Traditional Mexican foods are typically prepared by those who have a well stocked kitchen including all of the best tools needed to make the tasty meals the country is so well known for. In addition, although some of these tools are no longer commonly found in kitchens having been replaced by the more modern conveniences of today, they are still used by the many who want to lend an air of authenticity to the cooking process.
Traditionally, comals, or flat skillets, were made from clay but as modern stoves grew hotter, the clay became impractical. The comals of today are made of cast iron or steel and should be seasoned before using by baking in the oven after coating with bacon grease or lard. Some brands come already seasoned for the cook’s convenience.
Do not wash your comal with soap and water after using it to cook tortillas or toast peppers but instead, wipe with a clean cloth and carefully dry over a low flame.
The often used Mexican chocolate tool somewhat resembles a baby’s rattle and this wooden tool with its long handle is used like a whisk for whipping chocolates. A Tortilla press is another must have tool for Mexican cooking and it is used to press down or flatten balls of dough for making none other than corn or flour tortillas.
Tortilla presses are usually made of metal and can be found in different sizes.
Now that you have an idea as to some of the tools, you can use to make traditional Mexican foods why not try your hand at making a spicy, smoky beef stew from the Michoacan region of Mexico?
Smoky Michoacan Beef Stew Recipe
What You Need
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 2 to 3 pounds beef stew meat, cubed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large white or yellow onions, chopped
- 4 large tomatoes (about 1 pound), diced
- 2 small to medium chipotle chilies, seeded and chopped
- 6 cups beef stock
- 1 can green beans
How to Make It
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and seasonings and blend well. Add the cubes of stewing meat to the flour, toss, and coat well. Set the pieces of coated beef aside on a plate.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat and add the coated pieces of beef. Brown each piece completely and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium low and add the minced garlic and chopped onions. Cook until the garlic is soft and the onions have turned translucent in color.
Add the diced tomatoes, the chopped chilies, and the beef stock then cover and simmer over low heat for 1 to 1/2 hours or until the beef is cooked through and tender.
Add the green beans to the pot and cook for another 15 minutes.
Serve your hot Michoacan beef stew along with bowls of beans or rice.
Serves 4 to 6.