Today is my Momma’s 69th birthday so I decided to whip her up some rajas con crema. I’m in Mexico City and she’s in Chicago, so she won’t actually get to eat them but it’s the thought that counts right? In all seriousness, my mother looooooves this dish so it always reminds me of her. The times I’ve made it back home in Chicago she’s cleaned the dish. So here’s to my Mom, the woman who instilled in me my passion for food and cooking. I love you lots and am wishing you a very happy birthday.
Atole is a pre-Hispanic, usually sweet, corn-based drink that continues to be sold on street corners and prepared in homes all over México. Chileatole is a savory version of this ancient beverage that, as its name lets on, is prepared with chiles.
As with many dishes in Mexico, I’m sure that there are thousands of versions of chileatole, especially because the recipe is prepared throughout the states of Michoacan, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Veracruz and Mexico City. It’s frequently served as a soup-like beverage in ceramic mugs or, when sold on the streets, in styrofoam cups. Some versions of the recipe use epazote and fresh chilies such as serranos and/or poblanos while others opt to use dry chilies such as the slightly sweet ancho pepper. Additionally, there are other variations that are prepared with shredded chicken and grated piloncillo (cones of dark unrefined sugar) giving it a sweet and spicy finish.
This recipe is my interpretation of a purslane salad that I tried once at a restaurant in the city of Puebla called El Mural Poblano. I was very surprised to see this on the menu, because while purslane is a very common leafy green in Mexico, it is almost never eaten raw or in salads for that matter. The salad used just the leaves of the purslane and had crumbled queso cotija, pecans, tomatoes, onions and a light avocado dressing. After trying it I decided that I would have to replicate the salad once I arrived back to Mexico City.
Given the surprisingly wide range of Mexican egg dishes, I felt that it was high time that I share a recipe with this classic ingredient. I decided on huevos ahogados con nopales en salsa verde (literally translated as drowned eggs with cactus in a green sauce) because it’s a dish that I cook a lot and it’s easy, cheap and very tasty.
Huevos ahogados are generally served for lunch in fondas (diners), restaurants and in homes throughout Mexico and are frequently eaten during Lent. I think this recipe is great at any time of the day and regularly prepare variations of this dish for breakfast, lunch and dinner with leftover salsas. This version, however, calls specifically for green salsa, which appears to be the more common way of eating huevos ahogados. The recipe also includes cooked cactus, an ingredient characteristic of central Mexican that is both healthy and rich in fiber.