Hampstead Garden Suburb chef cooks up authentic Mexican dishes

Some of Karla Zazueta's signature dishes

Some of Karla Zazueta's signature dishes - Credit: Archant

Blogger Karla Pinedo Zazueta tells Tal Fox how she loves to share home Mexican cooking through classes, pop ups and tasty recipes

When Karla Pinedo Zazueta first moved to London 14 years ago from California she missed the culinary delights of her Mexican background.

The mum of two, whose father was an excellent cook, caught attention in 2015 with her Instagram account, sharing the food she serves up in her Hampstead Garden Suburb home.

Now she posts regular recipes on her blog mexicanfoodmemories.co.uk and shares her home cooking via workshops, classes and breakfast pop ups.

Some are at her home or she can come round and teach you how to cook tortillas, salsa and tamales.

“I’m into teaching people about authentic Mexican food not what you usually find in restaurants,” she says.

“I have a list of things people might be interested in learning how to make such as Barbacoa - lamb stew - chicken dishes or tamales; little parcels with special corn dough inside.”

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Sometimes customers ask for dishes that aren’t authentic.

“People often want to learn to make pulled pork but that’s not very Mexican so I explain we have a similar dish that’s made with pork. I teach them how to make that and you eat it in tacos.”

Her favourite recipe is a pork dish with Mexican spices eaten in a corn tortilla.

But she adds: “Proper Mexican food isn’t spicy at all. We have spicy salsa but it’s up to you if you want to add heat to your food. “It makes me laugh that everyone who meets me asks if I like chilli. I do, but not because I’m Mexican.”

Most Thursday’s she has a breakfast club in her home serving coffee pan dulce and tortillas. Her next venture is a supper club called Cooking Comadres.

“Mexican women living in the UK come and cook in my house, we create a menu then I write it on my blog.

“Since I moved to London I have seen how Mexican food has evolved. Now you can get hold of more original ingredients.

“Most you need are easily available in the UK or I try to find something closest to the real ingredient.”

One item on Karla’s family menu is also gathering familiarity in London.

“There’s a part of Mexico where they eat insects so I bring home crickets every time I go home to Mexico and we eat them like you would popcorn.”

Just as her dad made her eat everything, she says: “I tell my kids, if you haven’t tried it you can’t really say you don’t like it.”