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Behind door number 15 lies vibrant Mexico, where Mariachi melodies fill the air, and the pyramids of Teotihuacán awaken in the sunlight!
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An interesting Christmas tradition in Mexico is the celebration of "Posadas" which that takes place nine nights before Christmas Eve, from December 16th to December 24th. During this time, families and communities go from house to house to reenact the search for lodging by Mary and Joseph.
Participants divide into two groups: the "Peregrinos" (pilgrims) and the "Innkeeper." The Peregrinos represent Mary and Joseph and knock on the doors of the hosts, seeking shelter. The hosts initially turn them away, but after singing a song together, they eventually let the Peregrinos in, and there is a festive celebration with food, drinks, and prayers.
Posadas are a blend of religious and social traditions, symbolizing hospitality and the values of togetherness in Mexico.
The celebrations culminate on Christmas Eve with "Nochebuena"
(Good Night), featuring a midnight Mass and communal feasting and festivities.
Recipe Tortas de Bacalao
Tortas de Bacalao is a traditional Mexican dish made from dried codfish (Bacalao). Although Bacalao is less commonly consumed in Mexico compared to some other countries, Tortas de Bacalao are a cherished specialty often prepared for special occasions like Christmas and Semana Santa (Holy Week).
Tortas de Bacalao are typically served warm and can be accompanied by various side dishes depending on the region, such as rice, beans, or salads. They have a savory taste with a pleasant saltiness due to the Bacalao.
Here's a recipe for Mexican Tortas de Bacalao:
For the Tortas:
• 1/2 pound dried salted codfish (Bacalao)
• 2 cups mashed potatoes
• 2 eggs
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
• 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
• 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
• Vegetable oil for frying
Rehydrating the Bacalao:
1. Place the dried codfish in a bowl of cold water and refrigerate it for at least 24 hours, changing the water every 4-6 hours to remove excess salt.
2. After rehydrating, drain the codfish and boil it in water for about 10-15 minutes or until it's cooked and tender.
3. Drain the codfish, remove any bones, and shred it into small pieces.
Preparing the Tortas:
1. In a mixing bowl, combine the mashed potatoes, eggs, flour, minced garlic, chopped onion, red and green bell peppers, fresh cilantro, and ground black pepper. Mix well to form a dough-like consistency.
2. Fold in the shredded Bacalao and mix it into the dough.
3. Take a portion of the mixture and shape it into small cakes or patties.
4. Heat vegetable oil in a deep skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat.
5. Fry the tortas in the hot oil until they are golden brown and crispy on both sides, which should take about 3-5 minutes per side.
6. Remove the tortas from the oil and drain them on paper towels to remove any excess oil.
Tortas de Bacalao are best served hot. You can garnish them with a squeeze of fresh lime or a drizzle of salsa for added flavor. Enjoy this delicious Mexican dish, especially during the holiday season!
Please note that the rehydration and cooking of the Bacalao are essential steps to ensure that the dish is not overly salty.
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