the rainy season. The secret - she confided - is to achieve a thick consistency of the broth, for this while it boils we add ground corn kernels, and before serving we add the squash blossoms".
In her dining room "Sin maíz no hay país", located in San Pedro Guegorexe, she makes empanadas with quesillo and squash blossom, mole coloradito, stew, and segueza (corn mole), which includes guajillo chiles and tabiche, the latter an endemic ingredient that adds a delicious flavor to the food. "These are dishes from the countryside, simple, homemade, and traditional dishes that represent our identity," she said.
Esperanza is originally from Coatecas Altas, Ejutla de Cresp, the place where she learned about her love for gastronomy. "I learned to cook watching how my mother and grandmother prepared their stews; at the age of 15 I was already cooking segueza with goat meat; a traditional dish for parties such as mayordomías or weddings".
In turn, in the municipality of Teotitlán del Valle, Carina Santiago, a traditional Zapotec cook, is known for preparing sopa de quelites y flor de calabaza, yellow corn quesadillas stuffed with bean flowers, better known as frijolón. The tasting of the dish is accompanied by an ancestral drink prepared with corn and "rosita de cacao" (a tiny flower). The traditional drink is known as tejate. Carina is the owner of the restaurant "Tierra Antigua", her stews stand out for the preparation of dishes derived from corn, chiles, tomatoes, pumpkins, herbs, and cocoa.
Alba Barrios suggests an empanada de flor de guachupil and masita de pipián or sopa de flor de tejón con guías y ejote cuarenteño. Originally from San Mateo Yucutindoo, in the Sierra Sur, Alba is the owner of the dining room "Los Cactus" where she prepares dishes with pipe flowers stewed with chile costeño and oreado cheese, refried beans with pipe flower and tasajo oreado or izote flower with egg and machucada. "I am happy to know and spread the richness of Oaxaca; through the recipes, we can enjoy the ingredients, flavors, and traditions of each region," she said.
Also for Noemí López, a traditional cook from Soledad, in the jurisdiction of Villa de Etla, west of the capital, "it is fundamental to use local products and respect the techniques of the stews learned from their ancestors". In her restaurant "Maíz" she makes tamales de flor de calabaza, a recipe that includes parsley, creole squash, serrano and jalapeño peppers, bread, pork, and ground corn.
Today, Oaxaca's gastronomy is presented as one of Mexico's best culinary proposals to the world. Its products and dishes are featured in restaurants for their consistency and flavor. From a couple of years to date, this cuisine has experienced important interpretations inside and outside the country, attached to local ingredients and ancestral techniques.
Source: Oro Radio