Mixture of Mexican cuisine with Texas ingredients to created flavorful fusion dishes. Mexico has many different regional cuisines spread across the country, Tex-Mex is another variation that exists just north of the border in Texas area of United States.
It is difficult to find the difference between Tex-Mex and authentic Mexican food because the similarities outweigh the distinctions. The major difference between these two cuisines are the usage of ingredients including cuts of beef, types of cheese, increased use of wheat flour, and specific vegetable choices.
What to eat with Tex-Mex food? Similar to Mexican food, Tex-Mex offer their own flavors of tamales, tacos, and enchiladas loaded with nostalgia. Typical Tex-Mex food includes fajitas, nachos and tacos served with beans and rice as these ingredients are popular along the southern border.
A classic nachos is served with fried tortilla chips, sprinkled cheese, and topped with pickled jalapeños. Steak fajitas are paired with corn or flour tortillas, spoonful of guacamole and fresh salsa.
With slight variations from authentic Mexican food, Tex-Mex has bold and loud taste. This article goes into depth on the flavors of Tex-Mex, Tex-Mex dishes, and side dishes to serve with Tex-Mex cuisine.
What is the difference between Mexican and Tex-Mex food?
The most notable difference between Tex-Mex and Mexican food is the use of specific ingredients.
Tex-Mex dishes use yellow cheeses, while only white cheeses are used in Mexico. If there’s yellow cheddar on your plate, then it’s automatically Tex-Mex.
Furthermore, the spices used to flavor Tex-Mex and Mexican dishes are slightly different. Cumin is the most popular spice in Tex-Mex cuisines, while Mexican foods features more oregano, dried chilis, cilantro, cacao, and epazote.
In general, Tex-Mex dishes use cumin, fresh chili peppers, sour cream, and yellow cheese when comparing ingredients with Mexican dishes.
What flavor goes well with Tex-Mex food?
Similar to Mexican, Tex-Mex cuisine uses variety of spices including garlic, oregano, cayenne, cilantro, cinnamon, coriander, and allspice.
These spices coordinate dishes with bold and strong flavors, let’s observe how each spice offer their unique taste.
- Garlic: Tex-Mex foods heavily rely on garlic for flavor in dishes, whether dried or fresh.
- Oregano: Holds up well in spicy dishes, specifically tacos, burritos, or salsa.
- Cayenne: Bright red and spicy ground cayenne pepper that pops in Tex-Mex cuisine.
- Cilantro: Fresh cilantro is widely used in Tex-Mex cooking, added at the end of cooking or used in uncooked dishes.
- Cinnamon: This spice is used in both savory and sweet dishes.
- Coriander: Their floral aroma and lemony flavor is used in everything from chicken to beans, and pairs excellently with cumin.
- Allspice: This is an aromatic and rich berry that Tex-Mex cooks grind and toast to give flavor to fish, meat, and vegetable dishes.
With these spices, you can create classic flavors that go well with Tex-Mex food, listed below:
- skirt steak + onions + bell peppers + tortillas + sour cream + guacamole + salsa
- chicken + rice + lettuce + tomatoes + cheese + salsa + pico de gallo
- masa + pork + potatoes + corn + cheese
- avocados + onion + tomatoes + cilantro + jalapeno pepper + lime juice + garlic + salt
- tortilla + meats + spices + cheese
What is a popular Tex-Mex dish?
Tex-Mex dishes are unique homestyle food that brings friends and family together. The most well known comfort dishes are tamales, tacos, and fajitas.
In addition, here are three very popular Tex-Mex dishes to try:
- Enchiladas: Instead of chicken, pork, and beef enchilada, cheese enchiladas are a Tex-Mex favorite.
- Chili con carne: Original Tex-Mex dish consisting of ground beef in chili powder and beef stock that is topped with sour cream and jalapeño slices. Every bowl is filled with hearty protein consisting of both meat and beans.
- Tortilla soup: Must-have soup that typically uses chicken breast with crushed tomatoes and various spices to deepen the broth. Served with crushed tortilla chips to add texture and shredded cheese on top to neutralize the spice with creaminess.
Best Tex-Mex dishes
Nachos, chili, and fajitas are the cornerstones of Tex-Mex cuisine. In most Tex-Mex dishes, there is heavy use of cumin, cheese, beef, and chili powder, but this is only the beginning of the ever-evolving fusion cuisine.
The best Tex-Mex dishes include:
- puffy tacos
- beef barbacoa
- carne guisada
Eat with Tex-Mex Cuisine: Conclusion
The most ubiquitous ingredient on a Tex-Mex menu is melty, yellow cheese instead of white cheeses found in Mexican cuisine. Yellow cheese is the ingredient that fuses cuisine to create a completely brand-new regional food.
Other ingredients included in Tex-Mex are chili peppers, cumin, and beef, and lard is also a key ingredient in the cuisine.
General rule of thumb for differences between Tex-Mex and Mexican food is usage of Texas ingredients to create Mexican style flavors. As a result, the taste maybe slightly different from the original depending on the dish and the ingredients substitutions available int he region.
Tex-Mex is a delicious, flavorful, and unique cuisine. Some of the popular dishes in the region are nachos, chili con carne, fajitas, tortilla soup, and enchiladas.
The classic nachos uses triangular shape fried tortillas with melted cheese and served with pickled jalapeño. Fajita and chili con carne are generally made with beef, while tortilla soup primarily uses chicken breast.
Furthermore, Tex-Mex enchiladas are often cheese based instead of meat-based.
In simple terms, Tex-Mex can be characterized by using a majority of shredded cheese, large portions of meat, specifically pork, beef, and chicken, beans, and flour tortillas. Use these flavor combinations and dishes to prepare your own Tex-Mex dishes for a bold culinary experience.