What top five ingredient categories will you find in my Mexican cupboard? There are five staple ingredient categories that stock in my pantry and refrigerator always. In this blog post I will guide you through my pantry and cupboard. Included are links to the recipes using these staple.
Beans, Frijoles are Versatile!
Every Mexican cupboard will include different ingredients. But most of them will have some or all from the categories I share with you today. Beans can be enjoyed straight out of the warm olla(pot). They can also be transformed into sauces, soups, salsas and stews.
Otra ves arroz? Rice again? Yes! We love rice!
It’s not a secret that we love our sopita de arroz(little rice) right next to our frijolitos(little beans). For a few years, I tested many rice varieties and flavor combinations using rice. I was teaching Mexican cooking classes and always had request on how to prepare rice in different ways. And you cannot forget that sopa de fideo(vermicelli) pasta. Especially small pasta shapes like stars, alphabet, shells and elbow are traditional and tasty!
Most people are surprised how much produce is used in authentic Mexican cooking!
Sixty percent of my grocery bill is spent on fresh produce! Surprised? It’s a must for me and cooking from scratch. Although I am not against using canned or frozen food ingredients, I will choose fresh when at all possible.
Dried Chile Pods! Surprisingly easy to use in everyday cooking!
I still have that image of mom’s kitchen cupboard with those two bags of half used chile pods. Her two go to dried chiles were chile ancho and chile de arbol. My Mexican cupboard is never missing this staple ingredient! The more the merrier. My top three choices are dried chile ancho, chile de arbol and guajillo. The ancho and guajillo are the most mild and chile arbol is spicy. If you like smoky flavors, look for dried chipotle or chile morita.
Experience the spice of life with Mexican food!
Besides salt and pepper, what spices are in your cupboard right now? Mexican oregano, cumin seeds and granulated garlic? Always! Although some people would say cumin is not traditional in Mexican cooking, it was used sparingly in our home. I love it though! And I do add fresh garlic and onion to my recipes, but always stock a good granulated garlic and granulated onion powder. Bay leaves, thyme, marjoram, whole cloves, Mexican cinnamon sticks, all spice(pimienta gorda) and annatto powder are also staples in my cupboard.
Those are my top five categories, but wait, there’s more!
This category is as important as all of the above. It’s canned, dried and frozen food ingredients! I always have canned tomato products in my pantry. Whole tomatoes, fire roasted diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Beans, chick peas, mixed vegetables, tuna, quinoa and tomatillos are also found in my cupboard.
Did you think I forgot tortillas? No way! It’s a given!
Most of you know that my dad, Ramiro, was a pioneer in the corn tortilla industry. He educated my siblings and me about corn tortillas without realizing how it would play a part in my life today! I confess that I am a corn tortilla snob, lol! And don’t even ask me about flour tortillas. Mom’s were the best! Oh, and bolillos!