Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Diana Kennedy Comes to Town

Diana Kennedy is often described as "the Julia Child of Mexican Cuisine". She has authored eight books and is recognised as the world's leading authority on Mexican food. Her most recent book, Oaxaca al Gusto was awarded the prestigious James Beard Cookbook of the Year award for 2011, and is one of the most determined pieces of work I have ever seen.

Hence, I was pretty thrilled to have the opportunity to cook with her in Sydney a few weeks ago, in a demonstration class at the Essential Ingredient Sydney. Diana prepared Sopa Tarasca tipo Conde, Camarónes en Pipian (recipe below) and a whole Barramundi in the style of Huanchinango a la Veracruzana.

Mrs Diana Kennedy and myself, pondering the pot of prawns.

The food was all stunning, and her detailing of the process and concepts behind each step of the preparation. It was quite an eye opening experience over all. Not quite as eye opening as the next day, when my beautiful son Liam was born, a healthy 8 pounds and perfect. It has been quite a year.

The following r
ecipe appears in The Essential Cuisines of Mexico by Diana Kennedy, published by Clarkson Potter/ Publishers, 2000.

Camarones en Pipián

Shrimps in Pumpkin Seed Sauce

Serves 6-8

675g Medium size shrimps, unshelled

2 ½ cups cups cold water, approximately

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1 cup (250ml) raw pumpkin seeds (about 115g)

1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped

4 fresh serrano chiles or any fresh, hot green chiles, roughly chopped with seeds

½ small white onion, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2/3 cup thick sour cream

Shell and devein the shrimps and set aside. Put the shells, tails and heads, if any into a saucepan, add the water with salt and cook over a medium heat for about 20 minutes, to extract the flavour and make a light broth. Strain and discard the shells, reserving the cooking liquid. Allow the liquid to cool a little. Add the shrimps and cook over a gentle heat for about 3 minutes, or until they are just turning opaque. Drain the shrimps, reserving the broth.

In a heavy, ungreased frying pan, toast the pumpkin seeds lightly, stirring them often, until they swell up and begin to pop about-do not let them brown. Set them aside to cool and then grind them finely in a coffee/spice grinder. (Alternately they can just be added to the blender with the broth in the next step, but the sauce will not be as smooth.)

Place the shrimp broth, pumpkin seeds, cilantro, chiles, and onion in a blender and blend together until smooth.

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the blended pumpkin seed sauce and cook over a very low heat, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan constantly, for about 3 minutes. Stir in the sour cream, adjust the seasoning and just heat through-about 3 minutes. Then add the shrimps and heat through for another 5 minutes. The sauce should be of a medium consistency. Serve immediately.

Serve with fresh, hot tortillas or crusty French bread. Despite the temptation to do so, it is better not to serve it on top of rice or all that lovely sauce will be sopped up and lost.

NOTE: This pipián can be prepared ahead up to the point of adding the shrimps. I do not suggest freezing this dish.

¡Andale Pues!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Huachinango a la Veracruzana

Veracruz lies nuzzled in the southern part of the Gulf of Mexico, not too far away from Cuba and Hispaniola from where Cortéz sailed in 1519. The area was one of the first conquered by the Spanish, and has long had quite a distinct character, as I suppose so many port cities do. The mix of the indigenous history, European culture, African slave elements and even the strong ties to Cuba's recent history make this a fascinating place.

The heat of the city in June is pure oppression, with the pavement scorching and baking, and helados half-melted before they are even paid for. My first trip there, I resolved to spend evenings in the Zocalo watching elderly couples dressed in white dance like swans, as I waited until it had cooled enough to consider a meal.

So around 10 o'clock every night, Juanita cooked for me in her little restaurant two blocks from the square. She gave me this recipe, which varies little from many others you might find in any given book but for the fact she chars the tomato to begin. Also she preferred a single red chillie, rather than a pickled jalapeño as is more commonly used (incidentally, jalapeños are from Veracruz state, and named after it's more northern city, Xalapa).

Huachinango a la Veracruzana
Red snapper in tomato, olive and caper sauce

1 red snapper, about 1kg
2 egg tomato
1/2 small white onion, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons capers, with a little of the brine
8 green olives
2 sprigs thyme
a pinch of dried Mexican oregano
cracked black pepper
1 small red chillie, cut in half
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup olive oil

  1. Trim the fins from the snapper, and score the sides with a sharp knife.* Rub salt into the cuts, then rub the juice of half a lime. Leave to sit for one hour.
  2. Char the tomatoes on a comal or under a grill. When soft, blend with 50ml water.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a pan until hot. Place the fish in the pan, and cook for around three minutes until the skin is nicely coloured.**
  4. Turn the fish over and cook the second side to the same degree. Remove the fish to a baking tray.
  5. Lower the heat and ad the onion to the pan, cook for around one minute, then add garlic and bay leaves. Cook a further minute, then add remaining ingredients including blended tomato and lime juice. Bring to the boil then simmer for two minutes.
  6. Pour over fish and bake for 15 minutes at 190º.
  7. Serve with red rice and a little olive oil.

*My snapper was a little monster and wouldn't fit in the pan, so I trimmed the fillets off. It's not as hard as it looks: Use a sharp knife to cut into the fish near the backbone, then just slowly follow the contour of the bones, peeling the fillet back as you go. If you get stuck, change direction and keep cutting until you have removed it cleanly. Flip the fish over and repeat the process. You may find the second try will be a little easier, but just go slowly and please, use a sharp knife or you will just destroy the little fellow. Pictures of my simple process below.

**To cook fillets, seal the flesh side first after seasoning well. When nicely coloured, flip over gently and cook skin side until crispy. Remove from pan to a plate, cook the second fillet the same way, then remove. Follow step 5 of the above recipe, but reduce the sauce a little further, then pour over the fillet.

Cut in slowly along the backbone, peel the fillet away so you can see the bone you are cutting the flesh from.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dear Mrs Harvey

Pretty excited about the sweet sweet candy up there.

On May 21st of this year Karin and I got married. We were not able to invite everyone we would have liked, as it was a small event without all the space that would have been required. Sad as that was, Simon and I cooked the whole menu ourselves so I was glad there wasn't too many more.

It is a chef's curse to cook at one's own wedding, and I know more than a few who have done it. I decided to go back to my first culinary digs and cook Italian. Slow, tasty, hearty and simple. The recipe from the braised short-rib follows along with a few photos of the day, including the piñata which was the only thing Mexican on the menu.

Thanks to all our friends who made it, and those we couldn't invite but remembered on the day.

Karin & Travis Harvey

Braised Beef short rib in Sangiovese

1kg organic beef short rib (or shin)
1 cup diced brown onion
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
5 cloves of garlic, sliced
3 bayleaf
4 sprigs of thyme
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tin whole peeled tomato (400g or 12oz approximately)
300ml good Chianti, Sangiovese or Shiraz
Chicken stock
Salt, freshly ground black pepper
Good extra virgin olive oil (Cobram Estate was used)

  1. Cut the short rib into portions, trim any thick fat then season well with lots of salt.
  2. Heat a pan with a decent amount of olive oil, then sear the meaty surfaces of the rib until nicely coloured. Turn the rib and sear all sides evenly. Remove from the pan to a cast iron or braising dish. If much fat renders into the pan, pour some off but use the rest to finish sealing the meat.
  3. When you have finished searing the ribs, pour out the excess fat and add a good slug of olive oil, add the vegetables and cook gently without colour.
  4. When they have softened, add the garlic and other herbs and spices. Cook until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and wine and bring to the boil stirring frequently.
  5. Add the tinned tomato and season. It should seem a little under-seasoned, and will balance out during cooking with the beef.
  6. Pour the liquid over the ribs, and top up with chicken stock until nearly covered (but not quite).
  7. Place a lid on the cooking dish and bring to the boil before placing in the oven at 160 for 2½ -3 hours.
  8. When the beef is really tender but still clinging to the bone, carefully remove it from the liquid with tongs. Pass the liquid through a sieve and reserve, pressing all the juice out of the vegetables before discarding.
  9. Any remaining vegetables you may have had after measuring out the braising quantities, can now be sautéed gently in a little more olive oil. When they are soft, add the liquid and adjust the seasoning and consistency. Now reintroduce the beef to the sauce and heat gently to serve. Serve with soft polenta, orange gremolata and a little more very good olive oil.

Menu and place settings.

Soft Polenta

1 cup polenta
3-4 cups water
2 cloves garlic, crushed
100g Butter
100g freshly grated Grana (or Parmesan)
lots of salt

  1. Bring the water to the boil in a large pot with garlic and salt (about 2 teaspoons).
  2. Rain in polenta, whisking all the while. Bring to the boil again, then turn down the flame to a very low heat.
  3. Keep stirring or whisking for as long as specified on the packet (instant will take about 10 mins, traditional polenta about 50).
  4. Add butter and parmesan and mix through. Check seasoning and serve.

Menu with details: click to read.

Orange Gremolata

3 cloves garlic
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
1 orange
1 lemon
cracked pepper

Method 1 (simple)
  1. Peel the garlic, pick the parsley leaves and zest the orange and lemon with a microplane or peeler.
  2. Roughly chop it all, then place in a small food proccesor with pepper and 100ml extra virgin olive oil. Blend till smooth.
Method 2 (hard but better. And prettier)
  1. Pick parsley and chop finely, Reserve.
  2. Peel garlic, then slice 1mm thin on a mandoline. Stack the slices of garlic slices to a hieight of four slices, then cut a julienne of the same width (1mm). When finished, turn the julienned garlic around ninety degrees and cut again, achieving a 1mm dice of garlic. Add to the parsley.
  3. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the rind from the citrus. Fillet any white pith from the strips with a paring knife, then use a cooks knife to cut a julienne of the same size. Repeat the garlic process to achieve a fine dice.
  4. Your proportions should be one part garlic, one part zest, two parts parsley. Add a little cracked pepper and mix well.

Simon, after cooking with me for two days.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tomatillo Salsa

The bounty of the warmer months strained the branches of our little plot’s chilli and tomatillo plants, and last week we said goodbye to them as we moved from our house to a little flat in Sydney. I do wonder what the next tenants will make of my habanero plants, and the terror they may inflict. Curiosity may well kill the cat yet, or at least her owner.

Stranger still they might find these beautiful tomatillos, hanging like lanterns from spindly branches, entwined amongst splintered stakes. I collected all that I could of my first ever harvest, and have put them to good use since.

The tomatillo (AKA miltomate, AKA tomato verde) is a member of the nightshade family along with chilli, potato, aubergine, tobacco and of course tomato. It is more closely related to the Chinese gooseberry than the tomato, though its pulpy seedy flesh does bare quite a resemblance to the latter, if not in colour than in texture.

It’s tart, piquant flavour lends itself well to lighter and more delicate dishes; it marries well with chicken, seafood and creamed sauces. It is often married with pork, when its acidity is used to cut the meat’s fattiness.

Two simple uses follow. I've constructed a little memelita topped with black bean puree and chicken in tomatillo sauce, topped with Arból salsa. For more on the memelita, look here.

Pollo en Salsa Verde
Shredded chicken in a lightly spiced tomatillo sauce

Makes 10 memalitas
200g shredded chicken
200g tomatillo
1 red Jalepeño chilli, seeds removed
2 whole allspice
2 clove garlic
a pinch of ground cumin
1 teaspoon thyme
nearly a teaspoon of salt
1 small white onion, finely diced

  1. Place the tomatillo, chilli, allspice and garlic In a medium sized saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer till soft. Use a slotted spoon to remove into a blender jug and add a little of the liquid. Add thyme, cumin and salt and blend till smooth. It should have a runny consistency.
  2. While still warm, pour over the shredded chicken and stir through. Add a little more of the reserved water if needed.
  3. Add diced white onion and let sit for half an hour before use.

Salsa de Arból
Fiery arbol chile sauce with tomatillo

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

10-15 chiles de arból

1 small clove garlic

3 tomatillos

water, as needed

½ teaspoon salt

  1. After wiping the chilies clean, warm them gently in a pan with the vegetable oil. Fry the chilies softly until they are lightly fragrant (30-60 seconds).
  2. Toast the tomatillos slowly on a comal or skillet, turning occasionally to ensure even cooking. Some blackening is desirable.
  3. Place the chilies in the blender jar with the tomatillos, garlic and salt and enough warm water as is needed to cover them. Let sit for ten minutes, in which time the chilies will soften.
  4. Blend until smooth, and then check seasoning.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Salsa Pepian

If by definition, food must yield energy and sustenance, one might wonder whether if a 50 ingredient mole negro should be regarded more as a pastime than a meal. On an energy expended vs. energy gained basis (at least if milling the ingredients by hand), you must certainly be going backwards metabolically. Without a doubt a pleasure to sit down to, it is nevertheless the definition of a chore to make.

Not so the simple Pepian. Were I a less ambitious fellow, it would certainly be my "go to" mole, one that is ready with little more than a toast and a blend, and delicious to boot. The following recipe was taught to me by the lovely Doña Carmen in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, and employs the Mayan technique of toasting pumpkin seeds for a nutty, rich flavour. The addition of sesame seeds make this a slightly hybrid recipe: sesame was introduced by the Spanish, who took it from the Moors, who took it from the peoples of Sub-Saharan Africa millennia ago.

Here I have used the un-ripened Zebra Tomato from my garden, in place of the tomatillos originally specified. They are by no means the same thing, but the result was excellent nonetheless. A little fresh salmon fillet, diced and tossed with olive oil, sea salt and orange juice and seared quickly. Some pickled Yucatecan onions, and you've got quite a taco.

Salsa Pepian

500g tomato
200g tomatillo or green tomato
100g white onion
60g hulled pumpkin seed
60g sesame seeds
3 whole allspice
2 chile arból
200ml chicken stock

  1. Place the tomato, tomatillo and onion in a small pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer. As each item softens, remove and place in the blender jug. The tomatillo will usually take 2 mins more than the tomato, the onion slightly longer still.
  2. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a medium pan, tossing frequently until golden. Remove, then add the sesame seed and toast. When nearly golden, add the allspice and chile arból. Add to the pumpkin seeds, then place all ingredients in the blender jug with stock and salt.
  3. Puree for 2 minutes until very smooth. Often served with braised pork, poached chicken or white-fleshed fish.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Touch of Class

Tacos of prawns with achiote, avocado, pico de gallo salsa.

Just a reminder for Sydney-siders, only a couple of weeks before our Essential Ingredient class on the 9th of April. Menu for the Tacos and Serious Salsas class on the day:

Crispy seasoned pork pieces, orange and cummin braise

Camarones en Achiote

Mayan-style Seared Prawns with annatto and lime

Tortillas a Mano

Handmade tortillas

Salsa Verde Quemada

Burnt green chilli sauce

Pico de Gallo

Rooster’s beak sauce

Salsa de Aguacate

Avocado sauce

Salsa de Arból

Fiery arbol chilli sauce

There will be accompanying wines and recipe booklet at the end of the day. Should be fun, hope to see some of you guys there. For more info and bookings, click here

Monday, March 7, 2011

Nieve de Leche Quemada

The following is frozen confection, a Oaxacan speciality that performs their usual trick of looking quite normal, but astounding with a complexity and depth of unexpected flavour. Literally "Icy treat of burnt milk", the leche quemada possesses a nutty caramel taste but is marked by the smokey notes of the burnt sugar. Many are delighted by the uniqueness of this frozen treat, and crave its morish flavour.

Note the smoke swelling out of the pot, the same permeating the dark caramel.

The trick I think, is to really embrace the smoke. I mean, it really does look -according to most everything you've learnt about cooking, and certainly what you know about desserts-quite the opposite of the desired result. But let it burn like a bonfire. Use good quality milk, good eggs and take your time.

Nieve de Leche Quemada

1 Litre whole cream milk (7-12% fat)
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
1 2" stick cinnamon
1 cup and two tablespoons raw sugar
4 egg yolks

  1. Warm the milk, cinnamon and vanilla together in a small non reactive saucepan. Just as it comes to the boil, remove it from the heat and leave to infuse for 20 mins.
  2. Place a quarter (60g) of the sugar in a large heavy based pot and place on a medium heat. The sugar will liquefy and begin to darken in colour. Soon, patches of it will start to give off smoke, let this go for about 10 seconds, but make sure you are no higher than a moderate heat. Quickly add the milk to the burnt sugar. Be careful, as the mix will bubble vigorously for a few moments. Simmer the mixture until the caramel has completely dissolved. Remove from the heat, and remove the cinnamon.
  3. Whisk the egg yolks together with the remaining sugar until pale. Pour the hot milk mixture in to the bowl slowly, stirring all the while.
  4. Place the mixture in a clean saucepan and place back on a low heat. Stir and cook slowly until the mix is at 82 degrees Celsius (180 Fahrenheit), or until the mix is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl. Place the bowl into a larger bowl filed with iced water to chill it rapidly and stop it from cooking further.
  5. Freeze by manufacturers directions of your ice-cream machine. If you don't have an ice-cream machine, chill the mix in the fridge over night, then place in the freezer in the morning. As the mix starts to freeze, whisk it until all the ice shards have broken up. Keep your whisk cold in the fridge, and continue to whisk throughout the day until it is too firm to whisk any longer. Before serving, let it warm enough that you can move it around with a wooden spoon.

Good vanilla, organic milk and sugar, vividly coloured yolks.

Just after adding the milk, the mixture will boil vigorously.

After adding the egg and sugar mix, keep cooking gently until you reach 82-85ºC. This is the point at which egg yolk dispersed in milk and sugar is cooked. Incidentally, yolk cooks at 72º when the proteins are not disrupted by extra liquid.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Polvorones Ricas

Our guest contributor for this post is Karin Ferguson from Little Thing, an online seller of beautiful handmade clothing, including a lovely bunch of items from Oaxaca. In addition, she designs this very blog, takes the photos, and I might also mention she's my fiancée (and the baker of the house). These facts amongst a mountain of others, make me a very lucky fellow indeed.

This recipe is a mix of two, one from Diana Kennedy's The Essential Cuisines of Mexico, one from Fany Gerson's My Sweet Mexico. We found both of them great, but Fany's sweeter than those we were used to, and Diana's somewhat lardier. So after a few attempts and calibrations we have as we remember, the quintessential taste of a Mexico City Bakery.

A little about polvorones: basically a Mexican shortbread composed of nutty roasted flour, almonds and butter, heavily dusted with icing sugar. Variations include the addition of cinnamon, aniseed or orange, or using pine nuts in place of the almonds. Traditionally, they are singularly wrapped in tissue paper and sold in the style of a bonbon, the ends neatly shredded making them that much more exciting and festive.

I'm still not sure if they are called polvorones because they are so liberally doused in icing sugar (azucar en polvo), or because if they are treated gently they are subject to disintegrate to dust (polvo), as any delicate shortbread should. Ours crumbled over home grown vanilla-poached apricots, served with a lavender panna cotta. Thanks again to the wonderful Karin for the toil, the laughs, and of course all the rest too.

Polvorones | makes about 20

1/2 cup whole almonds, skin on
2 cups unbleached flour
a good pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
90g unsalted butter, at room temperature
30g vegetable shortening or lard, , at room temperature
Confectioner's sugar, for finishing

  1. Spread the almonds and flour out on separate trays and bake in a preheated oven (180C or 350F) for around 15 minutes, or until the flour becomes nutty and off white, and the almonds are roasted through. Remove and let cool.
  2. Sift the flour into a bowl with the baking powder and salt. Place the almonds in a blender with the sugar and pulverise as well as you can. Mix the dry ingredients together, then pour them out onto a clean bench.
  3. Add the butter and lard, then work the mixture gently with your hands until it comes together into a crumbly texture. Gather the dough together into one firm piece, bind in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for two hours to rest.
  4. Remove the dough from the fridge and preheat the oven to 180C (350F) once again. Roll the dough out to a thickness of 7mm (1/4 inch) and use a cookie cutter about 5cm wide to cut out as many as you can. Do this quickly before the dough warms up. Push the remaining dough back together then roll out to the same thickness and cut out the remaining portions.
  5. Very, very carefully move the polvorones to a baking tray with a pallete knife or spatula. Bake for around 15 mins or until they are a golden colour.
  6. Place a third of a cup of icing sugar in a fine sieve and shake over the warm biscuits until liberally coated. Let cool completely before removing to airtight containers for storage.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

10 Things to Eat in Mexico (and Where)

In the spirit of helpfulness, I offer here a few pointers for good eating in Mexico. I know many writers have penned numerous invaluable tips of where to find the 'best burritos in town (huge portions!)', or who makes the best pizza in Cancún, but assuming for a moment you would like to eat typical regional food while you travel, look below. This is a guide for the uninitiated and doesn't go into chapulines (fried grasshoppers), impossible to find tamales made by someone's grandmother or anything else that is not straight forward. If you want to be more adventurous, try something else on the menu from the same eateries. Suggestions follow each listing.

So, in no particular order, here are some regional specialities not to be missed and places where you might find them. If possible, I have included a vegetarian dish and a fruit or other item specific to the region listed. And for those with language or custom difficulties, see the bottom of the page for a few hints on dealing with the ordering process.

1. Quesadilla con flor de calabaza
Blue corn tortillas stuffed with squash blossoms
Any given taqueria, mercado or street corner or will have these almost year round. Expect an elongated tortilla of blue masa freshly made and stuffed with lightly cooked squash blossoms and onions. You will likely be asked, "¿con queso?" ("with cheese?") and the answered is certainly yes. Simple, wonderful and truly one of the delights of Mexican cuisine.
From the same stall: quesadillas of any given filling, all wonderful. Champiñones are a favourite.

2. Tacos al Pastor
Shepard's Taco
This chile and spice marinated spit roast of pork has multicultural origins which you can read about here. It is certainly as delicious as it is ubiquitous, and that is saying something. Topped with roasted pineapple, diced onion and chopped coriander with salsas of your choice.
From the same stall: Alambres, chorizo, frijoles charros.

3. Jugo de Naranja
Orange juice

Sounds stupid but seriously, go to a mercado juice stall and have the best huge orange juice of your life for a dollar. It will remind you why there is a huge demand for the horrible junk sold in supermarkets now.
From the same stall: Liquados with papaya, any drink with guanábana.

4. Tlayuda

Basically a giant, slow-cooked tortilla topped with bean paste, Oaxaca cheese, tomato, avocado, and a feature ingredient (marinated pork, chorizo etc). Tlayudas are either open faced–a local girl used to joke that they are Mexican pizzas– or folded to serve. At 12" across they are a good size meal in themselves, but moreover they are delicious and at best extraordinary.
From the same stall: Tacos de cecina.

5. Frutas
Vitamins have never been more attractive (a sentiment that will only be fortified by a few weeks of the meat and cheese diet of eating out in Mexico), tastier or fresher. Mangoes and bananas you will recognise, but also try granadillas (a hard-shelled relative of the passionfruit), chirimoya (custard apple) or tuna. Tuna is the fruit of the nopal catus, definitely not aquatic, and a popular flavour of nieve as are many of these fruit.
From the same stall: anything. Ask if the fruit is ripe ("madura") and be adventurous.

6. Tamal
As the land of the seven moles you could fairly expect Oaxaca to have some very tasty mole-filled wonders, and they certainly do. The texture of Oaxacan tamales tends to be smoother than in other parts of the country. Try either mole negro or salsa verde tamales at the tamale stand at the Sánchez Pascuas market, located seven blocks north of the Zocálo between Porfirio Díaz and Tinoco y Palacios.
From the same stall: cambrays, which are sweet tamales with butter and raisins as the filling.

7. Panuchos
Fry tortilla dough, stuff it with black beans, top it with pulled pork, avocado, tomato and pickled onions then a little habanero sauce. Then, try and say no to it. I have trouble saying no to the fifth one.
From the same stall: Salbutes, which are similar but made with chicken.

8. Birria
Steamed Mutton Stew
This old favourite is a preparation of lamb leg, marinated then steamed till falling apart. The resulting dish is the tender lamb in the broth saved from the cooking. Always pretty good, but never quite as good as at Birreria Las 9 Esquinas.
From the same stall: Barbacoa, pozole.

9. Pavo en Escabeche
Turkey in a piquant broth
This delicate broth is the result of slow cooking turkey with aromatic spices and a good dose of sage, then brightening the dish with a splash of apple vinegar. A clean and refreshing dish, without too much spice.
From the same stall: Relleno negro, pappadzules.

10. Caldo Tlalpeño
Vegetable soup, Tlalpan style
Very loosely, this soup is vegetables cooked in broth and served with a little chile, avocado, coriander and lime. It is truly a remedy for body and soul. The best in San Cris and possibly anywhere else, is found at El Caldero.
From the same stall: Sopa Azteca, mondongo, el caldero.

11. Nieves, Paletas, Helados
Frozen sweets of all sorts
How could I leave it at 10 things without these? Fresh fruits, chocolate, cajeta, mescal or even tres leches are all here, sweetened and frozen. Guanábana and coconut are just awesome (not as in 90's talk Awesome, but as in they fill you with awe) as is nuez, and pretty much the whole gauntlet. Paletas come both water and milk based (de agua or de leche respectively), and some of the Ice-cream stores have started making their helados with weird emulsifiers so try to stick to the little guys who do mostly hand-made.
From the same stall: Horchata, agua de jamaica, horchata de fresa.

A note on market and street stalls:
As the guide books do quite accurately state, busy ones have the cleanest and safest food. What is harder to figure out sometimes is how to order. You must move as close as you can to the people serving without pushing in and ask, "¿Que tienen ustedes?" (what have you guys got?). You will be provided a brief verbal menu, from which you might settle on say, a Tlayuda of grilled beef (tasajo). You would then say, "Me da una Tlayuda de tasajo por favor" (give me a grilled beef tlayuda please). They will prepare your food, serve it to you and only upon leaving will you need to pay. You might well say, "Provecho" (enjoy your meal) to the other diners as you leave, as is customary in Mexico.