Anyone who knows us knows that we love a little bit of fat, generally. All things in moderation, except tequila, right?
But there are times in life when circumstances dictate that we adhere to a stricter set of culinary guidelines. One example is while recovering from a stroke.
We want those times to be a flavoursome as possible. Which is why Lucas has been volunteering with a Wellington hospital program, helping people recovering from strokes find ways to cook tasty, flavourful and easy meals which also meet the criteria of their nutritional recovery plans.
What does that mean exactly? It means very low fat, very low sodium and no added sugar. It means no meat, no dairy, no nuts, and no added salt or sugar.
All of which means this is a very good time to learn the basics of Mexican cooking. Why? Because the foundations of Mexican cuisine are built on four culinary concepts that bring maximum flavour, with minimum additives.
So here are El Jefe's top tips on high flavour, low-sodium, low-fat, no-sugar cooking.
- Chargrilled onions, garlic and tomatoes are the foundation of almost all Mexican cooked sauces for a very good reason: this combo, without any added fat, salt or sugar, is rich with flavour - smoky, tangy and sweet.
- Chiles make everything tastier. Even if you don't have a palate for the hot stuff, try mild but flavoursome dried chiles like guajillo or negro. If you're new to cooking with dried chiles don't be scared. Remove stems and seeds, and rehydrate your chiles in hot water for around 20 minutes. Save the liquid for adding flavour and thinning sauces (more details on cooking with chiles in our cookbook)
- Fresh is best. Steamed or grilled fresh organic veggies have more flavour than those of us who grew up on over-boiled brussels sprouts could have ever imagined. Whether it's corn grilled on the BBQ (Lucas's tip is to soak the whole, unshucked cob in water before grilling to keep it moist and prevent corn husk fires), or steamed aubergine cubes dressed with + lemon juice, you can't go wrong.
- Vegan is tastier and easier than you think. We've been cooking vegetarian food all our lives, but we're relatively new to vegan cooking. And we've been pleasantly surprised at how easy it is. Case in point - boiled cauliflower + nutritional yeast makes a tasty vegan cheesy sauce, perfect for enchiladas.
There you have it. If you want to reduce - or eliminate - fat, salt and sugar from your diet, then Mexican cuisine may be the tastiest way to do it.