This blog post is an excerpt from the newly released cookbook, "OAXACA Home Cooking from The Heart of Mexico"
This cookbook is the first true introduction to Oaxacan cuisine by a native family, each dish articulates their story, from Oaxaca to the streets of Los Angeles and beyond. Showcasing the “soul food” of Mexico, Oaxaca offers 140 authentic, yet accessible recipes using some of the purest pre-Hispanic and indigenous ingredients available.
Ponche is something I grew up drinking during the holiday season. Every time I smell a freshly made pot, it brings me back to my childhood. My mom would make this often in December when we had family over. Think of it as a warm freshly made fruit punch. My sister and I have now made it a tradition in our respective households. In our home, ponche season begins on Thanksgiving and continues through our January celebrations. Our kids absolutely love this ponche recipe and it’s the perfect drink to bring to any holiday party or winter gathering. Also, I love the fact that you can spike it with rum (or mezcal) and make it a bit more ‘adult-friendly.’ If you have a hard time finding tejocotes, feel free to use baby apples or chopped apricots. You can find tamarind and hibiscus flowers on Amazon.
What is one recipe that is a must-have for your family during the holidays? Do you have a special drink, a recipe from your parents, or a new dish you’ve created with your little ones that makes it to the table every year?
Recipe: Ponche Navideño (Hot Christmas Punch)
This hot fruit punch, traditionally enjoyed over the holiday season throughout Mexico, is a testament to the power of food and memory. Every time I smell or sip ponche, I can’t help but think of the time my cousin lit up a loud firecracker inside our tiny old house in Oaxaca! That Christmas was one of the last times we had a genuine Christmas in Oaxaca with the entire family. When we got to the United States, our holidays went by really quickly because everyone was always working at the family restaurant and all of our extended family lived back in Oaxaca. This version is packed with lots of fruit and sugar cane because chewing on it is my favorite part. This punch resonates with love, family, and memories.
- 1/2 cup (110 g) piloncillo (Mexican-style unrefined brown sugar)
- 1/4 cinnamon stick
- 1/3 cup (10 g) dried hibiscus flowers
- 1 ounce (30 g) tamarind, seeds and skin removed
- 1 cup (170 g) cubed apple
- 1/2 cup (100 g) cubed fresh quince
- 1 cup (100 g) peeled and cored tejocotes
- 1/4 cup (30 g) raisins
- 1/2 cup (65 g) pitted prunes
- 6 ounces (175 g) fresh sugar cane, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces
- 2/3 cup (100 g) cubed fresh guava
- 1⁄2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, combine the piloncillo, cinnamon stick, and 3 quarts (2.8 L) of water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and add the hibiscus, tamarind, apple, quince, tejocotes, raisins, prunes, and sugar cane. Simmer, covered, for another 20 minutes.
Stir in the guava and granulated sugar and turn off the heat. Serve very hot.
Stay tuned for an opportunity to win this cookbook and a Tula Carrier on our Instagram page.