Tex-Mex cuisine is a name used to describe dishes that are found in the state of Texas that is primarily American. It blends available foods in the United States with traditional Mexican cuisine. Some of the Tex-Mex foods may differ from actual Mexican dishes, but are still referred to Mexican dishes in Texas. People who live outside of Texas sometimes refer to Tex-Mex as Southwestern food.
Tex-Mex is considered "America's oldest original cuisine" by some. Tex-Mex got its name back in 1875. It started when the Texas-Mexican Railway was nicknamed Tex-Mex to refer to the railroad and describe the Mexicans that were born in Texas. The mission era blended Texas foods with Spanish and Mexican. It got its name by the Tejanos (Hispanics born in Texas). The different regions of the state kept the foods similar to each other. Eventually other meats such as goat and cow's head gained popularity. In the twentieth century, cheese was added because it was readily available and inexpensive in the United States.
More than 60% of the population of Texas has ancestors that were from Mexico. It is no surprise as to why that state has become popular for its Tex-Mex dishes. Tex-Mex is most popular in the South Central part of the state, which includes the cities of Austin and San Antonio. Tex-Mex dishes commonly use the ingredients of garlic, sour cream, cilantro, beans, avocado, and chorizo, which is a spicy Mexican sausage that originated from Spain. Chiles are also important in Tex-Mex dishes.
The chilies range from sweet and mild to hot fiery and are added to a variety of dishes. Some chiles that are used in Tex-Mex cuisine include ancho, jalapeno, and the hottest of them all, the habanero pepper. The food is contemporary and can easily be made. There are dishes that require more detail such as casseroles, black bean soup, and bunuelos, which is fried bread that is eaten with sugar and cinnamon that is sprinkled on the top.
Tex-Mex cuisine contains large amounts of beef, spices, and beans. Texas-style chili, crispy chalupas, and fajitas are all Tex-Mex originals. A serving of tortillas with hot sauce or salsa is another Texas invention. Other tasty creations include seven-layer dip, and tamale pie. Mango margaritas are a modern drink in the Tex-Mex menu. Many of these recipes are simple and require little skill, but there are some foods that involve preparation of another recipe to complete the main dish.
One dish that is shouts Texas, is chili. It is a combination of meat and spices, with no beans added. Sauce is the main ingredient of the chili. Chili started by the Chili Queens of San Antonio. They made the chili to sell at stands for cowboys who came to the town.
If you are ever visiting Texas, it is worth trying the unique foods of the region. You will be able to taste Mexican classics with a Texas twist. Many dishes are available, but don't be surprised when the dish arrives and the food doesn't taste the same. That is part of the experience you will have when you eat Tex-Mex.