Mexican Glossary

-A-    

Anaheim – Long, thin green chile used in the USA to make chile rellenos. In New Mexico, when they ripen and turn bright red they’re dried in ristras, or strands and used in sauces. Green chiles, chile california or chilaca.

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 Paste – Yucatan-style paste made from ground annatto seeds, spices and lime juice or vinegar.
Achiote ground with spices and lime juice or vinegar

Adobo – A spicy paste used while cooking meats, poultry and fish or storing chipotles or a smoky, chile-based sauce with tomatoes, onions, garlic and spices.

Agua –Water

Aguacate – Avocado

Aguamiel – Juice of the maguey plant

Al carbón – Meat (any type) cooked over charcoal or wood coals.

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 – Long, thin green chile used in the USA to make chile rellenos. In New Mexico, when they ripen and turn bright red they’re dried in ristras, or strands and used in sauces. Green chiles, chile california or chilaca.

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 from corn or rice

Atún – Tuna

Azafrán – Saffron

Azucar – Sugar

-B-

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

-C-

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

-D-

Derretir – Melt

Desayuna – Breakfast

Deshuesar – Debone

Desvenar – Devein

Dulce – Sweet. candy

Durazno – Peach

-E-

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

-G-

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.

-H-

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

-I-

 -J-

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

-K- 

-L-

Langosta – Lobster

Leche – Milk

Leche de Enco – Coconut milk

Leche Quemada – Burnt milk candy

Lechuga – Lettuce

-M-

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

-N-

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

-O-  

Olla de Presion – Pressure cooker

Ostión – Oyster 

-P-  

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

-Q-   

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

-R-

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

-S-

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

-T-  

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

U-  

Uva – Grape

Uva Pasa – Raisin
 
-V-   

Vains de Vanilla – Vanilla bean

Al Vapor – Steamed

Vino – Wine

-W-  

-X-

Xnipec – A type of chile sauce

-Y-   

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

 -Z-

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

Zanahoria – Carrot

 

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