10 recipes for Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo, May 5, is a celebration of freedom with roots in the Mexican-American community and widely adopted by those who welcome the opportunity to enjoy delicious Mexican cuisine. With its staples of corn, beans, and chili pepper it has infinite variations and adaptations. Mexican culinary history is also strongly tied to Mexican culture, social structure, and popular traditions, and for these reasons, UNESCO has added it to its list of the world’s "intangible cultural heritages."

Here are 10 recipes from Stir It Up! bloggers inspired by Mexican flavors to help bring a little fiesta to your table.

Sara Miller Llana/The Christian Science Monitor
Residents from the Mexico City neighborhood of Peñón de los Baños reenact the 1862 Battle of Puebla – what Cinco de Mayo actually commemorates. While most Mexicans pay little attention to the holiday, every year here residents – from infants to the elderly – dress in elaborate, hand-stitched costumes of French and Mexican generals, and fighter's from Mexico's fabled Zacapoaxtla battalion.

1. Easy homemade tortilla chips

The Rowdy Chowgirl
Crispy, crunchy, salty, and fresh, make exactly the number of tortilla chips you need for a party, or a one-person snack.

By Christina Masters, The Rowdy Chowgirl

Even if you don’t own a deep-fryer, this is an incredibly easy process to replicate at home. It only takes about 10 minutes, and the chips are so much better than anything you can buy in a bag.

Here’s how: A wok is ideal for this, but you could also use a largish heavy-bottomed saucepan in a pinch. Either way, just keep a close eye on your oil during the process and don’t walk away.

Pour about two inches of vegetable oil into the wok, and turn heat to high (or more like medium high on a gas range). Place a stack of six or so corn tortillas on your cutting board, and cut them in half, then in fourths, then eighths. You should now have a pile of tortilla triangles. Continue to cut as many tortillas as you want.

Check your oil by tossing a drop of water in. When it sizzles hard, try a tortilla triangle. It should fry madly, but if the oil is starting to smoke, it’s too hot – turn it down a little. Gently toss in a handful of tortilla triangles. The sizzling and boiling should really escalate. Agitate them around a bit with a slotted spoon or a spider, if you have one.

Chips only take a few minutes to cook. Fish one out when they look crispy but not yet brown and try it. If it’s crunchy they’re done. If it’s leathery, give them another 30 seconds. If they start turning brown, you’ve gone a little too far but they are probably still pretty edible.

Scoop cooked chips from the oil – this is where the spider is especially handy. Put chips in a bowl, salt lightly, and toss another handful of triangles into the oil. Continue this process until you have enough chips – or a little more than enough. Because you’ll be amazed at how delicious they taste. 

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