Mexican cuisine is famous worldwide for its unique flavors and exotic ingredients. From tacos and tamales to chilies and mole, Mexican food has a rich and varied culinary history. One aspect of Mexican cuisine that may surprise some people is the use of worms and crustaceans in certain dishes. Two such delicacies from the State of Mexico are elotero and acocil.
Elotero: A Worm with a Crunch
Elotero, also known as cinoncuili or cuili, is a type of worm found on corn cobs. The corncob is identifiable by the nibbled hairs left behind by the worm. To prepare elotero, the worms are toasted on a griddle or fried and then served as tacos. The sauce that accompanies elotero is what sets it apart, and it is enjoyed by many. Elotero has a flavor similar to cooked corn on the cob or esquite.
Acocil: A Miniature Shrimp
Acocil, also known as acuitzilli, is a type of crustacean found in the lake areas of central Mexico. They are miniature shrimp, with the most consumed species being cambarellus montezunamae Sauss. It is associated with the Lerma River, and it is said that the ancient Mexicans ate them during ceremonies on a certain date of the year, in a stew called chalmulmulli. Nowadays, acocil is boiled with salt and eaten whole, without removing their heads, shells, or extremities.
Stuffed Acocil: A Unique Experience
An interesting way to enjoy acocil is by stuffing them. This may seem impossible, but it's not. Here's how it's done: acocils are placed in a bucket of clean water with beaten eggs emptied into the water. The eggs are left overnight, and the next day, the little animals wake up with their bellies out, stuffed with eggs. When they are toasted, they are already plump and delicious.
Mexican cuisine is a unique and diverse blend of flavors and ingredients. Elotero and acocil are just two examples of the many exotic delicacies found in Mexico. Though they may seem unusual to some, these dishes have a rich history and are enjoyed by many. So, the next time you're in the State of Mexico, give elotero and acocil a try – you might be pleasantly surprised.
In-Text Citation: Rosita Sánchez, Rosita and Estado de México. Conversación En La Cocina, Gastronomía Mexiquense. 1st ed., Mexico, Estado de México, 2006.