Kosher Mexican Food for Cinco de Mayo

This year, Cinco de Mayo falls on Shabbat.
May 3, 2023
Photo by Kristen McCaffrey, Slender Kitchen

This year, Cinco de Mayo falls on Shabbat. Why not celebrate with a fun kosher Mexican meal! Remember, these fun, flavorful kosher recipes can be enjoyed year-round.

“Keeping kosher can present challenges with being able to enjoy many ethnic foods,” Deborah Kornberg, chef, owner of SPICE + LEAF and cooking teacher, told the Journal. “It also presents opportunities to get creative and find unique solutions while maintaining Jewish dietary laws and practices.”

Whatever you prepare, here’s a refreshing cocktail and delicious guacamole dip to add to your meal.

“The homemade Tajin spice blend of aleppo pepper and sumac gives it just the right amount of heat and acid to balance out the sweet juices of the watermelon,” Kornberg said.

Photo by Deborah Kornberg

Watermelon Margarita by Debbie Kornberg

For the Rim
1 tsp SPICE + LEAF Aleppo Pepper
1 tsp Sugar
½ tsp SPICE + LEAF Sumac
¼ of a lime

Mix Aleppo pepper, sugar and sumac together and place on a small dish. Rim glass with lime and then roll glass in Aleppo spice blend. Set it aside.

For the Margarita
2 cups seedless watermelon, chopped
6-8 mint leaves
6-10 ice cubes
2 oz Tequila, Gold
2 oz Cointreau
2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice

Optional Garnish: A slice of watermelon wedge dipped in the homemade tajin spice blend

Place watermelon and mint into a blender and purify into 6 oz of juice. Place ice in the shaker. Add watermelon-mint juice.

Add tequila, Cointreau and lime juice. Shake well. Pour drink into tajin spiced rimmed glass.

Garnish with lime rind and watermelon wedge.

*For a non-alcoholic mocktail, pour 6 oz. watermelon juice into a tajin spiced rimmed glass. Add 2 – 4 oz. of seltzer. Mix well. Add a twist of lime juice.

Photo by Deborah Kornberg

Deb’s Guacamole by Debbie Kornberg

3 Avocados
2 – 3 Limes
10 cherry tomatoes, diced small
(yellow and/or red)
1 tsp sea salt (Can add more as desired.)
1 tsp SPICE + LEAF Avocado Toast & Egg
Topper (a mix of paprika, sumac,
nigella seeds, sesame seeds, cumin
and salt)

Remove avocado from skin and place into a medium size bowl. Set the pit aside.

Add lime juice and mash up avocado until creamy with not too many clumps.

Add tomatoes and salt. Mix well and taste. Add more salt or lime juice to desired taste.

Place into a serving dish and sprinkle Avocado Toast & Egg Topper on top.
Note: If you are making your guacamole in advance of serving, do not add Avocado Toast & Egg Topper. Place pit into the center, cover well with plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator. When ready to serve, remove the pit and add Avocado Toast & Egg Topper.

“Kosher Mexican food does not take a back seat to spice,” Amy S. Margulies, owner of Rebellious RD, told the Journal. “Keeping things spicy and delicious is the best way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.”

Margulies said you could take the Kosher dairy route, and enjoy veggie fajitas, quesadillas and nachos with loads of veggies, cheese, spices. Alternatively, you could go with authentic fish fajitas or tacos.

“[It’s] a neat twist to the typical chicken or beef,” she said.

Photo by thenovicechefblog.com

Fresh Fish Taco Time

1 pound of your favorite fish
(ie. flounder, salmon, your pick!)
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3–4 cilantro leaves, chopped fine
(basil if not a fan)
Spice Mix: 1/2 Tbsp cumin, 1 Tbsp paprika, 1 Tbsp chili powder
4 bell peppers — a mix of red, green,
yellow, and orange, sliced into strips
2 medium onions, chopped into small
salt and pepper to taste
nonstick cooking spray (or, place olive
oil in a plant-spray type bottle, so a
little goes a long way, without any
additional chemicals)
6–8 corn tortillas, small/taco-style
1-2 Tbsp toasted flaked coconut, if desired

Combine spice mix and rub all over the fish. Set aside.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and spread in the pan. Add bell peppers and onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (add a dash of cayenne pepper for an extra kick). Cook for 8–10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

Add another 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add seasoned fish and cook for about 3–4 minutes, lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray (or olive oil spray), then flip. After a couple of minutes, break the fish into smaller pieces with a spatula. Finish cooking a few more minutes or until crisp.

While cooking the fish, heat corn tortillas according to package directions.
Place fish on a serving platter and sprinkle with lime juice and cilantro. Serve with peppers, onions, and tortillas. For an extra sweet crunch, sprinkle with toasted flaked coconut.

Kristen McCaffrey Memun’s family loves Chicken Street Tacos. Her husband, Joe Memun, is originally from Mexico City and grew up enjoying tons of kosher Mexican food.

They are great for Shabbat since they can easily be prepped in advance and the chicken tastes amazing warm or at room temperature,” Memun, who runs the healthy eating website Slender Kitchen, told the Journal.

Slender Kitchen Chicken Street Tacos

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
(or breast)
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp orange juice (or more lime juice)
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp taco seasoning (or homemade
option below)
8 corn tortillas
1/4 cup cilantro
2 Tbsp diced onion,
1/2 cup salsa (pico de gallo, green salsa,
or fruit salsa)

Homemade spice blend:
1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp chili powder, ½ tsp cumin, ½ tsp kosher salt, ½ tsp oregano, ¼ tsp black pepper

In a nonreactive bowl or container, combine lime juice, orange juice, honey, olive oil and taco seasoning. Add chicken and marinate for 30 to 60 minutes. Do not marinate longer or the chicken will break down in the lime juice.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and lightly pat it dry with paper towels. This will help it get crispy.

Heat a grill over medium-high heat. Grill the chicken thighs for 4-5 minutes per side or until cooked through. Let rest for 5 minutes. You can also cook this in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil. Add the chicken in a single layer and let it sear and brown for 4-5 minutes on each side.

Let the cooked chicken rest for 5 minutes. Then chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Generally, street tacos have small pieces of meat, but you can slice to your preference.

Assemble the tacos with warmed corn tortillas, cilantro, diced onions, and salsa.

“For a fun family gathering, we always set up all the taco fixings and let everyone build their own tacos and bowls,” Memun said. “This Cinco de Mayo I’ll be pairing it with homemade guacamole, mango salsa and slow cooker black beans.”

“The best recipes for Cinco de Mayo are actually very easy to adapt to a kosher lifestyle.” 

– Naomi Werther-Cummings

“The best recipes for Cinco de Mayo are actually very easy to adapt to a kosher lifestyle,” Naomi Werther-Cummings, contributing writer to Margo Paige, told the Journal.

Werther-Cummings typically turns recipes containing meat to be wholly vegetarian. She switches the beef out for mushrooms, lentils or chickpeas.

“If you cook them just right, you will have an amazing dish ready in minutes,” she said. “The secret ingredients to these dishes that will make or break it are cumin and turmeric.”

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