If you love to eat food from any corner of the globe, it’s helpful to keep a pantry well stocked with the supplies you’ll need to mimic the flavours you’re craving. This means you’re more likely to cook a favourite food, rather than order take-out, which is great for both your wallet and your waistline. Once you fully stock your cabinets with the ingredients listed here, and start cooking a few of our favourite Mexican recipes, a whole new world of possibilities awaits you in your kitchen.
Limes – Essential to Mexican cooking and the preferred citrus in Latin cooking.
Corn and Flour Tortillas – Good quality products are widely available in most major supermarkets. If you live in a large urban area, seek out a Latin grocery store that sells fresh made tortillas for maximum flavour, and if you’re feeling overly ambitious there are plenty of recipes readily available online that will instruct you on how to make your flour and corn tortillas.
Canned and Dried Beans – Healthy and economical beans should be a staple in more home kitchens. Keep a couple of cans of each on hand for quick and easy dinners, but don’t hesitate to try your hand at cooking dried beans as well; you’ll never beat the flavour or the price.
Monterrey Jack Cheese – Think of this as a Mexican cheddar. It’s a good melting cheese for tacos and quesadillas and is available in most major grocery stores.
Queso Fresco – Similar to feta, this block cheese can be crumbled over any dish that requires cheese.
Mexican Crema – Similar in flavour to sour cream, only with a thinner consistency. It can be more difficult to source, but can usually be found in a Mexican market.
Dried, Fresh and Chipotle Chilies – Chilies are essential to Mexican cooking, but there are too many varities to list them all. Familiarize yourself with your favourites and keep them on hand in plentiful supply. Just remember to use them sparingly; otherwise they can easily overwhelm a dish.
Hot Sauces – Used in so much more than Mexican cooking, hot sauce should be a staple in every home kitchen. Keep a few varieties of varying heat on hand and allow your family members to add them at will instead of using them in an actual recipe.
Avocado – Very few dishes can’t be improved upon with the addition of some fresh avocado. Purchase pieces in varying stages of ripeness so they won’t all need to be used at the same time.
Salsa – Another essential for Mexican meals, choose the salsa your family likes best (mild, medium, spicy or non-tomato variations) and be sure to have a few jars on hand at all times