Chile Meco (Chipotle)

Chile Meco #1

Some of my favorite salsas are those containing the chipotle chile. I love the added rich, smokey flavor that these peppers have. But, did you know that there are actually two different types of chipotle chiles? Yep…the chile meco and the chile morita. I am amazed at how different they look and the meco has more defined smokey flavor. Read below to find out more about the chile meco.

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Chile Piquín

Chile Piquin #1

I was first introduced to the chile piquín by Roberto, who told me that he likes to grind it up to put in his pozole. While it may look cute because of its size, this pepper really packs some heat. Beware! I really love how it grinds up beautifully in a spice blender to make a fine powder that can be added to any salsa, and I just love the name of this chile. It is so much fun to say: “PEE-KEEN.”

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Chile Cascabel

Chile Cascabel #1

Seven years ago, when I was first introduced to traditional Mexican food, I was astounded by the variety and beauty of salsas. When I returned to the U.S., I attempted to duplicate those salsas, as well as most of the food I had eaten, but I realized that I had a lot to learn. No matter how much I tried, I could never get my salsas to be that deep red color that I remembered so well. I thought, “The tomatoes must be better in Mexico,” but I later learned that it wasn’t the tomato that provided that burst of scarlet color. It was dried peppers. The moment that I realized this, everything changed and the world of Mexican cooking expanded tenfold.

Dried peppers are an essential part of Mexican cooking, and I continue to be amazed by their diversity. I am still learning about all of the different types of chiles and how each one is used, and I will admit that I still sometimes get confused between their names, heats, and characteristics. Language always manages to develop dialects, and the vocabulary of the kitchen is no exception. If you travel throughout Mexico, you will notice that there are regional names for the different chiles, and this can complicate things when you are trying to decipher a recipe.

For a long time now, I have wanted to create a dictionary of sorts cataloging fresh and dried chile peppers, a resource that I could refer to when making recipes. I know that I will learn a lot in doing this, but I also hope that this may serve as a reference to other cooks who might be new to Mexican cuisine. I will categorize these posts under the FOOD – INGREDIENTS tab and will create subcategories for both fresh and dried chiles. Later, I will reference these posts when I create a mole, pipián, or salsa that calls for a pepper.

If you have any questions at any point in time, please do not hesitate to ask. Now, without further adieu, I present my first post in this ongoing series about the world of chiles.

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Salsa de Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo #1

Where there are tacos, there is pico de gallo salsa, and where there is pico de gallo, there is good food. Pico de gallo literally means “rooster’s beak” in Spanish. There is lots of uncertainty regarding the origin of this salsa’s name, however some believe that it stems from the way in which the ingredients are cut, almost pecked like a rooster. Whether that is true or not, one thing I can tell you is that this salsa is delicious and a nice one to take along to a party or get together.

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Galletas de Lucha Libre

Galletas de Lucha Libre #1-2

Have you ever seen the Mexican form of studio wrestling called lucha libre that is trademarked by many colorful masks and cool costumes? Well, if you haven’t it’s actually a lot of fun and I would highly recommend it.

I didn’t know anything about the sport before living in Mexico, but when I arrived to Mexico City I happened to meet this guy who LOVED it. Haha, that guy eventually became my boyfriend, Roberto, and I came to learn all about lucha libre. I will admit that at first I thought the sport was kind of ridiculous . I mean what’s the point of watching a bunch of buff-looking guys bouncing back and forth on ropes? However, I came to have a different opinion of lucha libre after attending several matches when I lived in Mexico City.

I realized that the luchadores (wrestlers) are actually like trained gymnasts. Unlike their American counterparts, the Mexican guys are like stunt men. They do flips, spins, leaps, and all kinds of crazy moves with their legs. It is seriously amazing to watch. The Mexican luchadores are not big and bulky, but rather agile and fit. If you ever have the opportunity to go to a lucha libre match, I would totally recommend it.

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Baja-Style Tacos de Pescado

Tacos de Pescado #1

So, along with the ceviche, these fish tacos are going to be added to my list of firsts. Can you believe that I had never tried fish tacos before?! Wow! I was totally missing out. But, I do have reason. When I lived in Mexico and even when I visit, I always find myself in the central part of the country (Mexico City, Puebla) or on the eastern coast (Veracruz). I have never ventured over to the western coast, even though I would LOVE to visit that area some day. So, you see? That’s why I haven’t tried a fish taco before.

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