Aztec Empire

Aztec Empire

Background: The Aztecs were an ancient Mexican civilization that constructed pyramids and temples through out central Mexico around 1325 ad. The Aztecs were around for 200 years before their destruction via the Conquistadors. The Aztecs were not the only ancient Mexican civilization around that time but was one of the more powerful and therefore influential towards Mexican cuisine today. The Aztec’s were one of many cultures at that time who believed in human sacrifice to please the Gods. Like most societies the Aztecs also had social class structure. One thing that most people remember the ancient civilization for is their ruthlessness and capacity to make great art pieces with jade and obsidian. Such art pieces include masks, spears, necklaces and bracelets.

Influence on modern Mexican cuisine: The Aztecs had a very strong influence on Mexican cuisine with ingredients like maize (corn) and  frijole (black beans), they also had an influence all over Europe because of their famous rich chocolate that the Spanish Conquistadors took back to Europe. The original styles of Aztec food contained lots of corn, beans and chilies. There are over 500 products derived from the Aztec corn and one of these is the Tlaxcalli that was the primitive corn tortilla made by the Aztecs. They also started the tradition of eating meat from insects such as the commonly eaten chapulin (grasshoppers), escamoles (ant eggs), araña (spider) and many others like them.

Recipes that exist today: There are many recipes that are still existent from the Aztec era and some of these include:

  • Chocolate
  • Mixiote ( Spicy pit barbecued meat)
  • Chapulines ( Grasshoppers)
  • Tamales ( Sweet corn dough steamed in with raisins and in a corn husk)
  • Ceviche ( Lime juice soaked raw fish)
  • Guacamole ( Avocado mixed with tomato)

    Sweet Tamales

    Sweet Tamales


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