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Mexican Food Glossary

 

To find a cooking term, click on the first letter of the word, then look for it in the Glossary list.  If you are looking for a term that we don't have, or know of more terms which should be included on this list, please send the information to: 

Jamie@freerecipecollection.com

 

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Abobora
A round, hard shelled, thick fleshed winter squash. It's similar in texture and flavor to butternut squash

Aceituna
Olive

Acitrón
Candied cactus fruit

Achiote
Annato tree seed

Achiote Paste
Achiote ground with spices and lime juice or vinegar

Adobo
A spicy paste used while cooking meats, poultry and fish or storing chipotles

Agua
Water

Aguacate
Avocado

Aguamiel
Juice of the maguey plant

Ahumado
Smoked

Anis Estrellado
Star anise - star shaped spice from Southeast Asia with a smoky, licorice like flavor

Anona
Sugar apple - an oval fruit covered with light green knobby protuberances

Aji Ayucllo
Wild pepper found in the jungle

Ajo
Garlic

Albaricoque
Apricot

Alambre
The skewer used in anticuchos

Albóndiga
Meatball (does not need to actually be meat)

Albahaca
Basil

Almeja
Clam

Almendra
Almond

Almíbar
Syrup

Almuerzo
Second breakfast

Anaheim Pepper
Used in mild dishes as a seasoning

Ancho
Dried poblano chile

Annatto Oil
This hard, rectangular, rust colored seed has a tangy, earthy, almost iodine-like flavor. It's sold in paste form in some regions however most use the seeds

Anticuchos
Spicy beef kabobs

Aperitivo
Appetizer

Apio
Celery

Arracheras
Skirt steak

Arroz
Rice

Asado
Broiled

Asadero
A soft, mild cheese

Atole
A thick beverage made form corn or rice

Atún
Tuna

Azafrán
Saffron

Azucar
Sugar






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Bacalao
Dried fish

Bañar
To immerse in sauce

Barbacoa
meat (usually cow's head) baked in an earthen pit

Báscula
Scale

Batata
Latin American sweet potatoes

Batir
Beat

Bizcochos
Cookies or sweet buns, generally flavored with anise

Blanquear
Blanch

Bocadillo
Snack

Bolillo
Crusty rolls stuffed for sandwiches

Bonito
Latin American sweet potatoes

Boracho
Cooked with beer or other alcohol - drunken

Borrego
Sheep

Brasear
Braise

Brocheta
The skewer used in anticuchos

Bunuelos
Thick tortilla like wheat bread fried and served with ice cream or sugar as a dessert

Burrito
Almost anything rolled in a large tortilla






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Al Carbón
Barbecued over wood or charcoal

Cabrito
Young goat

Calabaza
A round, hard shelled, thick fleshed winter squash. It's similar in texture and flavor to butternut squash

Calamar
Squid

Caldo
Soup, broth

Camarón
Shrimp

Camote
Latin American sweet potatoes

Campechano
Seafood cocktail

Canela
Cinnamon

Capirotada
A dessert pudding served in the Easter season

Caramelo
Caramel

Carne
Beef

Carne asada
Broiled beef

Carne Guisada
A beef stew served over rice or tortillas

Carne Molida
Ground Beef

Cayenne
Pepper used in many hot sauces

Cazuelitas
A thin tortilla molded into a shallow bowl and deep fried before being filled

Cerveza
Beer

Caviche (Cebiche)
Raw seafood cooked by marinating in citrus juice

Chimichanga
Deep fried burrito

Chalupas
Thick, filled, boat shaped tortillas

Champurrado
Chocolate atole

Chícharo
Pea

Chicharrónes
Fried pork rinds

Chilatole
Chile and tomato atole

Churros
Strips of deep fried pastry sprinkled with sugar

Chorizo
Spicy pork sausage

Cilantro
A popular herb that has a citrus or soapy taste depending on our taste

Cocina
Kitchen

Comal
The round griddle used to cook tortillas

Comino
Cumin

Coriander
Seeds of cilantro. Used alone or ground as cumin

Cotija
A hard cheese also known as queso añejo

Cucharada
Tablespoon

Cucharadita
Teaspoon

Cumin
Ground coriander






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Derretir
Melt

Desayuna
Breakfast

Deshuesar
Debone

Desvenar
Devein

Dulce
Sweet. candy

Durazno
Peach





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Empanada
Fruit filled turnover

Enchiladas
Corn tortillas are cooked in oil, dipped in sauce, filled and baked with more sauce

Enfrijoladas
Corn tortillas filled and folded in half - topped with thinned frijoles before baking

Entrada
Main dish

Envueltos
Fried tacos

Escabeche
Pickling mixture

Escurrir
Strain




-F-

Fideos
Pasta, generally angelhair

Flan
A baked custard dessert topped with caramel

Flauta
Deep fried, stuffed corn tortillas

Freir
Fry

Fresadilla
Tomatillo

Fresas
Strawberries

Frijoles
Beans

Frijoles Refritos
Refried beans





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Granada
Pomegranate

Granadilla
Round, lime size fruit has bright orange, highly perfumed, bracingly tart flesh. Also called passion fruit, parcha and maracuya

Gorditas
A thick tortilla, deep fried and stuffed in the air pocket similar to pita bread

Guacamole
A mashed avocado condiment often served as a dip

Guisado
Stewed

Guascas
The herb is rarely seen in North America, however the Colombians residing in the US substitute canned asparagus or frozen or fresh.

Guava
Small green or yellow egg shaped tropical fruit, when ripe, resembles taste of peaches.



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Habenero
Hottest pepper available.

Hervir
Boil

Horchata
A sweet rice drink

Hornear
Bake

Huevos
Eggs

Huicoy
A round, hard shelled, thick fleshed winter squash. It's similar in texture and flavor to butternut squash



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Jalapeño
America's most popular pepper

Jicama
Crisp, tan skinned white fleshed, turnip shaped root in the bean family. This is used in salsas as well as green salads

Jugo
Juice


 

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There are no terms here yet.

 




 

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Langosta
Lobster

Leche
Milk

Leche de Enco
Coconut milk

Leche Quemada
Burnt milk candy

Lechuga
Lettuce





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Maíz
Dried corn

Malanga
Root looks like a gnarled, brown skinned carrot. The flesh can be pink, yellow or cream colored. The flavor is suggestive of potatoes and beans

Mamey Sapote
Looks like an elongated coconut.

Manioc
Yucca

Mango
Tropical fruit, orange flesh

Manteca
Lard

Maracuya
Round, lime size fruit has bright orange, highly perfumed, bracingly tart flesh. Also called granadilla, parcha and passion fruit

Margarita
A tequila based cocktail generally made with citrus and triple sec

Mariquita Cutter
Slotted board with a super sharp blade is used for cutting plantains, yuccas, and other root vegetables

Masa
Dough

Masa Harina
Masa processed with lime. An easy mix for tortillas and tamales

Metate
A rectangular stone grinding bowl

Mezclar
Mix

Molinillo
This intricately carved wooden beater is used for making drinks like Chocolate Mexicano



 

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Names
Yams

Nogada
Sauce made from ground nuts

Naranja Agria
sour orange is a member of the citrus family that looks like an orange

Nopal
Edible cactus

NuMex Big Jim Pepper
Largest chile, created from the New Mexican Chile in 1975





 

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Olla de Presion
Pressure cooker

Ostión
Oyster

 

 

 

 

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Pan Dulce
Sweet rolls

Panela
A crumbly cheese

Pasilla Pepper
Name means "little raisin"

Passion Fruit
Round, lime size fruit has bright orange, highly perfumed, bracingly tart flesh. Also called granadilla, parcha and maracuya

Parcha
Round, lime size fruit has bright orange, highly perfumed, bracingly tart flesh. Also called granadilla, passion fruit and maracuya

Parrilla
Cast-iron grid or grate is used for grilling or making tortillas

Pepitas
Pumpkin seeds

Pescado
Fish

Peter Pepper
Rare ornamental pepper

Pica de Gallo
Minced or processed salsa

Picada
Gordita

Piloncillo
Pressed, unrefined dark brown sugar

Piña
Pineapple

Piñon
Pine nut

Piquin
Chile pepper often used to flavor vinegars

Plantain
Plantains are closely related to bananas, but have more starch and are
Always cooked. Green ones are unripe and are baked like potatoes, for a
Similar period of time. Yellow ones are half-ripe and are also cooked like
Potatoes but not so long. Black ones are ripe and are peeled, sliced, and
Fried in butter/oil for a few minutes, until golden. They are creamy and
Vaguely reminiscent of bananas.

Poblano
Popular chile for chile rellenos

Pollo
Chicken

Postre
Dessert

Puerco
Pork

Pulpo
Octopus



 

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Quesadillas
Tortillas stuffed with various ingredients (cheese one) and folded in half. They can be fried, baked, sautéed or grilled until cheese melts forming a seal

Queso
Cheese

Queso Añejo
A hard cheese also known as cotija

Queso Fresco
Homemade or very fresh cheese

Quinoa
Tiny, round, ivory colored grain, originated in the Andes Mts. When cooked it swells to four times its size and looks like a tiny disk with a C-shaped tail




 

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Rajas
Fried poblano slices

Rallar
Grate

Relleno
Filled

Rocotillo
This chile looks like a miniature patty pan squash. Orange, yellow, or pale green, it's no larger than the tip of your thumb. It's highly fragrant and aromatic




 

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Salsa
A popular tomato based condiment

Salsa Cruda
Uncooked salsa

Salsa Fresca
Uncooked Salsa

Sangrita
Cocktail made of orange juice, grenadine, chile and tomato juice served on the side of tequila

Sapodilla
Round or exhaled fruit with a thin, dusky brown skin and off-white flesh, sapodilla tastes like a pear soaked in maple syrup

Seca
Dry

Serrano
Peppers - come ready to eat in red and green

Sofrito
The cornerstone of countless Latino dishes, including soups, stews, rices, beans

Sopa
Soup

Sopa Seca
Rice or pasta dish



 

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Taco
Soft tortillas wrapped around almost anything with no seal on either end

Tacos al Pastor
Pork tacos

Tamal
Singular of tamales

Tamales
Your choice of filling surrounded by masa and steamed. A traditional meal of celebration

Taquitos
Small flautas

Tejolote
Pestle

Tequila
Liquor from the blue agave cactus

Tlacoyos
Tortilla dough encloses a simple filling and is grilled on a comal

Tomatillo
Looks like a small tomato with a husk. Used in green sauces

Torta
A sandwich served on a bolillo

Tortilla
A flat Mexican bread made of cornmeal or flour.

Tripas
Tripe





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Uva
Grape

Uva Pasa
Raisin



 

 

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Vains de Vanilla
Vanilla bean

Al Vapor
Steamed

Vino
Wine



 


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There are no terms here yet.

 

 

 

 

 

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Xnipec
A type of chile sauce

 

 

 

 

 


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Yautia
Root looks like a gnarled, brown skinned carrot. The flesh can be pink, yellow or cream colored. The flavor is suggestive of potatoes and beans


 

 

 

 

 

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Zacahuil
The largest tamal - eaten in the East Coast of Mexico

Zanahoria
Carrot


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