6 Essential Ingredients Found in Traditional Mexican Food

The immense popularity of Mexican food isn’t hidden from anyone. You can find digital food channels filled with recipes of delicious Mexican dishes and restaurants with a wide range of Mexican meals on their menus. The reason behind this fame is that Mexican food entices people of all age groups. The sweet and savory flavors pull a massive audience towards them.

This makes us question – what makes Mexican food distinct from other dishes? With a huge variety of food options out there, what is so special about Mexican foods? The answer is their ingredients.

The ingredients of Mexican food and the way they blend is what makes them stand out. If you have some of these in your pantry, you can spruce up a finger-licking Mexican meal within minutes. Bricia Lopez, who owns restaurants and writes books about Mexican food, and Rick Martínez, a food writer also known for his Mexican cuisine book, were asked about cooking Mexican food. They said it’s important to have common Mexican ingredients in your kitchen to start cooking this cuisine.

If you are trying your hand at Mexican foods and wish to bring some ingredients home, you should invest in the following:

  • Beans

Beans are an important ingredient of the Mexican diet. Refried beans and cowboy beans are two great options that play a huge role in elevating the food flavor. It doesn’t matter if you are serving beans as a side dish or complement your burritos with it, they will surely add a brilliant touch of protein and texture to your meals. 

Simply go for the beans you like. Add the meat of your choice, and you have created a superfood to fuel your body with the required protein amount. Refried beans, in particular, are prepared with lard. This gives them a brilliant flavor profile and thickens the texture. 

  • Avocados

Sliced avocados can be added to almost anything. It doesn’t matter if you are preparing a simple Mexican dish with beans or snacks, using avocados as the topping can add a healthful twist to the meals.

Avocados can also bring a touch of Mexican flavor to simple sandwiches and even salads and ice creams. Sometimes, they are crushed into guacamole to make creamy dips for tacos, nachos, and enchiladas. 

  • Tomatoes

Tomatoes are crucial for Mexican meals, just like many other ingredients. You can use these as toppings or as the primary ingredient in foods. In fact, Mexican food is known for its sauces prepared with tomatoes. Some dishes use diced tomatoes, while others rely on purees. Salsa and condiments prepared with tomatoes can enhance the taste of other ingredients, too.

Different types of tomatoes are used to prepare different dishes. For example, cherry tomatoes are extra sweet and are used to make quick salads or sauces. Meanwhile, beef steak tomato is big and juicy, and used to make pico de gallo.

  • Corn

Corn is one of the main sources of grains when cooking Mexican food. It is often dried and ground into a dough called “masa.” This is then used to make soups, tortillas, and beverages. It is believed that corn was first grown by people in the Mexican state of Oaxaca around 4,000 BCE. For many indigenous tribes in Mexico, corn was not just food. Instead, it was very special and important to them.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that corn is the heart of most Mexican dishes. It is a versatile ingredient used in tortillas, atole, pozole, and numerous other dishes. Serving as the base for many Mexican foods, it is utilized in both sweet and savory preparations.

  • Cheese

Cheese is yet another indispensable ingredient when it comes to Mexican meals. Cheese quesadillas and salads are some examples of where cheese is used. The gooey texture of cheese melts into the dish and brings out incredible taste when combined with other ingredients. Different types of cheese are used in Mexican foods. These include Cotija, Manchego, Anejo, and Asadero. The type of cheese used in food depends on factors like flavors desired and availability.

If you are a fan of cheese but want to maintain the nutritional profile of your foods, you should opt for low-carb cheese quesadillas. It is always best to prepare a wholly nutritional food at home. But, if you wish to dine out, look for the best eateries in your area. For example, if you live in the United States, conducting a little research to find the best Mexican food in Houston or your city can go a long way. It could help you get your hands on the most delicious Mexican food, allowing your taste buds to enjoy!

  • Rice

Rice is an ingredient used in a variety of cuisines worldwide. However, the way it is used in Mexican foods is what sets it apart. Sometimes, it is served as a side dish to bring flavor and color. The use of rice in Mexican foods can be traced back to Spanish colonialism. You can easily prep Mexican Rice by sautéing it with onions, garlic, and tomatoes. It is then seasoned with spices like chilli and cumin to enhance the flavors.

The kind of rice you choose depends on your preferences. Some recipes call for long rice, while others taste delicious with basmati rice. Rice is often served on the side of beans as a staple combo in Mexican cuisine. This duo provides a balanced source of proteins and carbohydrates, creating the foundation for many Mexican meals.

Parting Notes

Mexican cuisine has some of the traditional ingredients that have been used by humankind since the earliest times. With these ingredients in your pantry, you can prep a bunch of dishes. The key is to learn the ratios and correct recipes. On days when you don’t feel like going into the kitchen but want to enjoy Mexican meals, you could opt for take-outs or dine-ins from the best Mexican food place in town.

All in all, there is always a way to enjoy Mexican food!


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