Tex-Mex was the term writers used in referring to the emerging hybridized cuisine whipped up by the early Tejanos living in Texas. The dishes became popular during the 1970, to which Tex-Mex dishes were usually refried beans cooked with a consistency as smooth as pancake batter.
Carne con chiles were spiced with powdered spices and stock, instead of whole dried red chilies. Tex-Mex fajitas did not call for skirt steak, as any grilled meat will do, but with lots of cheese.
The Tex-Mex culinary creations of the Tejanos in Texas was so well-liked, its popularity spread to other border states; later reaching Southwestern regions and eventually spreading to the rest of America, as well as Canada.
However, the trend began to change in Mexican-American cooking in the early 1900s, when restaurants started adapting Mexican dishes in their truest sense.
Adán Medrano a famous Texas-born chef and writer, came up with the idea of distinguishing the popular Tex Mex food as a regional Mexican culinary creation with Texan distinctions. His first research on the history of Tex-Mex food also became his first cookbook, entitled “Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage in Recipes,” which was published in 2014.
Chef Medrano wanted to come up with a better term after learning that Mexican cuisine are distinguished by regions, such as the Oaxacan Mexican and the Jaliscan Mexican. After realizing that he had basically grown up in his own regional Mexican cuisine, Chef Medrano asked
“Why not call it Texas Mexican?”
Distinctions of Texas Mexican Cuisine from Other Native Mexican Dishes
Texas Mexican dishes often use ingredients not typically added in native Mexican dishes, but use some of the common Mexican ingredients. Any kind of meat not just the steak skirt of beef as well as beans, peppers and other spices like cumin can be added to flour tortillas.
Chef Medrano mentions dishes like poached chicken with corn and striped green squash, or the sopa fideo, which is a tomato-noodle soup. There are the simple dishes like beef-and-potato stew or ground beef picadillo, both spiced with what Chef Medrano calls the Tex-Mex version of the Cajun paste made from garlic, black peppercorn and cumin.