What is the origin of the tlayudas and how should they be prepared?

The tlayuda is one of the precious heritages left by the pre-Hispanic peoples to the country. (Video: YouTube/Agriculture)

The tlayuda, that exquisite giant tortilla full of flavors and textures, is one of the many treasures that pre-Hispanic cultures left the country.. It is a representative food of the state of Oaxaca that surprises anyone’s palate. It can be eaten as a sope, quesadilla or taco, since its large size allows the taster to accommodate and savor the dish in their own way.

Preparation consists of making a corn tortilla approximately 30 centimeters in diameter, this should be browned on a griddle and later various ingredients such as meat, vegetables and cheese and sauce cannot be missing.

The tlayuda is a corn tortilla approximately 30 centimeters in diameter. (Photo: Crisanta Espinosa/Cuartoscuro)

The Government of Mexico emphasizes that it is a “complete, versatile and balanced dish, in addition to being a source of Mexican history and identity.” The history of the tlayuda dates back to pre-Columbian times, something that can be seen from the name, since the same source indicates that the denomination comes from the Nahuatl word tlao-li which means “shelled corn” and is complemented by the suffix thighswhich denotes “abundance”.

The life of Mexican society would not be the same without the creativity of the native peoplesWell, thanks to their knowledge and intuition, they managed to inherit endless corn stews such as tamales, tortillas, pozole and, of course, tlayuda.

For this reason, corn has always been a very important sustenance in Mexican food, a crop grain that has had economic, social, cultural and, above all, religious relevancesince it was associated with pre-Hispanic gods such as Cintéotl, Iztauhquicintéotl, Cozauhquicintéotl, among others.

Corn has been one of the main foods since pre-Hispanic times.  (Photo: EFE/File)
Corn has been one of the main foods since pre-Hispanic times. (Photo: EFE/File)

The Zapotec communities have been in charge of preserving, improving and sharing one of the most characteristic recipes of Oaxaca, specifically of the region San Antonio de la Cal, a municipality located in the center of the state. Researcher Alejandro Hernández emphasizes that Women are the protagonists who for centuries have been in charge of preparing and distributing this food.

The traditional ingredients of the tlayudas are black beans, jerky or beef jerky enchilada, chorizo, quesillo, cecina and avocado. However, it is also very common to find proposals with grasshoppers, escamoles or shellfish.

Another of the countless wonders of this meal is that most are satisfied with one piece, because due to its characteristic size, not everyone can eat more than one.

The popularity of this dish has crossed borders, since in 2020 the tlayuda won the championship Latin American Street Food, an event organized by Netflix, one of the most famous platforms in transmission. The event was held on the social network Twitter.

The main ingredients of the tlayudas are: black beans, jerky or enchilada dried meat, chorizo, quesillo, cecina and avocado.  (Photo: Twitter@Charito_Cray)
The main ingredients of the tlayudas are: black beans, jerky or enchilada dried meat, chorizo, quesillo, cecina and avocado. (Photo: Twitter@Charito_Cray)

Finally, the gastronomy of the territory has conquered the hearts of many Mexicans, Mexican women and even foreigners. The colors, aromas and flavors that the traditional cuisine of the Mexican Republic possesses are incomparable.Its value is such that in 2010 it was declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Throughout the territory you can find a incredible variety of unique dishes that provide identity to the 32 entities that make up Mexico. In this aspect, Oaxaca is one of the states that stands out the most, since it is not only characterized by stone soup, mole or mezcal, but also tlayuda, one of the star dishes of the region.

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