There is nowhere like the city or its people, and certainly nowhere on our planet has such street food! In a country renowned for street eats, Mexico City is bursting with variety– the sights, sounds and enticing smells everywhere you go…
So when I get homesick for Mexico City, it usually involves food. In this case, Tacos Sudados de Canasta — Steamed Basket Tacos — something only Mexico could dream up. These soft, oily, flavorful, comforting morsels are filled with good things which have been stewed for hours for maximum flavor, then wrapped up lovingly in a carefully prescribed way and held, usually in a wicker or carrizo basket, for at least two hours before serving. Fillings may include mashed potato with cheese and sausage, chicken tinga, chicken and mole, cochinita pibil, refried beans and chicharron prensado. Here’s how it works:
You need a basket or other container, cloths to line and cover it, plastic to retain steam and brown paper to absorb grease.
Line the basket first with cloth, then plastic, then brown paper and more plastic, then more paper. Strew a good layer of sliced onions which have been sauteed in a bit of oil with a pinch of oregano until soft and fragrant.
Fill small, fresh, hot tortillas (preferably the little 4″ ones made for tacos, so you can eat more of each filling) with a variety of fillings. If you can get different colored tortillas — they are made red with chile, green with chile or nopales, and the natural blue of corn or with added cuitlacoche — put a different filling in each color. Otherwise, devise a stacking system so you can tell which row has a different filling.
Cover the top layer well with paper, then more plastic and finally a thick layer of cloth to retain heat to steam the tacos well for at least two hours before uncovering and serving.
When you’re walking the streets of Mexico City and run into Tacos de Canasta, don’t hesitate! Dive in and enjoy with a freshly made salsa, pickled chiles and an ice cold drink…