Where to Find Chiles en Nogada in Houston, Mexico's Most Patriotic Dish - Houston Food Finder (2023)

Mexican Independence Day is one of the biggest celebrations in Mexico. Every year from September 15 to 16 in towns across the country, bells ring out at 11 p.m. as excited crowds watch the reenactment of “El Grito de la Independencia” — the Cry of Dolores — that Father Hidalgo shouted to citizens of Dolores, Mexico in 1810, beginning of Mexico’s 11-year struggle for independence from Spain. In Mexico City, the President rings the original Liberty Bell then recites a speech. After the grite — the cry — the national anthem is sung, followed by fireworks, patriotic speeches, parades and revelry. Mariachi music and cries of “Viva Mexico” continue through the night and the following day. The red, white and green of the Mexican flag can be seen on buildings, people and food, including the most patriotic dish in Mexico: the Chiles en Nogada.

Legend has it that after the war was won in 1821, Agustín de Iturbide, the victorious general, arrived at the Convent of Santa Mónica in Puebla, home to the Clarissa nuns of the Order of Augustinian Recollects. It was August 28, the same day as the feast of Saint Augustine. De Iturbide was presented with a expansive meal, but nearly refused to eat for fear of being poisoned by his enemies. However, he could not refuse a dish, presented in the colors of the Mexican flag. It embraced the seasonal bounty of the region; a roasted poblano pepper, stuffed with picadillo — a mixture of meats, nuts and fruits. The stuffed pepper was coated with a creamy white walnut-based sauce (nogada) and then topped with pomegranate seeds. Modern renditions are sometimes also topped with cilantro and pine nuts.

According to lore, Iturbide cleaned his plate and made the dish famous. It’s still beloved to this day. The town of San Andrés Calpan hosts an annual competition called the Feria del Chile en Nogada to determine who makes the best chiles en nogada. Nearby, poblano farmers like to also grow the traditional and rare fruits that are used in the dish.

There are several restaurants in the Greater Houston area where diners can enjoy Chiles en Nogada. Some put a unique spin on the dish, while others are more traditional. Read on to find out when and where to go, and note that most restaurants only offer this seasonal dish for a limited time.

Ambriza Social Mexican Kitchen, multiple locations: This restaurant with locations in Vintage Park, La Centerra and Towne Lake is offering a traditional version of the dish. Made with a meat-stuffed poblano pepper bathed in the walnut cream sauce known as nogada and garnished with pomegranate seeds, it’s available until further notice. Look for lesser known dishes such as Ceviche Costeño, which is whitefish marinated in coconut, serrano and lime, mixed with shaved red onions, cilantro, and served with a side of plantain chips; or the Pastel Azteca, made by layers of lightly fried tortillas and pulled chicken with poblano sauce, sour cream, Menonita cheese and rajas poblanos.

Arnaldo Richards’ Picos, 3601 Kirby: Chef and owner Arnaldo Richards, who was raised in Monterrey, Mexico before moving to Houston to attend the Hilton School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, pulls influences from all the regions of Mexico for his diverse menu. His Chiles en Nogada Tradicionales is stuffed with pulled pork in a peanut sauce with olives, almonds, raisins and fruits and covered with a creamy walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds. Picos is one of the few restaurants in Houston that serve the dish all year.

Other dishes gleaned from the bounty of Mexico include the Pescado Veracruzana: the catch of the day broiled and topped with Veracruz Sauce (tomatoes, green olives, capers and chiles güeros). From the state of Sinaloa comes Agua Chile de Camaron, marinated shrimp in a spicy garlic, lime juice. Moles and pipiáns are abundant on the menu as well, including Mancha Manteles (which translates as “table-cloth stainer” because it is so dark), pork and chicken with an Oaxacan-style peanut and chile ancho mole, or Duck Two Ways, which has spent time on favorite dishes in Houston lists, features a duck breast in green pipián sauce and duck hindquarter in mole de ciruela.

Caffe di Fioré, 1010 Woodlands Parkway: Looking for Chiles en Nogada in The Woodlands? This restaurant has been a mainstay since 2009, and it’s bringing back this seasonal dish. During the rest of the year, you can find beloved classics such as carne asada, tacos al carbon and the customer-favorite Mole Enchiladas,which is made with chicken, cheese, cream, sesame seeds and mole sauce. For a twist, try the Fried Avocados stuffed with beef or chicken or Grilled Salmon with Signature Creamy Lime Sauce.

Where to Find Chiles en Nogada in Houston, Mexico's Most Patriotic Dish - Houston Food Finder (1)

Caracol, 2200 Post Oak Boulevard, and Hugo’s, 1600 Westheimer: Chiles en Nogada will be available through December at both of these H Town Restaurant Group establishments, where you will always find authentic Mexican dishes in an elegant setting. Chef Hugo Ortega’s stuffing for Chiles en Nogada is made with shredded pork mixed, red and green apples, pears, peaches, plantains, sweet potatoes, almonds and raisins. The stuffed pepper is then blanketed with savory walnut cream sauce and garnished with pomegranate seeds and parsley.

Coastal Mexican dishes that can be enjoyed at Caracol year-round include Langosta Puerto Nuevo, fire roasted lobster with playa la ropa beans and arroz Mexicano. For those who want some turf with their surf, Cañita de Puerco is a slow-braised bacon-wrapped pork shank with mole costeño (a coastal mole made with costeño peppers), Swiss chard, and carrots. The meatless Tamal Azteca con Hongos Y Huitlacoche is a stacked tortilla casserole topped with mushrooms, corn truffles and roasted tomato sauce.

At Hugo’s, patrons can enjoy regional Mexican cuisine such as Carnitas de Pato, duck carnitas with tomatillo sauce, and Chuleton de Cerdo, a Berkshire pork chop over carrot purée with roasted corn salad and cherry mole.

Where to Find Chiles en Nogada in Houston, Mexico's Most Patriotic Dish - Houston Food Finder (2)

Cuchara, 214 Fairview: Co-owner Ana Beaven goes above and beyond with her Chiles en Nogada. It’s her favorite dish, and she takes a lot of pride in serving it just like her grandma who, as a teenager, was taught by the Clarisas nuns (known elsewhere as the Poor Clare Nuns) in their convent in Puebla. Cuchara’s version is served in a traditional Talavera clay plate, and the kitchen staff numbers each chile. Ingredients for the dish are sourced from Mexico. This is the last year they will serve it with acitrón, a sweet, dried fruit from the biznaga cactus, as it’s on the extinction watch list in Mexico. When its short supply of acitrón runs out, Cuchara will substitute candied pineapple from Oaxaca. Year-round, that level of attention is seen in other dishes, such as the Hidalgo-style lamb barbacoa and Tamal Costeño, a pork or chicken tamal with red salsa and hoja santa that is steamed in banana leaves.

Where to Find Chiles en Nogada in Houston, Mexico's Most Patriotic Dish - Houston Food Finder (3)

Fonda Santa Rosa, 9908 Beechnut: The owners of this laid-back establishment for regional Mexican cuisine took inspiration for the restaurant’s menu from Chiles en Nogada. Their stuffing is made with a variety of nuts and fruits. The garnish of pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and cilantro is arranged to resemble the Mexican flag. Similarly handcrafted dishes, such as Enchiladas Tricolor with three chicken enchiladas — one with red sauce, one with green sauce, and the last with mole — are available year round. So is Molcajete Mixto, a signature combination of tender Angus beef, chicken fajitas and chorizo in a spicy morita pepper sauce served with tender nopales, Panela cheese, Mexican onions and cilantro. Save room for the Pastel de Tres Leches, or vanilla cake in three milks.

Where to Find Chiles en Nogada in Houston, Mexico's Most Patriotic Dish - Houston Food Finder (4)

Mandi Cocina Mexicana, 24179 State Highway 249, Tomball: Fans of traditional Mexican fare in Tomball have a source for Chiles en Nogada this autumn. Unlike some places, Mandi Cochina won’t start serving its version of Chiles en Nogada until October. Until then, you can enjoy dishes like Enchiladas Potosinas, crispy house-made tortillas flavored with guajillo peppers folded over cotija cheese and topped with sour cream or Enmoladas, pulled chicken enchiladas in Puebla-style mole, topped with sour cream, red onion and avocado.

Where to Find Chiles en Nogada in Houston, Mexico's Most Patriotic Dish - Houston Food Finder (5)

Tacodeli, 1902 Washington: For the elbows-on-the-table interpretation, try the Chile en Nogada Tacos available at this “farm to taco” spot until October 15. Created by co-owner Roberto Espinosa, the Chile en Nogada Tacos are made with roasted Anaheim chiles stuffed with HeartBrand Beef (from Harwood, Texas) Akaushi picadillo, pomegranate seeds, walnuts and cilantro. The tacos are then topped with a goat cheese sauce made with Cheesemakers chèvre from Cleveland, Texas. The holiday has great meaning to Espinosa who stated in a press release, “Our menu is deeply rooted in Mexican culinary traditions. With Mexican Independence Day being part of our brand history, we set out to create a unique taco in celebration of our heritage.” Guests can also try the Frontera Fundido Chicken Tacos made with grilled chicken breast, jack cheese glazed and sautéed poblano-onion rajas and everyone’s favorite, Esquites, a cup of Mexican street corn mixed with diced red onion, queso fresco, cilantro and bacon bits.

Where to Find Chiles en Nogada in Houston, Mexico's Most Patriotic Dish - Houston Food Finder (6)

Staci Davis



Where are Chiles nogada? ›

The traditional chile en nogada is from Puebla; it is tied to the Mexican independence since it is said they were prepared for the first time to entertain the future emperor Agustín de Iturbide when he came to the city after the signing of the Treaty of Córdoba.

What makes chile en nogada an important Mexican dish? ›

Part Spanish and part indigenous, the plate is an allegory of the complexity of the Mexican people. Its emblematic colors and the myths woven around its birth have made chiles en nogada an icon of patriotic pride.

What does Chiles en Nogada mean in English? ›

The word Nogada comes from the Spanish word Nogal, which means walnut tree. So, literally, Chiles en Nogada translates in English to chiles with walnuts. The dish is very sophisticated, with layer upon layer of spicy, sweet, and sour flavors.

Who invented Chiles en Nogada? ›

At this feast, the Augustinian nuns of the Santa Monica convent utilized in-season ingredients and created the dish we now know as Chiles en Nogada. A relatively simple dish to make, Chiles en Nogada has become of of Mexico's most patriotic dishes.

What is the season for Chiles en Nogada? ›

Every year from August through December, restaurants feature Chiles en Nogada, perhaps the most emblematic of traditional Mexican dishes.

What is Nogada sauce made of? ›

Nogada refers to a sauce made from nuts. Traditionally, the “nuez de castilla,” or walnuts, are soaked in hot water, and the skin is peeled in order to make the walnut sauce.

How much does Chiles en Nogada cost? ›

Some restaurants sell a plate of chiles en nogada for $13.50, while others can charge from $14 to $25. Brenda Canto usually cooks the dish and participates in the chiles en nogada festival in Calpan, Puebla.

What is the national dish of Mexico? ›

Mole poblano has its origin story in the 17th century and is considered to be the national dish of Mexico - a point of pride. "It's very traditional. It's good to eat on Cinco de Mayo, everyone makes it.

What flavor is chile en nogada? ›

It also combines three distinct flavors: sweet, sour, and salty, with a touch of spice that results in a dish that diners either love or hate. When it was served to Anthony Bourdain, he called it "too sweet" and said that he didn't like the taste of meat with cinnamon.

What is the Mexican Independence Day dish? ›

Chiles en nogada is a special dish in Mexico eaten around the month of September to celebrate Independence Day. This summer marked 200 years since its creation.

How do you pronounce Chiles en Nogada? ›

  1. chee. - lehs. ehn. noh. - gah. - dah.
  2. tʃi. - les. en. no. - ɣa. - ða.
  3. chi. - les. en. no. - ga. - da.

Who brought cumin to Mexico? ›

When Spanish settlers first planted cumin in the Americas, one of the last legs of cumin's journey began. By about 1600, cumin was being grown in what is now New Mexico; quickly it became an integral part of the regional cuisine.

Who invented chile rellenos? ›

Puebla Nuns & Mexican Independence

In essence, the chile relleno has a strong association with the Puebla. There is even a particular kind of chile relleno, called the chile en nogada, that Puebla nuns are said to have invented.

What wine goes with Chiles en Nogada? ›

Your Mexican Wine Option: we tried several wines with Chile en Nogada this September but we came back time and time again to Bodega Origen Rosatus as the perfect pairing. A dry Malbec and Cinsault blend rosé with a slight bitter note at the finish, this wine brings all the elements of the dish together beautifully.

What month are Hatch chiles in season? ›

Hatch Peppers only have one growing season, August - September. Do your taste buds a favor and hatch them while you can! Looking for more pepper varieties?

What popular Mexican dish uses stuffed poblano chiles? ›

What are chile rellenos? Chile rellenos (or 'stuffed peppers' in English) are a traditional Mexican dish made from roasted poblano peppers stuffed with cheese, then coated in a fluffy egg batter and fried until golden brown.

What are the best Mexican chiles? ›

Mexican chillies
  • Poblano (Ancho) Poblanos are dark green and usually quite large. ...
  • Jalapeño (Chipotle) One of the most commonly found chillies around the world, Jalapeños are super versatile as they can be used fresh, roasted, pickled or smoked. ...
  • Pasilla. ...
  • Guajillo. ...
  • Serrano. ...
  • Habanero.

What is the Holy Trinity of Mexican cooking? ›

In Mexican cuisine, it's traditional to use combinations of chiles to make abuelita's famous salas and fingerlicking dishes. Traditional combinations include the Holy Trinity of Chiles: Ancho, Arbol and Guajillo.

What is the most popular chili pepper in Mexico? ›

Árbol chilies (often called by their Spanish name, chiles de árbol) are perhaps the most popular of the hot chilies in Mexican cooking. They have a clean, sharp flavour with a healthy but not overwhelming level of heat.

What is the most famous Chilean dish? ›

1. Pastel de Choclo. Chile's most iconic dish is based on a variant of corn called choclo, which is slightly sweet.

What is a popular breakfast in Chile? ›

In Chile, breakfast is a light meal of coffee or tea and two types of bread – marraqueta and hallulla – which are accompanied with jam, butter, cheese or jelly.

What is the national dish of chili? ›

Cazuela. This soup is made with chicken, beef or lamb, and you may also find squash, corn cob or potatoes in it. It's as hearty as it sounds, a good, warming dish, flavored with peppers, chili, and corn. Made with chicken, it's called cazuela de ave and is Chile's national dish.

What are the 2 most popular foods in Mexico? ›

Like tacos and burritos, enchiladas are among the most popular Mexican foods outside of Mexico. They consist of rolled corn tortillas stuffed with a variety of fillings like meat, beans, cheese, potatoes, and vegetables before being drenched in a sauce.

What is the most eaten food in Mexico? ›

Corn is the most eaten staple among Mexican consumers. It is the base ingredient of tortillas, a type of slim flatbread and, one of the most representative and widely consumed food products in the country, used for the preparation of both tacos and quesadillas.

What is sour cream in Mexico? ›

What is Mexican Crema? Mexican Crema is a creamy and slightly tangy condiment very similar to sour cream. It's thicker and richer than American sour cream, but not as thick and rich as French crème fraîche. It's often used as a finishing touch to Mexican dishes like tacos, enchiladas and mixed into soups.

What are dried New Mexico chiles called? ›

Red chile ristras are the strung pods of dried red chiles that you see displayed near arches, doors and windows all over New Mexico. Serving as a symbol of welcome, ristras are an iconic decoration in New Mexico, especially during the harvest months and holidays.

Is New Mexico chile the same as guajillo? ›

Are New Mexico Chiles the Same as Guajillo Chiles. While both are from the same botanical family, Capsicum Annuum, Guajillo Chiles have a different flavor profile (a bit smokier tartness) and packs more heat 2,500-5,000 SHU.

What are the 4 meals in Mexico? ›

Breakfast is desayuno, your 'proper', heartier breakfast/ brunch is more of an almuerzo, whereas lunch is comida (hence the abundance of comida corrida places that only serve food from around 1 p.m.-4 p.m.) and dinner is cena.

What is the most eaten food on Independence Day? ›

Burgers (85%), steak (80%), hot dogs (79%), chicken (73%) are the most popular foods for the grill. Every 4th of July, 150 million hot dogs are consumed in the U.S.

What is the most popular food on Independence Day? ›

1. Barbecues. Arguably the most famous 4th of July food tradition is the all-American barbecue, which brings many American families and friends together around a grill. In fact, more than 74 million Americans will plan to barbecue for this holiday.

Do you pronounce the D in Almond? ›

Both al-mond and am-end are correct pronunciations of the nut. It even says that ahl-mend is an acceptable pronunciation. It looks like we can all say the word how we like according to our accents.

Do you pronounce the k in knife? ›

The letter ⟨k⟩ is normally silent (i.e. it does not reflect any sound) when it precedes an ⟨n⟩ at the beginning of a word, as in “knife”, and sometimes by extension in other positions.

Why do Americans put cumin in Mexican food? ›

Along with chili peppers, cumin is the seasoning most people tend to reach when making “Mexican” food. However, cumin is not a traditional Mexican spice. Cumin was introduced to chili con carne in San Antonio and was another staple used to set the cuisine apart from the food found south of the border.

What is the most used spice in world? ›

Black pepper is the most sold spice in the world. It is one of the oldest known spices and has been used by humans for over 5,000 years. Many cultures have their own uses for pepper, but it is especially popular in Indian and Southeast Asia cuisines.

Why do people put cumin in Mexican food? ›

Mexican Spices: Cumin

It has a bitter, somewhat toasty taste that can't be replaced by most other spices; this makes cumin a quintessential Mexican spice. Cumin is frequently a flavor used in taco seasonings.

Are chile rellenos good for you? ›

Worst: Chile Relleno

While the main ingredient here -- a chili pepper -- is healthy, this dish is anything but. That's because the pepper is stuffed with cheese, coated in batter, and deep-fried in oil.

What is the difference between a chile relleno and chile poblano? ›

The big difference between a chile relleno and a chile poblano is that chile relleno is a recipe for a Mexican entrée and chile poblano is not a recipe, but simply a fresh poblano chile pepper, a large, relatively mild chile pepper with a deep green color.

What does chili relleno mean in English? ›

The chile relleno (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈtʃile reˈʝeno], literally "stuffed chile") is a dish in Mexican cuisine that originated in the city of Puebla. In 1858, it was described as a "green chile pepper stuffed with minced meat and coated with eggs". Chile relleno. Chiles rellenos.

What is the name of the region that produces chilies in China? ›

Guizhou is one of the largest chili production and sales bases in China. An exotic plant species like the tomato, chilies are called "haijiao" by many locals, which literally means "sea chili."

Is Chile Guajillo and New Mexico the same? ›

Are New Mexico Chiles the Same as Guajillo Chiles. While both are from the same botanical family, Capsicum Annuum, Guajillo Chiles have a different flavor profile (a bit smokier tartness) and packs more heat 2,500-5,000 SHU.

Are there any chilis native to Asia? ›

Chilies are not native to Asia, Africa, Europe, or Australia, so it's not as if cooks in Thailand or India have always been able to go out to the garden or field and grab some.

Which city is known as City of chillies? ›

Guntur is called as the 'Chilli city' of India. Guntur is a famous city in Andhra Pradesh which is globally renowned for its chilli cultivators. They are the main producers of varieties of chillies in India which are exported all over the world.

Who is the largest producer of chilli in the world? ›

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, India remained the top producer of dry chillies in 2020, with the country producing over 17 lakh tonnes of the spice.

Which is hotter guajillo or ancho? ›

Which is hotter, the guajillo or the ancho? The guajillo pepper is hotter than even the hottest anchos despite being relatively mild. Ancho chilies range from 1,000 to 1,500 on the Scoville scale, placing them in the mild range of hot peppers.

Why do New Mexicans hang chiles? ›

Chile Ristras of New Mexico

Ristras are sometimes used for decoration, and are said to bring good health and good luck. More often, they are hung up to dry for later cooking and eating.

Which is hotter guajillo or chipotle? ›

Chipotle peppers are simply dried jalapeños (2,500 to 8,000 SHU), so the guajillo shares a near equal spiciness. Compared to the spice rack staple cayenne powder (30,000 to 50,000 SHU), the guajillo is 6 to 25 times milder than the (often) spiciest spice in your cupboard.

What is chili with beans called? ›

Chili con carne
A bowl of chili con carne served with tortilla chips
Alternative namesChili, Chilli
Main ingredientsChili peppers, meat, and often tomatoes and kidney beans
VariationsVegetarian chili, chili verde, white chili
Cookbook: Chili con carne Media: Chili con carne
2 more rows

What chiles are native to Mexico? ›

Mexican chillies
  • Poblano (Ancho) Poblanos are dark green and usually quite large. ...
  • Jalapeño (Chipotle) One of the most commonly found chillies around the world, Jalapeños are super versatile as they can be used fresh, roasted, pickled or smoked. ...
  • Pasilla. ...
  • Guajillo. ...
  • Serrano. ...
  • Habanero.

Are chillies good for you? ›

According to a new report, chili pepper in your diet could lower your risk of dying of cancer or cardiovascular disease, and could also promote longevity.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Catherine Tremblay

Last Updated: 01/21/2023

Views: 6239

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (47 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Catherine Tremblay

Birthday: 1999-09-23

Address: Suite 461 73643 Sherril Loaf, Dickinsonland, AZ 47941-2379

Phone: +2678139151039

Job: International Administration Supervisor

Hobby: Dowsing, Snowboarding, Rowing, Beekeeping, Calligraphy, Shooting, Air sports

Introduction: My name is Catherine Tremblay, I am a precious, perfect, tasty, enthusiastic, inexpensive, vast, kind person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.