The Ultimate Guide to Authentic Mexican Spices
In El Paso, you can walk into almost any household and be overwhelmed by the delicious aromas of a Mexican dish in the works. If it weren’t for all the spices, we have now, Mexican food (and many other kinds of cuisine) wouldn’t be as popular as it is today! So which spices exactly are the foundation of great-tasting Mexican dishes? We discuss the most widely-used staples here.
Anise is a seed to a plant native to the Mediterranean and Southwest Asia. Often, its flavor is compared to licorice, fennel, or tarragon. It is described to be sweet and mildly spicy. Anise is often used to make:
- Pan dulce (sweet bread)
- Anise cookies
- Other pastries or sweet dishes
The spice also pairs well with other sweet spices, including cinnamon and vanilla, which are also popularly used in Mexican cuisine and is included in dishes provided by specialty Mexican food suppliers.
Several kinds of chiles are used in Mexican cuisine. Some of the most popular fresh chiles include:
- Serrano peppers
In fact, many of these fresh chiles are used to make chile powder and seasoning. Although, it is also possible to find chile powder that is 100% dried Poblano chile, usually known as ancho chili powder.
The seeds that come from the cilantro plant (also widely used in Mexican cuisine), coriander is a versatile spice. Much like cilantro, it is described as a sweet, spicy, citrusy, and floral spice. It pairs well with the following spices:
- Black pepper
It is mostly used to flavor and intensify other Mexican spices in dishes that are heavy with meat, specifically beef. It also acts as a great seasoning for caldos or soups.
One of the biggest staples known to Mexican cuisine, cumin is a spice that can be found in several traditional Mexican dishes. While more prevalent in Tex-Mex dishes, it still makes a great spice to flavor sauces and stews. Its bitter and toasty flavor adds a unique taste to many dishes. But when using cumin, it is important to remember that a little goes a long way, as it can easily overwhelm a dish.
Garlic and Onion
Garlic and onion are used in many ways in traditional Mexican food and in dishes provided by specialty Mexican food providers. Used both raw and as seasonings, garlic and onion are essential staples for creating traditional Mexican dishes. Although, it is always recommended to use fresh garlic if possible. Garlic makes a great spice to flavor meat and soups. And, of course, onion is perfect for sauteeing.
Most people are quick to think oregano is exclusively found in Italian dishes, but on the contrary, oregano can be found everywhere. In fact, many people consider oregano a must when achieving traditional Mexican food. There is also “Mexican oregano”, which is supposed to be much more aromatic and citrus-scented than the European-based oregano that is popular in Italian cuisine.
Paprika is one of the oldest spices used in Mexican food. It originated in central Mexico, where it has been used to season dishes for many generations. It was introduced to European countries, such as Spain and Hungary, and was quickly adopted into their cuisine.
With a sweet, savory taste, paprika offers a subtle smokiness to just about any dish. It is excellent as:
- A meat rub
- Vegetable seasoning
- Garnish on guacamole
- And much more
Take Your Cooking to the Next Level with Productos Real
Productos Real is one of the few Mexican specialty food suppliers providing El Paso with the most authentic and fresh food items. Now that you understand some of the authentic Mexican spices get fresh meats and produce from us and taste these amazing flavors for yourself. Contact us by calling (915) 594-4488 to learn more.