Exploring the Delicious Mexican Cuisine of Central Arizona's Navajo Nation

Discover delicious Navajo tacos & regional Mexican cuisine from Central Arizona's Navajo Nation! Learn about traditional ingredients & recipes.

Exploring the Delicious Mexican Cuisine of Central Arizona's Navajo Nation

Fried bread is a popular side dish or used to make tacos in the Navajo Nation region of Central Arizona. These tacos, known as Navajo tacos, are made by stacking shredded lettuce, ground beef, pinto beans, and cheese on a circle of fried bread. Growing up in El Paso, Texas near the Mexican border, I had the opportunity to try many Mexican-inspired dishes. From bottles of thick, sweet Coca-Cola to markets full of peppers and spicy pork, I loved everything.

When I moved around the country, I noticed that not all Mexican-inspired dishes were consistent. For example, in the south I was offered flat tortillas fried with cinnamon and sugar instead of pillows puffed up with honey and powdered sugar. Corn or corn pudding is easy to find in the Midwest but is relegated to a small spot in Southern restaurants. In the Midwest, tacos were usually stuffed with beef or chicken because there was no access to seafood.

Fish tacos from Southern California and the Bay Area include battered and fried or flaked whitefish such as tilapia or cod. The version of soup I'm used to includes salty or sweet options and is found mainly in southwestern New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, the Texas Panhandle and Arkansas. Most of the country serves better-known soupapillas that are sweet, topped with powdered sugar and served with chocolate or strawberry syrup. The Army did not use home demonstration agents to train Navajo women in baking techniques at Fort Sumner so they learned to use white wheat flour to make “fried bread” according to a modified Mexican model. Combinations of ingredients native to Central America in the style of baked casserole were documented in the 16th century. For example, in central Mexico, the simplest ones are filled with braided Oaxaca cheese, a few fresh epazote leaves and strips of peeled poblano chili.

Its goals include creating greater pride in Mexican Americans for their own cuisine and improving the reputation of Mexican food and culture everywhere. This explains why many of the ingredients in traditional Mexican tortilla soup are from the Old World. The firm distributes frozen Mexican products to retail and institutional customers in Northern California. Pumpkin, beans and corn -the three brothers of American Indian cuisine- are just some of the ingredients used in the tasty dishes served in the many tribal lands of Arizona, along with lamb, cholla buds and fried bread.To make a paste for traditional Mexican dishes, grind chiles, garlic and oregano until they reach a consistent texture (this can be done using a mortar or molcajete, a food grinder or a blender). Corn is an essential ingredient in Mexican cuisine and its derivatives; from corn tortillas to corn tamales.

Tamales have their origin in Mexico; Aztecs enjoyed them (the word comes from Nahuatl word tamalli) in several versions from appetizer to sweet dessert.

Chili con carne

is considered by some to be the state dish of Texas but was unknown in Mexico and was derived from the extensive use of beef in Texan cuisine. While you may know Mexican food in your own region, learn more about regional Mexican cuisine across the United States and find new favorite recipes to inspire your own Mexican meals. Zelayeta was born in Mexico of Spanish descent and all her cookbooks are about Mexican food she is so familiar with. The most likely explanation for the origin of chili con carne in Texas stems from the heritage of Mexican food combined with rigors of life on Texas border.

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