For an Extra Zing of Flavor, Here Are the 12 Best Mexican Spices
Mexican flavors do not all make your mouth burn. Every Mexican recipe, from traditional enchiladas to taco bowls, requires a specific combination of spices in varying proportions. Even the traditional tamales are now coated with leaves that release flavors.
There are a lot of different spices that go into making Mexican food so delicious. To prepare authentic Mexican cuisine for the next family meal, we have developed a list of 12 spices that you must have in your kitchen cabinet. However, if you do not want to make it at home then you can order from or can visit La Vista, A Mexican Restaurant & Bar in Hong Kong.
The spice is appropriately called allspice. Since it has a flavor that is somewhat akin to cloves, pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Although the name suggests a blend of spices, none of them are used in its preparation.
Allspice is a fine powder made from the crushed dried berries of Pimenta dioica. A teaspoon of allspice makes with a dozen berries. You may also use the entire berries, which resemble peppercorns in structure.
Due to its comfortingly sweet aroma, allspice is a vital component in jerk chicken. Before adding them to the meat bowl, cook them for a short while. Compared to full berries, powdered berries will soon lose their taste. Use ground allspice in sweets and dried whole berries in pickles. Keep it away from direct sunlight in an airtight container. There is no need to freeze allspice.
2. Ancho Powder
Ancho powder is one of the many varieties of Chile powders that use in Mexican cuisine. Due of its mild heat, it has frequent utilization. Fun fact: The Spanish word ancho means broad. Poblano chiles refer as ancho chilies after fully grown, drying, then ground into ancho powder. It is available for purchase or home preparation. Due to the dark color of ancho chilies, the powder appears reddish-black. Ancho powder produced at home contains no preservatives, so it has a healthy flavor.
Additionally, it saves a ton of money. Although red chile sauce generally uses this, you don’t have to stick to sauce alone. Use it to provide a fruity, moderately spicy flavor to beef or pork. Tamale and hot chocolate are popular Mexican breakfast dishes that frequently contain ancho powder. Your cakes and truffles will taste fruity after adding a dash of ancho powder. Ancho powder is a must-have in your spice collection if you enjoy Mexican cuisine.
Even though the names are relatively similar, anise is not star-anise. They come from several plant families. The flavors of anise and fennel are quite similar since they belong to the same family. Anise also has a flavor similar to black licorice; in fact, it uses in making licorice-flavored tea. Anise is a spice that you may use in both Savoury and sweet foods.
Numerous Mexican foods use anise, which has an enticing scent. Biscuits, sweetbread, and sugar cookies all contain anise. Liqueurs also include anise extract. Anise-flavored liqueur you can use to confirm it by adding water to check whether it becomes hazy. Anise seeds give the alcoholic drinks absinthe and anisette their sweet and smoky flavors. You can use anise extract, powder, or seeds. The seeds survive for around 3 years in storage, while the powder is good for 6 months. There is no reason to freeze.
Cilantro, often known as Mexican parsley, is a typical element in Mexican cuisine. You might be wondering why we’re discussing cilantro rather than coriander. Coriander seeds are those of the herb cilantro, and they are a type of spice. Coriander and cilantro seeds have distinctive aromas and tastes. There is no middle ground when it comes to people’s attitudes of cilantro, according to taste experts. But with coriander, this is not true.
Coriander seeds are seldom criticized for their flavor whether used whole or powdered. To enhance their aroma, the seeds are crushed after roasting. Because they lose flavor after a week, it is good to smash the seeds right before adding them to your dish. Your curries and pickles will taste excellent when you add coriander powder or seeds. A scoop of coriander in any form will enhance any recipe that contains chilies or chili powder.
Cumin is a traditional Mexican spice that cultivates in all over the world. No spice can adequately replace it. Cumin has a strong toasted smell and a somewhat bitter taste. Despite of using in modest amounts, it may alter any meal. Chimichangas and carnitas are two examples of northern Mexican food.
Both black and green cumin can be used as a condiment. Black cumin has a bitterer flavor and is less popular than green cumin. They endure roughly 3 years whether they are whole cumin seeds or crushed cumin.
Mexican tea or wormseed are other names for epazote, a plant belonging to the Amaranthaceous family. Epazote was previously unknown to many people, but it is gradually gaining the attention it deserves. A strong plant that many people are afraid to use is epazote. However, once you’ve developed a taste for it, you will want to again enjoy its citrus-like flavor. The perfume of epazote is comparable to that of pepper, mint, and oregano, but it is two times stronger. In addition to flavor, Gypsum has traditionally added to Mexican black beans due of its anti-flatulent properties. For everyone who like black beans, anti-flatulent herbs minimize intestinal gas.
Additionally, epazote is a crucial component in green salsa from Mexico. For those who have not tried it, cilantro is frequently used in place of epazote in green salsa. But because they have different tastes, cilantro and epazote cannot be used interchangeably. Since acquiring epazote in a shop is not always possible, you may grow it in a pot and keep it on hand at all times.
Every Savoury food made in Mexico contains the essential element of garlic, often known as ajo in Spanish. Salsas and stews have topping with pieces of garlic. Before topping, coarsely chopped garlic toasts in butter to lessen the pungency. Although the smell of garlic is not everyone’s preference, it is up to the chef to cover it up or make it flavorful. When done properly, it is nearly hard to detect the presence of strong garlic in the lovely scent. Garlic is a necessary component of real Mexican rice. Making spaghetti with a twist calls for the use of garlic-infused oil.
Keep garlic cloves in an open jar at room temperature. Due to dampness, closed jars will encourage fungus development on the garlic. Keep only minced or chopped garlic in the refrigerator. Fresh onions go well with garlic in many Mexican meals. If you know how to cook them, onions and garlic are not as pungent.
8. Hoja Santa
Hoja Santa, sometimes referred to as Mexican pepper leaf, is a fragrant plant with a wide range of tastes. It has an anise, licorice, mint, nutmeg, and black pepper-like aroma. The flavor is so intricate that no alternative can do it justice.
Santa Hoja is a member of the Piperaceae family. Mexico uses its stems and leaves for a variety of culinary techniques. Plant components that are younger have a stronger aroma and flavor than older portions.
The leaves are heart-shaped and feature robust veins. The leaves are frequently cut into strips before being used to flavor soups like pozole and Oaxacan yellow mole. Tamales are typically encased in hoja Santa leaves or corn husks. Cheese, tea, and coffee can all be flavored with hoja Santa leaves. Hoja Santa tea is thought to provide therapeutic benefits. If you do not frequently have access to fresh hojas Santa, make a powder from the dried leaves.
9. Mexicana Oregano Mexican
The Verbenaceae family contains the Mexican oregano (Lippa graveolens), which is unrelated to the common oregano. It tastes like oregano from the Mediterranean combined with lemon and licorice. Mexican oregano has a less bitter flavor despite having a powerful flavor.
Compared to normal oregano, Mexican oregano is more suited to Mexican cuisine. Sincere to goodness, oregano does not taste nice in Mexican food. Greek oregano can be the most similar replacement if there is no other choice.
Chicken tinga and bean soup frequently use dried Mexican oregano. Although fresh Mexican oregano has more taste, finding it might be difficult. For a smoky flavor, crushed chilli peppers with Mexican oregano and added to stews.
Fresh Mexican oregano keeps for three days in the fridge. The shelf life of dry Mexican oregano is six months when kept at room temperature in an airtight container.
10. Garlic Powder
Make onion powder with finely crushed dry onion. To get rid of extra moisture, onions are either lyophilized or dehydrated. Instead of using raw onions, onion powder comes in use, however the toxicity of onion powder is five times higher. In order to season meat meals and breakfast casseroles uses. Preventing caking when keeping onion powder is a significant difficulty. You may use a fork to separate the clumps during the shelf life.
When kept at room temperature, onion powder in commercial packaging can last up to 4 years. If you make homemade onion powder according to the recommended methods, it will last a year.
11. Powdered Smoked Serrano Chili
The name speaks for itself. Mexican salsas employ the powder from serrano chillis, which are indigenous to that country. Smoked serrano chili powder is much hotter than the ancho powder. However, we described before in this piece and is not good to go for anyone who are sensitive to heat. Use this in tacos, enchiladas, grilled meats, and any other appetizing Mexican cuisine as long as you enjoy spicy food. For two years, this chili powder, you may keep in a cold, dark location.
Although nutmeg has a mild sweetness, you may still use it in savory foods. It produces from the seeds of the evergreen Myristica fragrans tree. With seed’s outer coat mace and another spice prepare. However, no recipe calls for the combination of mice and nutmeg. The seeds dry, to remove the core seed from the outer coat (mace) to manufacture nutmeg. Nutmeg is either ground into a powder or packaged whole.
Autumnal beverages taste cozy thanks to nutmeg. A nutmeg grater will use to shred whole nutmeg into soups. Nutmeg will overpower other tastes in a recipe if you use more than the recommended amount, making the dish intolerably hot. You could become ill as a result. When kept out of direct sunlight, whole nutmeg will keep for a very long time and ground nutmeg will stay fresh for six months. Some of these could have been in your kitchen cabinet. Gather the remaining items as well to access a delicious Mexican supper.
You can enjoy all these extra zing flavor in the cuisine of La Vista. Enjoyment is not only limited to range of Mexican food here but you also will cherish the ambiance and views along with soothing music.