What The Colors Of Chiles En Nogada Symbolize

If you are not familiar with chiles en nogada, then you are missing out. This colorful dish is "among the finest of Mexico's iconic dishes," according to Texas Monthly, and is a Mexican dish you need to try. It consists of poblano chiles stuffed with a picadillo of ground beef, pork, and a finely chopped assortment of fruits and vegetables, which is then covered in nogada (a walnut-based cream sauce) and topped with pomegranate seeds and fresh parsley. It's a delightful and complex mix of sweet and savory flavors and textures, and a visual feast of green (parsley), white (nogada), and red (pomegranate).

And if that color combination sounds familiar, it's because it also happens to be the colors of the Mexican flag. It's one of the reasons that chiles en nogada is considered by many to be the national dish of Mexico (via NYT Cooking). The dish is also typically served to observe Mexican Independence Day.

The dish has patriotic origins

Although there are different stories of how the dish originated, one of the most accepted versions relates to Mexican independence. NYT Cooking reports that in August 1821, after signing the treaty that gave Mexico its independence from Spain, the general of the Mexican army, Agustín de Iturbide, stopped at a convent in Puebla. It was there that the nuns served him a dish made up of "the best of the late-season harvest," including poblano chiles, walnuts, apples, peaches, and pears (via NYT Cooking).

According to Texas Monthly, cooking and eating the dish in season is key, and September is when walnuts ripen. Many other ingredients are only available at the end of the summer, such as apples, pears, peaches, and pomegranates (via The Curious Mexican). That's why chiles en nogada is typically served in late August and September, and especially during Mexican Independence Day in September (via TripSavvy), though Smithsonian Magazine recommends it as an authentic dish from Puebla that can be served for Cinco de Mayo as well. So the next time you want an authentic and colorful taste of Mexico, try some chiles en nogada.