Mexico City is one of the world’s biggest metropolises. There is a constant buzz and people are always on the move. The smell of street food being cooked up over charcoal, music blaring from buses and the notoriously bad traffic can all be an assault on the senses.
This city of over 20 million people is an unlimited maze of late-night taco stands, breakfast juice puestos [stalls] and lunch torta kiosks. A monster that feeds hungry chilangos three times a day, with something to eat on every corner and for every craving one might yearn for at any time of the day or night.
My recipes are a collection of the dishes I crave the most from this place, made using the ingredients I treasure: cacao, corn, chillies and tomatoes, which I have combined with ingredients I have learned to love while living in the US and the UK for the past 15 years.
I don’t like to feel too restricted, and really enjoy adapting recipes to suit the local fresh produce – like the Cornish-inspired crab tostadas below. I want to inspire you rather than to impose on you the tyranny of following recipes to the letter.
Ultimately, it is the pleasure of cooking and feeding others that inspires us to cook for our family and friends. So I encourage you to be creative.
There is no need to feel limited if you cannot find a particular ingredient: you can use the fish of your preference; opt for meco chipotle chillies instead of morita; or use Thai green chillies if it’s not possible to source green jalapeños.
It is just a question of keeping the balance by understanding each ingredient – and that is only achieved by cooking and tasting, then more cooking and more tasting.
Ciudad de México: Recipes and stories from the heart of Mexico City by Edson Diaz-Fuentes is published by Hardie Grant (£26), available from The Telegraph Bookshop.
These easy tosastas pair crab with the simple, raw freshness of a jalapeño and lime mayonnaise. Served with crispy tostadas and avocados; you really don’t need anything else.