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Thursday, 23 September 2010

Cholula Feria

I understand all Mexican villages hold annual ferias (shows/fiestas) and Cholula is no exception. Especially this year as it was the 60th anniversary of their annual feria. We attended its feria this year on the Sunday which was probably a good and a bad thing. Good because there was so much to see and so much food to enjoy, but not so good because it felt like half of Puebla decided to attend the feria on that same day.

Ferias, like shows in Australia, can sometimes seem the same with lots of the same handicrafts, food and rides being featured. However, Cholula's was a gem because it has so many interesting new things to see, buy and taste. Below are a few pics of what was available.

Local basketware
More baskets and cane mats
Gorgeous pots - some of my favourites. So cheap, but so expensive to transport home. Shame shame!
Frothed chocolate which you drink like a slurpy - yum!
Hand embroidered shirt
Pretty ponchos
Cactus and carne (meat)
Chalupas - small tortillas fried in pig fat, topped in salsa - delicious and so bad for you!!

Granadas - used in Chiles en Nogada

Mexico's 100th Anniversary of the Revolution and 200th Anniversary of Independence

The 15th of September in Mexico is a very important day each year in Mexico, however this year it was extra special due to it being the 100th anniversary of their revolution and the 200th anniversary of their independence. While the 15th of September was the big day and we celebrated with a fiesta at home with all the family, the entire month of September is a festival month here.

The streets are festooned with red, white and blue streamers, lights and all kinds of decorations and there are flags everywhere. Buildings and shops have flags flying high, while many homes and cars are also proudly displaying the flag.

Our fiesta was typical in that preparations began several days before and was a cooperative effort. We began by ordering the pig head for the pozole from the market and decorating the house for the fiesta. On the day of the 15th my fiance's Mum,  his Aunt and I began the pozole preparations in the morning by chopping up lots of ingredients and putting a huge pot of pozole (made of very large special corn kernels) on the stove for boil and simmer throughout the day. The pig head, pork bones and other pork meat was added midway through the day and other female relatives arrived later in the day to monitor the progress of the pozole and add other ingredients to ensure the taste was just right.

Guests began arriving from about 5pm, before party preparations were complete, however, that is not a problem here as people know if they arrive early they will probably be given a job, rather than any food or drink. More guests arrived before dinner, bringing with them more components of the meal which they had offered to supply. We served the first round of dinner, consisting of pozole and tostadas, at approximately 8pm and again and again as guests continued to arrive until about 10pm. After dinner, the family room was cleared of tables and chairs and we danced until the party ended.

As guests left they were given pozole to take home and invited to return the next day for more pozole. So the following day after rising late and cleaning up a little, most of our guests returned and we had more pozole and tostadas for lunch and partied on all afternoon and into the early evening. Our guests were packed off with more pozole and we have some in the freezer for another day. All in all an enjoyable fiesta which took place over days and fed many of us many times over.

Chiles en Nogada

Chile en Nogada - ready to enjoy!!
Chiles en Nogada is another famous Poblano (something from Puebla) dish, which like Mole Poblana was also invented by Nuns. It uses the fruit from granadas, in addition to lots of other fruit, so traditionally it is enjoyed in August and September when those fruits are at their best ... and cheapest. it is not difficult to make and doesn't contain really exotic ingredients, but because it is so labour intensive, it is still relatively expensive and considered quite a treat. It is also delicious.

Chiles stuffed with filling
The chiles are Chile Poblana and I don't know if they are available outside Mexico. If not, perhaps you could substitute a green capsicum, although you wouldn't get the hint of spice that Chiles Poblana provide. While the Nogada is a nutty, milk based sauce which would be delicious on the filling alone if you can't find suitable Chiles.

 This year my fiance's sister decided to host her birthday party and to make her famous version of Chiles en Nogada. I helped her out, along with another sister, her Mum and a sister-in-law to prepare the dish. We started on Friday night and enjoyed them on Sunday at her birthday party. Below is the recipe for your enjoyment. We made 70 chiles to cater for a large group, so scale back this recipe as you need.

  •         2 heads garlic
  •         3-4 onions
  •         4kg tomatoes
  •         2 kg peaches
  •                 2 kg panochera (small red apples with smooth, firm, white flesh)
  •                 2 kg pears (milk pears)
  •         ¼ kg almonds
  •         200g sultanas
  •         200g bisnaga (looks like crystal sugar)
  •         2-3kg pork (boiled and shredded)

  •       ¼ kg Almendras (Almonds)
  •      1kg Nuez (Walnuts)
  •       2-3 litres Milk
  •       2-3 tblspns Sugar per blender (to taste)
  •        2-3 tblspns Vino Jeres (cooking sherry?) per blender to taste

·         Remaining Ingredients
Granada fruit
  •       70  Poblano (scale back recipes for the number of chiles you have)
  •       1 litre Olive Oil
  •       3-4 Granadas – use fruit as topping with chopped perejil (Italian parsley)
  •       2-3 dozen Eggs & plain flour (for chile batter)

      Filling Preparation
 a.     1. Heat approx ½ litre olive oil in large pot
      2. Add finely diced garlic and stir
      3. Add finely diced onion & cook on low heat until onions transparent
      4. Add diced tomato (seeds removed) and simmer for approx 1hr
      5. Add diced peaches and simmer until nearly soft
      6. Add diced apples & pears and simmer until soft
      7. Add sultanas, almonds and crystal sugar and simmer
      8. Let cool overnight and place in refrigerator for 1-2 days to ferment

3.      Nogada Preparation
      1. Puree all ingredients in blender lots adding sugar according to taste (this can be made last).
      2. Add sufficient milk to create a creamy (but not too runny) texture so the Nogada oozes, rather than   
          runs all over the plate.

Frying & draining chiles
      Chile Preparation
      1. Peel chiles (scorching on gas flame, sweat in plastic to peel).
      2. Slit an opening in one side to remove seeds and for an opening to insert filling
      3. Fill (not too full) with filling and close with a couple of toothpicks
      4. Whip eggs whites until fluffy, then add egg yolks and whip
      5. Coat Chiles in flour, then egg white mixture and fry in approx 2cm heated oil
Chiles ready to be garnished and served
      6. Cool and allow oil to drain from chiles in preparation for them being served
      1. Place a chile on a plate and spoon Nogada mixture over the chile
      2. Garnish with seeds of granada and shopped perejil and serve