Latino culture, Mexican Cooking, Mexican food

A to Z Challenge: F is for Fideo, a Mexican side dish

A to Z Challenge for bloggers

Day Six, already? Today’s letter in the A to Z Challenge is F.

The first word I thought of was Fideo, not Fi-deo, but Fee-day-0; which is Angel Hair Pasta.

I was going to write about Fajas (girdles) or Flores (flowers) but food won out. So you know what’s on my mind.

Fideo is another ‘poor person’s’ dish, like enchiladas with cheese, but much easier and faster to make. However, it’s not the main meal, it’s a side dish.

Fideo may have been the first food I tried to make on my own, as a kid, for the family. I recall this dish as comfort food.

Some people called fideo the Mexican spaghetti, but don’t let a Mexican mom hear that comparison. Spaghetti is spaghetti and fideo is fideo: never the twain shall meet.

There are two types of fideo: seco as in dry and regular or ‘soupy’ as my mom says Fideo soupy (a great example of a Spanglish term to describe a dish).

Technically, it’s sopa de fideo.

Our household made fideo soupy only. The hot caldo (broth) was full of flavorful tomato sauce with onion and garlic flavors.

Dry fideo or angel hair pasta

This is how it looks when it comes out of the package. We never cooked the entire coils but broke them up into bite-size pieces, sauteed the fideo in hot oil, with onions, garlic, salt, maybe a dash of oregano.

After the fideo is toasty, you add four ounces tomato sauce and eight ounces of water, (you could use vegetable or chicken stock instead) bring to a boil, lower and test for to see if it’s soft after 10 minutes.

That’s it, the fideo is done.

Sopa de Fideo



Family, Family time, Mexican Cooking, Mexican Holiday food, Mexican Vegan food

Beginning a New Tradition with Tamales-Vegan Style!

Christmas Stars by J. De La Cruz, cc
Christmas Stars by J. De La Cruz, cc

Five years after my youngest became a vegan, I now have another vegan son who has a wonderful girlfriend who is also vegan.

I began cooking vegan style for the youngest some time ago. My oldest son, David and his girlfriend, Laura ‘veganize’ all sorts of foods while educating people on their YouTube site titled “Hangry Vegans.” Their videos show their adventures shopping and creating vegan dishes. Recently, they created a Wix site, you guessed it: “Hangry Vegans.”

We made five types of tamales. And, this year I wasn’t the only one making vegan tamales. David and Laura sat at the table and learned from me and his aunt about the ‘how to’s” of making the masa (dough) and filling for tamales without lard or animal products.

They tried to manipulate the butter knife, masa to oja (corn husk) ratio, and fill the tamales without making them into fat burritos. I was impressed they kept at it, smoothing and fixing the ojas, laying on the right amount of chile and ‘cheese.’

A mother is impressed when her daughter cooks, but a Latina mother is doubly surprised when her adult son tackles a medium difficult project. For the trifecta, Laura said she and David would keep up the tradition. Maybe there will be some little ‘tamales’ in their future 🙂 (I’m going to get an OMG from them, but I’m joking!).

They both did well for first timers and now know why we complain of backaches the day after tamale making.

My mother stood by and asked what type of filling we’d use. When the words “Black beans” and vegan ‘cheese’ entered the conversation she gave us the familiar nose wrinkle. This is her polite way of saying “Yuck.”

You know millennials, they video everything. Here are the steps in motion:

Vegan Black Bean Tamales:


2 cups of Maseca Tamal corn flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Mix together in a large bowl and add:
1 1/3 cup of vegetable broth

In another bowl, use
2/3 cup of coconut or vegetable shortening.
Mix until fluffy. Add this to the dry ingredients and stir until batter is smooth.
Knead the dough like bread until it’s smooth and slightly sticky.

You can also buy store-bought masa at a Mexican supermarket. Ask for masa sin preparada (not prepared with lard). To this masa add the vegetable shortening and knead.

Spread a thin to medium layer of masa on the oja/corn husk, leaving 1/4 from the top clear.

Add a tablespoon or more of drained and rinsed cooked black beans, shredded vegan Monterrey style Jack cheese, and diced green chiles or strips of chile. A teaspoon of salsa verde or salsa roja can also be added.

Fold each side of oja to the middle and fold over the top of the oja. Press the open ends of the oja gently together.

Take a deep pot (tamale) which has a steamer bottom or put an overturned foil pie pan with four ventilated holes at the bottom of the pot. Add water until it reaches the rim of the pie pan.

Stack tamales into the pot about 2/3 full and around the edges, leaving a small funnel in the middle. Or, you can basketweave the tamales around the edges, also with a funnel in the middle. Water, when needed, is added in this space.

Wet and wring out a clean cotton kitchen towel. Drape it over the top of the stacked tamales, put a lid on the pot and place on the stove, at medium heat. Add water when necessary.

Set a timer for 90 minutes. Use a potholder to lift the lid and check the tamales. The masa will be cooked solid if it’s done. If the masa is mushy, set the timer for another hour.

Any vegetable filling can be used: lentils and corn, spinach and vegan cheese, peas and carrots, butternut squash are some examples.

For our sweet tamales recipes: Pineapple, Coconut; Cinnamon Raisin; and Strawberry go over to Hangry Vegans website. Check them out, they’re so cute.

I have to say that, I’m a mom.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!