The Flavor of Mexican Christmas: Romeritos
The herb rosemary is the star of this cherished Mexican Christmas dish. Though economical, the cost of this simple traditional meal is more than a day’s wage for many families.
December 20, 2019 - Mexico
|(photo credit https://www.lamichoacanameatmarket.com/receta/romeritos/)|
Mexico has a wide variety of dishes, but none as specific to the Christmas season as Romeritos, or ‘little rosemary’ in English. It's one of the cheapest meals that most Mexican families can afford, but unfortunately not all.
In 2019 the Mexican government established a minimum wage of $176.72 Mexican pesos (US$9.23) per workday; however, for the core of Mexico’s labor market (the primary sector), employees often do not receive even half of the mandated minimum wage.
Local newspaper El Economista recently reported, “Farmers only receive $33.00 pesos ($1.72 USD) per workday and some days they don't even get paid.” Most biological parents of our NPH children work in the primary sector. The wage they receive isn't enough for them to buy food for their families, not even the dietary staples of beans, rice, and tortillas.
This time of year, the biological families of our children don't have enough money to buy ingredients for special Christmas meals. Here is the recipe for Romeritos, along with the cost for each ingredient. The total cost of this dish, that serves a family of four, is more than a day’s wage for many Mexicans.
Recipe for Romeritos or Christmas Rosemary
2 cups red almond mole (US$4.17)
4 cups chicken broth (US$0.21)
1 kilogram rosemary, washed (US$1.30)
200 grams dried shrimp powder (US$2.61)
4 eggs (US$0.52)
2 cups oil (US$0.78)
6 strips nopal cactus (US$0.97)
4 potatoes, diced and cooked (US$0.63)
salt to taste (US$0.78)
Total cost of the meal US$11.97
Fill a pot with water. Salt the water and boil the rosemary for a few minutes. Quickly remove the rosemary and plunge it into an ice bath. Set aside. Repeat steps with nopal. Set aside.
To make pancakes, separate egg whites and egg yolks. Beat egg whites and add yolks while stirring. Add shrimp powder. Mix carefully to maintain the volume of the egg whites. Heat oil in a pan and pour batter into the pan. Shape pancakes with the help of two spoons. Cook until golden brown on both sides. Remove pancakes and blot them on absorbent paper. Set aside.
Place mole in a bowl. Mix until a paste is formed. Add a tablespoon of oil to a saucepan and fry the mole. Pour in the chicken broth. Stir to dissolve thoroughly. Cook over medium heat until sauce thickens. Add nopal and rosemary. Mix well. Add potatoes. Continue mixing carefully. Add salt and cook for 25 minutes. Serve with shrimp pancakes on the side.
Prepare this savory dish at home and surprise your family this Christmas. It’s delicious—a little salty, but we’re sure you’ll enjoy it.
Linette Gómez and Sofia Estrada