Mexican Food Glossary
A spicy, dark-red sauce made from ground chiles, spices, herbs and vinegar. Typically used as a marinade or a serving sauce. Can be purchased in supermarkets in a can.
A reddish brown to almost black dried Poblano chile about 4 inches in length. Moderately hot and smoky in flavor. Used in a variety of sauces and stews.
The base of all great guacamole. An avocado is a pear-shaped tropical fruit with a single, large pit. The "best" and easiest to use is the Hass variety which has a rough dark skin. A ripe avocado will be a little soft when pressed with your thumb. Can be eaten plain or with a sprinkle of salt. Often used as a topping in Mexican dishes.
Black beans are commonly used in a variety of Mexican dishes and dips. These beans are readily available in grocery stores.
A delicious portable meal on the go consisting of a large flour tortilla wrapped around a filling of meat, refried beans, rice or cheese in any combination.
Raw white fish, marinated and 'cooked' in lemon or lime juice. Served as a dip or side dish.
A large green chile stuffed with cheese, coated with an egg batter and fried.
Chile Verde ("Green Chile")
This is a stew-like combination of pork, jalapenos, and spices.
A dried, smoked jalapeño pepper commonly added to stews and sauces. It has a smoky, sweet flavor which is often used in adobe sauces.
Mexican-style Chorizo is a pork or beef sausage, sold either in links or in bulk. It is usually seasoned with chiles, garlic or paprika and used in many Mexican dishes. It is often enjoyed with eggs and potatos in the morning. Is also delicious crumbled into soups, stews and beans.
An herb with a very distinct flavor and smell. The leave has an orange-like taste. It is a common ingredient and garnish in Mexican cooking. Often used in salsas and soups. Also known as Chinese parsley or Coriander.
A round, cast-iron, flat griddle used for cooking and warming tortillas.
A pungent spice commonly used in Mexican dishes. Available in seed and ground form. Has a nutty flavor and aroma. Used in dishes such as chili and tamales. Also known as cumin.
The outer part of an ear of corn. Dried corn husk is used as a "tamale wrapper". Dried corn husks are softened in warm water and then used to hold the masa (tamale dough) and tamale filling while the tamale is steamed. Once the tamale is cooked, the corn husk is peeled off to eat the tamale. The grooves of the corn husk give the tamale a wonderful texture.
Crema fresca casera
A sweet liquid whipping cream.
A cream similar to whipping cream in fat content. Available in a sweet and liquid form like whipping cream, or tart and thick form like crème fraiche.
Crema Mexicana agria
A salty cream similar to sour cream with a 15-20 percent fat content.
A pungent spice commonly used in Mexican dishes. Available in seed and ground form. Has a nutty flavor and aroma. Used in dishes such as chili and tamales. Also known as comino.