When I think of Mexico, vibrant colours, rich flavours, and fresh ingredients come to mind. Liveliness, celebration, and happy sounds of family and friends enjoying themselves are also added to the mix.
Naturally, as a lover of all things Frida Kahlo, the movie Frida and the soundtrack from the movie served as inspiration for my Mexican Fiesta. I love the scene, near the beginning of the movie, where Frida’s mom and sister and other women are in the kitchen cooking together.
Gathering around food is a large part of my favourite family gatherings, so I decided to put together a Mexican Fiesta that allowed my favourite people to stand or sit in a casual setting to enjoy the flavours of the meal items I put together for everyone to enjoy (rather than a more formal sit-down dinner).
I put together a few easy to make items which can be prepared in advance, so you can focus on decorations and other things the day of your Fiesta. Check out the recipes that I share, below—along with my Mexican Fiesta meal and decoration ideas.
Mexican Fiesta Menu:
- Tomato salsa (see recipe below)
- Tortilla chips
- Sour cream (non-dairy or regular)
- Mexican street corn (see recipe below)
- Flour tortillas
- Vegetable fajita filling
- Mexican inspired popcorn
- Mango Iced Tea
Snacks and Starters
Any good Mexican Fiesta should start with chips and salsa (even if you decide to go with a sit-down meal). Guacamole is another good addition, too. I made a simple tomato-based salsa for my Mexican Fiesta (recipe below), and served with tortilla chips from Pringles.
Vegan Tomato Salsa
- 5 Medium Roma tomatoes
- 1 Small onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ bunch cilantro
- 1 jalapeno
- 1 lime
- salt to taste
- Roughly chop tomatoes and onion. Set aside.
- Put garlic cloves in mini chopper or food processor, until finely chopped.
- Add onion and pulse for a few seconds.
- Add tomatoes and do the same.
- Squeeze the juice of one lime, salt to taste, jalapeño, and cilantro to the food processor. Pulse until mixed together.
In addition to the chips and salsa, I also put out original flavour Pringles to snack on. To go with that, I made popcorn on the stovetop (using olive oil), which I topped with a mixture of salt, chilli pepper, and dehydrated lime.
One of the things I most remember from my trip to Mexico City (my best friend and I were escaping the Olympics craziness in Vancouver at the time), is the park in the Distrito Federal (historic centre of the city), where little stands were set up with people selling food and drinks.
One of my favourite things to buy there (we went back a few times), was the street corn. It was corn kernels cooked in a giant cast iron skillet over hot coals. Fresh lime juice was squeezed on top as the spices and sweet corn were mixed together. My best friend re-created the taste with his version of Mexican Street Corn. Check out the recipe, below:
Mexican Street Corn
- 2 ears of corn
- 2 tablespoons margarine
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 head garlic
- 1 chilli pepper
- 1 juice lime
- 1 pinch cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ bunch cilantro choppped
- cut kernels of cobs of corn
- Put a pot on the stove and set temperature to medium heat.
- When pot is warm, melt margarine with garlic and cumin seeds.
- When garlic is translucent, add the rest of the ingredients plus enough water to simmer.
- Occasionally stir the mixture.
- Add cilantro after 10 minutes.
- Test corn after 15 minutes. If not cooked, yet keep cooking until corn is tender.
You can enjoy this corn dish as a side, add it to tacos or tortillas, or eat it with tortilla chips.
Make your own fajita station
- homemade or store-bought tortillas (they are really quick to make and taste so delicious)
- sour cream
- cooked vegetables (I cook up bell peppers, garlic, onions, lime juice, cilantro, and lots of spices together in a cast iron wok)
- fresh limes
I love the combination of colours in these popcorn boxes that I DIY’d.
For the decoration on the wall shelf, above the buffet table, I strung up pom-pom balls attached to string. I found a huge ball of this at my local dollar store. It was really easy to string up on the shelf in a pattern that seemed festive to me. You can find pom-poms in different sizes at dollar stores or craft stores to get a similar effect. I also found yellow tissue decorations at the dollar store.
Both the folk-art handmade monkey and the metal heart were purchased from the Museo de Arte Popular in Mexico City. They add a touch of Frida Kahlo inspiration to the Mexican Fiesta.
I used painted mason jars in bright colours and a coordinating doily-inspired planter to put my containers of Pringles chips (it seems like you can never have enough chips at a party) in.
It’s so much easier and much more fun to put together a party, when you have a clear theme in mind!
With all the recipes and meal ideas I shared above—I bet you’re ready to crank up the Frida movie soundtrack, put together a few simple decorations (buy a piñata and some Mexican blankets, if you’re rushed for time), and cook up some yummy food—right?