If you are like most people, you might make the mistake of underestimating the difficulty of making Mexican food in the comfort of your own home. After all, since that small restaurant down the street busts out juicy enchiladas filled with perfectly melted cheese in a few minutes, how hard could it possibly be? Unfortunately, unless you know the tricks of the trade, your carefully prepared meal might fall flat. Here are two cooking mistakes that can destroy your homemade Mexican meal, and what you can do to combat culinary failure:
1: Too Many Toppings
One of the best things about cooking at home is that it gives you the chance to customize your meal. Instead of having to make do with that tablespoon of sour cream your favorite restaurant plops on your plate, you might be able to smother those enchiladas with half a cup of the good stuff. Unfortunately, this newfound freedom can create more cooking problems than it solves. Here are a few things that might happen if you pile too many toppings on your Mexican creation:
- Cheese: While the right cheese might lend a creaminess to your dish, too much could make that burrito or quesadilla a greasy mess. As you apply cheese, start with a little and add more if you decide you need to later. Keep an eye on the grease content of your dish. If that melted cheese starts to create pools of melted fat, don't make the mistake of adding more.
- Meat: After taking the time to season meat and grill it to perfection, you might be tempted to load your dish full of shredded protein. Unfortunately, adding extra meat can make your dish taste heavy, and it can overtake the other flavors you worked so hard to prepare. As you cook, focus on striking a balance between meats, tortillas, sauces, and toppings.
- Salsa: A little extra salsa might seem like a good idea, but it might also make your tortillas soggy. As you apply salsa and pico de gallo, remember that each ladle might contain a little extra water.
- Cilantro: Peppery cilantro might give those tacos a tasty edge, but adding too much could make your meal taste like an herb garden. Use powerful ingredients like herbs and peppers judiciously.
To stay on the safe side, focus on creating the main components of your dish and then letting your friends and family members choose their own toppings. That way, you won't take any heat for adding too many ingredients and your guests can customize their own meals.
2: Choosing Convenience Over Quality
As you search your grocery store for ripe tomatillos and uncooked flour tortillas, it might be hard to ignore all of those cans and packages of prepared ingredients. After all, how much harm could it do to try that refrigerated salsa or those packaged taco shells? Unfortunately, choosing convenience over quality has a price. Here are a few issues you might come across if you decide to buy packaged ingredients instead of making them yourself:
- Guacamole: That refrigerated guacamole might look tasty, but will it taste the same as the homemade stuff? Unfortunately, because guacamole can oxidize and turn brown, some manufacturers use preservatives and fillers to keep it green.
- Tortilla Shells: Those packaged tortilla shells might have tasted perfect the day they were put on the shelf, but over time, they may have staled. The staling process, which occurs when starch molecules crystallize, could make your meal taste a little off.
- Sauces: If you don't want your dinner to leave a bad taste in your guest's mouths, stay away from canned sauces. Veggies can absorb a metallic taste after awhile, which can infuse through your entire dish.
Although it might seem like a lot of extra work, taking the time to prepare ingredients from scratch might help you to preserve the integrity of your dinner. You can get more inspiration for your home cooked Mexican meals by visiting one of the Mexican restaurants near Tucson Arizona.