Mexican foods owe their flavor to their traditional condiments. Herbs such as oregano and basil, and spices such as cumin are among them. Garlic is also a popular seasoning in Mexico but no Mexican dish, unless is dessert, is considered finished without adding chili in some fashion.
Ingredients for Mexican cooking
Mexican cuisine would not be what it is without the bite and flavor chili peppers put in. There are several kinds of chilies, and they can be found fresh, dried, or canned. Chili peppers are not equal. They have different degrees of spiciness, ranging from the mild green California chili to the fiercely hot Jalapeño pepper. Chili powder – a mix of ground dried chili and herbs – is also used often, as are small, sweet red pimientos – the Spanish word for chili pepper – used to give color and interest to Mexican dishes.
Beans – frijoles or habichuelas – You'll find and incredible variey of beans in Mexican cuisine. However, red kidney beans and pinto - spotted - beans are the two vareities most used.
Chili peppers – chili o chiles – Fresh, canned or dried. Stock a variety of dried chili peppers, especially Californian, chipotle, ancho and Jalapeño.
Coriander – cilantro – Fresh coriander leaves as garnish, toasted coriander seeds or ground coriander as condiment.
Cumin – comino – Cumin is an important spice in Mexican cuisine.
Lime – lima – Limes are an essential ingredient in many dishes, drinks and as garnish.
Oregano – orégano – For Latin American cooking, use Mexican oregano.
Pumpkin seeds – pepitas – Usually hulled and sold salted -for a snack- or unsalted -for cooking. Pumpkin seeds also come hull on toasted or raw -still easy enough to toast yourself. They are sometimes ground and used as a thickening and flavoring agent or even as a coating, as you would bread crumbs. Raw hulled pumpkin seeds will keep in your pantry but can get rancid, keep them best in your freezer.
Spices and condiments used in Mexican foods
Do you love Mexican food? The spices help give it a one-of-a-kind flavor that you desire. You don’t have to let others do the cooking for you. Learn about these spices used in Mexican foods to help you enjoy your favorite foods whether or not a Mexican restaurant is open.
Cumin is probably one of the most often used spices in Mexican foods. Chalupas, rice dishes and enchiladas are common foods where you’ll find these spices.
Chili peppers are one of the main ingredients in many Mexican dishes. You can use it for meat and vegetables. Add an entire chili pepper to a dish and remove it after it has been cooked, or sprinkle chili powder into your food. Chili powder, including Chipolte, Ancho, Juajillo and Pasilla, are what gives Mexican food the taste you’ve come to enjoy.
Coriander is another spice often used in Mexican foods as well as in Asian and Caribbean recipes. It has a strong taste often found in meat dishes as well as burritos. When you think about Mexican food, you may think of cilantro. This is nothing else than coriander leaf, the leaf of the coriander plant. You can find cilantro in salsa, guacamole, meat and fish dishes.
Oregano can also be found in this type of cuisine; however you’ll most likely use the Mexican variety rather than using Mediterranean oregano. You will often find oregano in dishes using tomatoes.
When making sweet dishes, you can expect to use cloves, cinnamon, anise and cocoa. They may also be used in savory dishes, as in the case with mole which is served with chicken dishes.
Other spices you may find in Mexican dishes includes Epazote, Yucatan spice, Achiote seeds, Amaranthe, Boldo, Hoja Santa as well as honey, agave and vanilla.
It may not always be easy to find an open Mexican restaurant when you’re hungry. If you learn how to mix the spices used in Mexican food, you can begin to create Mexican cuisine that you and your family will love. Break out the cookbooks or find some recipes online to try your hand at preparing delicious Mexican dishes.
Mexican food and cooking
All about Mexican chile peppers