The food of Sonora in Mexico has evolved through indigenous and Spanish influences as well as its unique geography and proximity to the United States. Sonora is in the north-west of Mexico and borders the American States of Arizona and New Mexico. As such, Sonorans are exposed to plenty of imported foods from the Unites States. To the west lies the coastline of the Gulf of California and the border of Baja California Norte where the waters are a good source of seafood including shrimp and sardines. To the east lies the Mexican State of Chihuahua and to the south Sonora shares a border with the Mexican state of Sinaloa. The geography of Sonora state includes the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range which receives the most rainfall in the state, while the interior is arid to semi-arid plains and rolling hills, ideal for raising beef cattle.
Beef and seafood are two popular foods in Sonora. Beef is often cooked over an open flame, and Sonorans prefer secondary cuts such as brisket and skirt. Some popular Sonoran beef dishes are:
Carne Deshebrada – slow cook braised beef, often flank or skirt steak, that is then shredded and used in tacos, tortillas or burritos.
Gordita – a masa based dough that is filled with beef, cheese and other ingredients then baked of fried like a pastie.
Puchero – a type of beef stew originally from Spain that’s cooked with garbanzo beans, sweetcorn, green beans, pumpkin, carrot, potato and cabbage.
Seafood is an important staple for Sonorans, especially along the Gulf of California coast. Seafood is generally cooked in simple dishes like fish tacos, seafood soups, shrimp or squid with rice and shrimp meatballs. Some popular Sonoran seafood dishes are:
Camarones a la Parrilla – shrimp cooked in their shells on the barbeque and served with ample of garlic sauce
Cahuamanta – a typical Mexican seafood soup style dish made with manta ray and shrimp.
Tortillas are popular in Sonoroa but they are mostly the wheat variety and they are made large and paper thin.
Sonora is also known for a local alcoholic drink called Bacanora, named after the town from which originated in the centre of Sonora. It’s made from the agave plant – like mescal and tequila and its flavour sits somewhere in between.
Why not have a go at making your own food of Sonora in Mexico and try a recipe for Carne Deshebrada with your next round of Dona Cholita tortillas.