Celebrating Cinco de Mayo Through Food

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo Through Food

(Credit: Eduardo Verdugo/Associated Press)

Neha Sunkara '21, Food and Wellness Editor

Cinco de Mayo, a festival that celebrates the Battle of Puebla where the Mexican triumphed over Napoleon III in 1862, is on May 5! During Cinco de Mayo, a lot of good food is eaten, so here are some recipes for Mexican food typically eaten on Cinco De Mayo. I hope you like them and try them out! 

Also, check out this link to the Mavs Make Art Challenge. It is about how to celebrate Cinco de Mayo through making art, or in this case masks!


Easy White Queso Dip:



  • 12 ounces evaporated milk (1 can)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 lb sliced white american cheese, then chop into small squares, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons canned jalapenos chopped, or chopped green chiles
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (you could also use cumin if you prefer that taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
  • Chopped cilantro tomatoes, and jalapenos for garnish


  1. Heat evaporated milk over medium/high heat in a small saucepan. Stir in the cornstarch and whisk to combine.
  2. Once simmering (bring to JUST before boil…when it starts bubbling up the sides it’s ready), reduce heat to low immediately.
  3. Immediately stir in the cheese in batches, starting with the white american cheese. As you stir in the cheese, increase heat to medium/low and whisk CONSTANTLY while the cheese melts. Once each batch is melted/creamy, add more. Don’t stop stirring, you have to whisk the entire time while adding cheese.
  4. Once done with the white American, add in the shredded fontina or mozzarella. Again, whisk CONSTANTLY while the cheese melts, ensuring you have a creamy blend. If you prefer the cheese a bit thicker, add a bit more of the mozzarella. 
  5. Once all the cheese is melted, stir in the jalapenos, chili powder, nutmeg, red pepper, and salt and pepper.
  6. If you want the queso to be browned like in my pictures, pour the queso into a small nonstick skillet and place in the oven. Broil for 3-4 minutes or until cheese begins to bubble and brown (optional)
  7. Top with cilantro, tomatoes, and more jalapenos if desired.
  8. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

(Dip can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Microwave with a splash of half and half or milk to keep it creamy)

Chicken Enchiladas with Salsa Verde:



For the Filling:

  • 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 medium yellow onion, halved
  • 1 garlic head, split in half
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 4 cups chicken stock or water
  • 1 cup salsa verde (recipe below)
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 ounces (about 1½ cups) Monterey Jack cheese, grated

For the Salsa Verde:

  • 4 large poblano chiles
  • 2½ pounds tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into ½-inch rounds
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 serrano chiles, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • ½ cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • Kosher salt, to taste

For the Enchiladas:

  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • Twelve 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 ounces (about 2 cups) Cotija cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup crema or sour cream
  • 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 3 radishes, thinly sliced


  1. Make the filling: In a medium saucepan, add the chicken, onion, garlic and salt. Cover with chicken stock or water and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the chicken and let cool. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it until you have 3 cups. Set aside.
  2. While the chicken is cooking, make the salsa verde: Position the oven rack to the upper level and turn on the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place the poblanos, tomatillos and onion rounds onto the prepared baking sheet. Broil, flipping once, until the chiles, onions and tomatillos are lightly charred and the tomatillos begin to burst, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. Place the poblanos in a bowl and cover them with plastic wrap; let them sit for 10 to 15 minutes to steam. Stem, peel and seed the poblanos.
  4. In a food processor, combine the cooked poblanos, tomatillos and onion with the garlic, serrano chiles, cilantro and cumin. Season with salt and pulse until a rough sauce has formed. You don’t want the sauce to be too smooth. Makes 4½ cups. Set 1 cup of the salsa verde aside. Pour the remaining salsa verde into a saucepan and keep it warm over low heat.
  5. In a mixing bowl, combine the reserved 1 cup of salsa verde with the heavy cream and Monterey Jack cheese. Add the shredded chicken, then season with salt and toss to coat.
  6. Make the enchiladas: Preheat the oven to 375°. In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, spread 1 cup of the warm salsa verde on the bottom in an even layer.
  7. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add the canola oil. Fry 1 tortilla at a time, flipping once until pliable, 5 to 10 seconds.
  8. Using tongs, remove the tortilla and allow the excess oil to drip off before dipping the tortilla into the warm salsa verde. Fill the tortilla with 2 tablespoons of the chicken filling. Roll the tortilla into a cylinder and transfer it to the baking dish, seam-side down. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling. Pour the remaining salsa verde over the enchiladas. Cover with foil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes.
  9. While the enchiladas are baking, in a small bowl, combine the red onions and red wine vinegar. Season with salt and allow to macerate for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  10. Remove the enchiladas and top with the Cotija cheese, crema, cilantro, radishes and the pickled red onions. Serve warm.




  • 1 cup water
  • 2 ½ tablespoons white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 quarts oil for frying
  • ½ cup white sugar, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine water, 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in flour until mixture forms a ball.
  2.  Heat oil for frying in a deep-fryer or deep skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Pipe strips of dough into hot oil using a pastry bag. Fry until golden; drain on paper towels
  3.  Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Roll drained churros in cinnamon and sugar mixture.

Neha Sunkara ’21, Food and Wellness Editor