Milpa Alta is a rural space of Mexico Metropolis full of cactus fields and many selfmade mole! Right here I’m sharing my expertise as a dietitian studying learn how to harvest and cook dinner nopales, making contemporary corn tortillas and tasting many various kinds of mole.
Milpa Alta is the southernmost borough of Mexico Metropolis. It’s rural and strikes at a a lot slower tempo. This particular place is fertile floor for studying in regards to the three king crops of the nation and having fun with amazingly contemporary conventional meals. I took the Ruta de La Milpa expertise created and led by chef Jorge Córcega.
Whereas visiting, we had contemporary nopales tacos, cafe de olla, sopes with contemporary salsa, black bean tamales and mole and sipped refreshing bottomless agua de hibiscus (or Jamaica) all through the afternoon. If you’re not accustomed to any of these, I’ll clarify.
La ruta de la Milpa was enjoyable and academic. And the meals was easy and scrumptious. As a dietitian I used to be particularly curious in regards to the historical past and tradition – and the day answered lots of my questions and ignited new ones within the course of.
How far is Milpa Alta from the town heart?
We took a 60+ minute bus journey from the Roma Norte/Juarez space to achieve Milpa Alta on a Wednesday morning. The infamous Mexico Metropolis visitors will dictate how lengthy it would take you.
However you will want to take a car. It’s a rural space that’s not simply accessed by way of public transportation. Plus, you’ll desire a automotive to really expertise the great thing about the realm, store the native shops and dine within the household run eating places at your individual tempo.
So right here’s a snippet of our day en Milpa Alta:
We began the day in a discipline of nopal with a heat mug of cafe de olla.
What’s cafe de olla?
Cafe de Olla interprets to “espresso from a pot” in Spanish.
This conventional Mexican espresso is made in an earthen clay pot (pictured above). The espresso is barely sweetened with piloncillo (akin to a wealthy darkish brown sugar or molasses) and spiced with cinnamon. From what I perceive the pot is a necessary “ingredient” because it offers depth of taste. You may additionally discover recipes at this time that embrace different spices together with clove, star anise or orange peel.
The cup of cafe de olla I sipped on the tour was barely candy, wealthy and balanced. Positively get a cup while you go on the tour – it’s the right begin to the day particularly when it’s a bit chilly within the nopal discipline.
Harvesting, cleansing, cooking nopales
Nopales might be eaten contemporary (uncooked) or cooked. Use them in contemporary salads, griddled for tacos or add to soup or stew and extra.
Nopales are perishable. And as soon as contemporary nopales are are picked and the thorns eliminated, they need to be eaten inside about 48 hours. Earlier than prepping them, you possibly can retailer them within the fridge for longer but it surely’s a good suggestion to attend till you’re able to cook dinner or eat them to prep (take away the spiny needles).
Chef Cócega confirmed us learn how to take away the thorns with a pointy knife (above). He provided however I left the prep to the chef. Largely as a result of I already had a thorn in my thumb from the harvest and didn’t need extra.
When getting ready them at house, it’s a good suggestion to make use of a steady chopping board and a thick, clear kitchen towel to carry the small finish of the cactus leaf when you use a pointy knife to scrape right down to take away the prickly thorns.
As soon as that half is completed, you’re able to get pleasure from them in your favourite dishes.
These nopales had been cooked merely over the fireplace on the comal (proven above) with oil. As soon as barely charred on each side, we sliced the nopales into extensive strips and so they had been able to eat.
The nopales had been the star ingredient in our breakfast tacos. The tacos had been made with the nopal strips, contemporary cheese, and a spicy (to me) tomato salsa on contemporary corn tortillas.
Making contemporary corn tortillas
We additionally discovered learn how to make contemporary corn tortillas, tamales and sopes from the heirloom corn grown, dried, nixtamilized and floor on the farm.
It’s a course of. However these had been the best-tasting tortillas I’ve had in life. The colours had been all pure from the completely different heirloom corn she crops and harvests on the farm.
We additionally made corn and black bean tamales and so they had been one of the best ones I’ve ever had. The tamales had been steamed in corn husks. Then we wrapped them placing a finger sized gap within the heart which was later used for spooning in mole. It was a heat, barely candy and savory meal that I’d return to the farm to expertise.
Along with these experiences, we additionally visited an area mole maker. Milpa Alta is well-known for it’s considerable selfmade moles. The household enterprise we visited is one in all a number of within the city creating moles that many households and eating places use all through the town and nation. I introduced some again that I can’t wait to get pleasure from at house.
The day closed with a beautiful lunch outdoors. We had extra contemporary nopal sope starter, hen mole with Mexican rice, and a semi-sweet corn pudding made with pinole (roasted corn powder) and topped with toasted pumpkin seeds. It was a nice finish to the day all set to the tunes of Sade.
Extra in regards to the tour
I’ve been on plenty of farm and meals excursions. Ruta de la Milpa one was a fantastic mix of fingers on experiences, and historical past plus easy, scrumptious meals.
That is an all-day tour I’d say. You’ll be again to the town heart by early meal time (US) however you received’t have an enormous urge for food – imagine me.
The tour hosts are extremely educated and type. I paid for this expertise myself. They don’t know I’m penning this.
In case you like meals, tradition and historical past, you’ll get pleasure from this expertise. Go. Be ready to get your fingers a little bit messy with masa. Take in the expertise.