Lifestyle+Travel Magazine / Nov-Dec 2011
Text by Lara Dunston and Terence Carter; Photos by Terence Carter
“The focus of my school is !traditional! Mexican food; not the cuisine of chefs!”
Marilau Ricaud, owner of the !Marilau Traditional Mexican Cooking School! in the charming town of San Miguel de Allende, north of Mexico City, announces as she hands out aprons.
Ricaud offers traditional Mexican cooking classes at several different levels, and some of the world’s best chefs have flown to Mexico to do her advanced course where they learn 90+ dishes!
When we do the course, we learn to cook just three dishes, from recipes that Marilau learned from her mother and grandmothers:
!Sopa de tortilla! (tortilla soup), the pre-Hispanic dish of! pollo en pipian rojo (chicken in a spicy pumpkin seed sauce) and !sarapitos! (plantains in tortillas with mole sauce).
It’s a hands-on course in which we get to do everything from deep frying tortilla pieces to learning how to toast ancho chillies on a pan.
As we turn them continually, Ricaud warns “You can tell when they’re ready by the smell — the smell is different when it’s untoasted and toasted. Mexicans always use their nose when they cook!”
The only thing we don’t make is the mole sauce, which Ricaud says is made from a secret family recipe with 30 different ingredients. A cooking tip from Ricaud:!”Cut dry chillies and open them up, and pull the vein and seeds out, but never rinse them as water reduces the flavour.”