… dished up by the team from Capsicum Culinary Studio

Friday, September 16 marks Mexican Independence Day, a fiesta-friendly day celebrating Mexico’s declaration of independence from Spain in 1810. In Mexico, and indeed all over the world, the occasion is filled with national pride, colourful parades, mariachi concerts and food, food, and more food.

People of Mexican heritage around the globe commemorate this important event in their country’s history when a brave priest in the village of Dolores rang his church bell and delivered a powerful speech that set the War of Independence from Spain in motion. Even the President of Mexico participates by ringing that same bell — now over 200 years old — live on TV the night before the big celebration.

And while celebrations in South Africa are likely to be a little more muted, there’s still the opportunity to throw a themed lunch or dinner party, complete with sombreros, tequila cocktails and delicious Mexican dishes.

The team at Capsicum Culinary Studio suggests trying out some of these recipes.

Pozole (serves 6)


500g pork shoulder

2 garlic cloves, chopped

10ml cumin powder

1 onion, chopped

20ml oil

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp salt

½ tsp oregano

600g chick peas

400ml pork broth, from cooking pork shoulder

1 fresh jalapenos, chopped (optional)


Place the pork in a large saucepan and just cover with lightly salted water. Add ½ of the chopped onion, ½ of the chopped garlic as well as the pepper, cumin and oregano. Bring to a boil over medium heat, skim off any foam that rises, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove meat and reserve the broth. Sauté the remaining ½ chopped onion and garlic in oil until translucent. Add the remaining spices and stir. Cut the pork into bite size pieces and add to the pan. Stir in the chick peas, pork broth (if there is not enough pork broth add about 2-4 cups chicken stock), green chilies and jalapenos (optional).

Simmer on low heat, covered, for 45 to 60 minutes until the meat and chick peas are tender and the chilies and onions are well blended into the broth. Serve in soup bowls and garnish with sliced radishes, chopped coriander and lime wedges.

Quinoa, Beans, Corn Avo and Rice Salad


2 cups cooked quinoa

1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 can sweetcorn

1 red onion, chopped

1 avocado, chopped

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 red pepper

¼ cup fresh coriander, chopped

For the dressing

¾ cup olive oil

⅓ cup red wine vinegar

1 tbs chili powder

2 cloves garlic, mashed

½ tsp sea salt

½ tsp ground black pepper

¼ tsp cayenne pepper


Mix the quinoa, pinto beans, kidney beans, corn, avo, red onion, brown rice, red bell pepper, and cilantro in a large serving bowl. Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, chili powder, garlic, salt, black pepper, pour over the quinoa mixture and toss to coat. Cover bowl with clingfilm and refrigerate for two hours to allow flavours to blend. Toss salad before serving.

Elote (serves 4)

Elote (pronounced eh-loh-tay) is Mexican street corn that has a sweet and savoury, tangy and spicy flavour all at once. It is the perfect side dish for any Mexican-inspired meal or your next braai!


4 mealies

¼ cup mayonnaise

1½ tsp lime juice

½ teaspoon chili powder, plus more for sprinkling

Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional, for extra heat)

¼ teaspoon sea salt

½ cup feta cheese

2 tbs fresh coriander, finely chopped


Par-boil the mealies and then place on the braai. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lime juice, chili powder, cayenne, and salt and mix until combined. In a separate bowl, mix the cheese and cilantro. Set both bowls aside. When the mealies are ready, remove from the braai, place on a large plate and brush the mayonnaise mixture all over each one. The sprinkle the feta mixture all over, turning the mealies as necessary. Sprinkle a pinch or two of additional chili powder lightly over the corn for a little added heat. Serve warm with a wedge of lime. 

Frozen Lemon Margaritas

Ingredients (per glass)

60ml tequila

30ml Cointreau

2 large lemons, squeezed

1 cup ice

1 tbsp coarse salt

1 tbsp agave syrup


Pour the juice from 2 large lemons into a blender and add the ice, tequila, agave syrup, Cointreau and a pinch of salt and blend until smooth. Add more ice if needed and blend again. Pour salt into a round, shallow saucer, slide a slice of lemon around the rim of a glass then dip into the salt so the whole rim is coated with salt. Pour in the frozen mix, garnish with a slice of lemon and serve!