Ingredients

Chia Seeds

With a metallic dark color and mottled skin, Chia seeds are delightfully crunchy. Once you rehydrate them in water, as  the popular Lime based Agua Fresca, they become covered in an irresistible gelatinous layer. No wonder the word chia comes from the náhuatl name chian, which means oily.

Huitlacoche

Whenever it starts pouring down rain in late Spring, I hanker for huitlacoche. A true Mexican delicacy, also called cuitlacoche, it is a form of fungus, similar to some mushrooms, that grows on fresh corn. In the Mexican rainy season, which starts in April (some say March…) and ends sometime in September (some say October…), you can find huitlacoche at its peak.

Chorizo

I grew up eating chorizo in Mexico, and I love it.  It comes in deep-burnt-reddish links of fresh, moist, exotically seasoned ground meat, that once, fried, becomes crisp and filling bites with bold flavors and a thousand uses.

Beans: Black Beans

Beans are a crucial part of any Mexican meal, where the black bean is the most common bean used generally speaking. However, speaking regionally, it is favored in the Southern states and also in Veracruz.  In the northern areas of Mexico, the lighter colored beans such as the Pinto are more common, and in the center…

Beans: Fava Beans

Fava beans have been around for quite a long time. Ancient Egyptians prized them so much that they were buried with them inside of their tombs! Originally native to Africa and southwest Asia, today Favas are cultivated all over the world. Thanks to the Spaniards, Mexicans have been enjoying them since the XVI century, in may different ways.

Guajillo Chile

The Guajillo chile is one of the most commonly used Mexican dried chiles, and it is now widely available in the United States. It is long and pointy, with a beautiful maroon color. Its skin is quite smooth and shinny on the outside, but it is hard and tougher and less pliable than others, like…

Dried Shrimp: Camarón Seco

Dried shrimp are used not only for the Caldo de Camarón, or Shrimp Soup or Broth. They are  also used to make shrimp patties that are then bathed in different mole sauces. Also to prepare tamales, rice, bean and potato dishes.  Even some salsas that used them ground as a seasoning and thickening base.

Tamarind

Tamarind, also called Indian date, is the pod of a tropical tree that is said to have originated in Asia and North Africa. It was brought to Mexico sometime in the 1500’s in the galleons that came from Asia, managed by the Spaniards, that landed in the gorgeous beaches of Acapulco. Now somewhat touristy…

Oaxaca Cheese

Oaxaca cheese is a mild tasting, gently salty, stringy white cheese with a deliciously chewy, full and filling bite. It is made in the same way as Mozzarella cheese. In fact, they taste very similar! Once the curds are formed, they are heated in water, stirred, and heated in water again. Throughout the process, as they are heated and stirred, they are made into very long threads that are pulled once and then again, until the desired consistency is achieved.  Then the long threads are wrapped into balls.