Our Oaxacan Cooking Class

Our culinary adventure in Oaxaca took a delightful turn when we attended a cooking class led by Victor, a local chef who introduced us to the wonders of traditional Mexican cooking. The experience began with a visit to the local market, where we gathered fresh ingredients, each laid out beautifully, a feast for the eyes even before they transformed into dishes.

Victor introduced us to the mortar and pestle, essential tools in Mexican cuisine. Here, we learned to make authentic salsa, starting with main ingredients: black pepper and onion. The process engages with each ingredient, understanding its role in the salsa’s symphony of flavors.

The most fun part was making our own tortillas. There’s something special about preparing tortillas from scratch — the mixing, the shaping, and finally, watching them puff up on the griddle. It was a hands-on experience that connected us more deeply to the food we were about to enjoy.

We also tried our hand at making tlayudas, adding mole and cheese for a rich and satisfying taste. The process of layering the ingredients and seeing our creation come together was incredibly fulfilling. We did start from a store-bought pre-fried tlayuda.

Using the Oaxacan string cheese we got from the market, we embarked on making tamales. This traditional dish, wrapped and steamed, revealed the cheese’s melty goodness in every bite.

Our handmade salsa paired wonderfully with the tlayudas, creating a harmony of flavors that celebrated the essence of Mexican cuisine.

The class is really interesting with vegetarian versions of classic dishes. We prepared oyster mushroom-based dishes and memelas, showcasing the versatility of Mexican cooking.

Even though I’m a meat-lover, I found these vegetarian options to be surprisingly rich and flavorful. We delved into the intricacies of salsa-making and even tackled the famous Pozole Rojo, albeit in a vegetarian version.

While the absence of meat was a slight downside for a carnivore like me, the class with Victor was an eye-opening journey into the heart of Mexican cuisine.