A few of my male friends even started their own ‘Burrito Wednesday’, touring the London Mexican haunts each week, with testosterone in abundance and Coronas in hand. Whilst I didn’t even know what an avocado was in my childhood, I now consider myself somewhat of a guacamole connoisseur and chips and dip is a regular ‘can’t be bothered to cook’ staple. Yet aside from the obvious burritos, enchiladas and huevos ranchos, how much do we really know about Mexican food?
‘New Mexican’ can be both gastronomically glorious and a culinary confusion. Is chile with an ‘e’ still chilli? Do you know your pintos from you black beans? Does the word chimichanga connote some kind of hallucinogenic to you? Get your head around the lingo, with our gringo’s guide… to the best Mexican Food.
Achiote-Annatto: a spice used in the Yucatan region
Atole: a thick, hot gruel made from corn.
Biscochitos: an anise-flavoured cookie.
Burrito: a white flour tortilla, filled with meats, beans, cheese, or a combination of these, and rolled, served smothered with chile sauce and melted cheese.
Capirotada: a raisin and walnut pudding.
Carne Adovada: cubes of pork that have been marinated and cooked in red chile, garlic and oregano.
Chalupas: (little boats) corn tortillas fried into a bowl shape and filled with shredded chicken, and/or beans, and topped with guacamole and salsa.
Chicharron: pork skin, fried crisp.
Chile con queso: chile and melted cheese mixed together into a dip.
Chiles Rellenos: roasted, peeled and stuffed (often with cheese) chiles, usually dipped in a batter and fried.
Chimichanga: a burrito that’s deep fried, and smothered with chile and cheese.
Chorizo: a spicy pork sausage, seasoned with garlic and red chile.
Cilantro: a pungent green herb used in salsas, etc; the seeds are coriander.
Curtido: pickled vegetables, typically cabbage, carrots. similar to cole slaw
Empanada: a turnover, filled usually with a sweetened meat mixture or fruit.
Enchiladas: corn tortillas filled with meat, beans or cheese, and either rolled, or stacked, and covered with chile sauce and cheese.
Fajita: strips of grilled steak or chicken that come with tortillas, sautéed peppers and onions, and other side dishes to make do-it-yourself burritos.
Flan: caramel custard dessert.
Flautas: tightly rolled, fried to a crunch, enchiladas.
Guacamole: mashed avocado, usually with chopped onion, tomatoes, garlic, lime and chile.
Habanero: Extremely hot pepper
Horchata: a delicious rice beverage
Horno: outdoor, beehive-shaped ovens.
Huevos Divorciados: Two eggs, one covered in green salsa, one in red, with tortillas in between
Huevos Motulenos: eggs with black beans, cheese, often ham, peas, plantains and picante
Huevos Rancheros: corn tortillas, topped with eggs, usually fried, smothered with chile and cheese.
Jalapenos: small, fat chiles, very hot, frequently used in salsa.
Mancha Manteles: a stew with turkey, chorizo, pork, pineapple, apple, chiles cinnamon, lard, tomatoes
Menudo: a soup made with tripe and chiles (known as “breakfast of champions”).
Nachos: tostados topped with beans, melted cheese, sliced jalapenos, sometimes served “Grande” with ground beef, or shredded chicken, guacamole and sour cream.
Natilla: soft custard dessert.
Pico de Gallo: salsa with chopped fresh chiles, tomatoes, onions and cilantro.
Posole: a thick stew made with hominy corn simmered for hours with red chile and pork.
Quesadilla: a turnover made of a flour tortilla, filled with cheese or other ingredients, then toasted, fried or baked.
Refritos: beans that have been mashed and fried, most often in lard.
Salsa: generally an uncooked mixture of chile, tomatoes, onions.
Sopaipilla: Puffed, fried yeast bread, eaten split and filled with honey-butter.
Tlacoyo: toasted masa cakes stuffed with various items, similar to pupusas
Taco: a corn tortilla either fried crisp, or just softened, and filled with meats, cheese, or beans, and fresh chopped lettuce, onions and tomatoes.
Tostados: corn tortilla chips, also, a open face corn tortilla covered with refried beans, salsa, cheese, and chopped lettuce and tomato.