WELCOME TO LOS AMIGOS - -CULINARY DICTIONARY
Culinary Dictionary
Wondering if you really want to try those tacos de lengua?
Use our Mexican Food Glossary to help you decide.
 
A   
Achiote
Red paste made by grinding annatto seeds and adding garlic and lime juice
or vinegar. Popular in the Yucatán Peninsula.
Adobo
Smokey chile marinade made of chile peppers, garlic, vinegar or citrus juice, garlic and spices. Often served on pork or chicken.
Alambre
Pieces of chicken or beef sauteed with bacon and vegetables like green peppers and onions. Served with tortillas and salsas. Similiar to fajitas.
Almuerzo
Lunch
Annatto
Seeds from the Yucatecan annatto tree used to make achiote paste.
Arrachera
Marinated and grilled flank steak.
                            
B
Barbacoa
Meat barbecued in a pit. Depending on the region, the meat may be borrega (lamb) in central Mexico, barbacoa de cabeza (cow head) or cabrito (kid goat) in the North, or cochinita pibil (pork) in the Yucatán.
Bistec
Beefsteak
Botanas
Snacks often served free of charge in a cantina with purchase of a beer.
Burritos
A large white tortilla rolled up around fillings such as meat, salsa, rice, beans, and avocado.
           
C
Cabrito
Kid goat, Usually the entire body, minus the head and feet, is roasted and served.
Cajeta
Caramel-like confection made by simmering goat's milk with sugar. Often is served out of a squeezable bottle.
Calamar
Squid
Caldo
Broth soup, usually offered as chicken or beef.
Camarón
Shrimp
Carne asada
Marinated and grilled flank steak.
Carnitas
Pork roasted in lard and citrus juices, then shredded. Often served from carts in corn tortillas with pickled onions and eaten for breakfast.
Cecina
Thinly sliced and cured beef, often served in tacos.
Cena
Dinner
Ceviche
Seafood cooked by marinating in lime juice, mixed with tomatoes, onions, and at times, avocado. Shrimp, fish and squid or a combination are commonly offered.
Coctel
Cocktail, In seafood restaurants, this refers to a seafood cocktail. Shrimp, fish, crab, or squid may be mixed with with red salsa and presented in a cocktail glass for consumption.
Costillas
Ribs
Crema
Similiar to sour cream, but less thick and less sour tasting.
Chaya
Green leafy vegetable, often compared to spinach. Native to the Yucatán Peninsula, this veggie is packed with vitamins, but can be poisonous if consumed raw.
Chicharrones
Fried pork rinds
Chilaquiles
Crunchy tortilla strips fried with eggs, chicken and/or cheese, and covered in a red or green sauce. Served for breakfast.
Chile Relleno
Roasted and peeled poblano pepper stuffed with cheese, dipped in an egg white batter, and fried. Often served with a red sauce.
Chorizo
Spicy pork or beef sausage.
Chuleta
Pork chop
 
D
Desayuno
Breakfast
 
E
Empanadas
Masa dough stuffed with a filling, folded over into a crescent shape, and fried. Fillings vary but may include cheese, chicken, potatoes, and chorizo.
Enchiladas
Corn tortillas are quickly fried in oil, soaked in a sauce, filled with meat or cheese and rolled. The rolls may then be covered with additional sauce, cheese, crema or lettuce.
Escabeche
Vegetables pickled in vinegar, oil and herbs. Jalapeno peppers, carrots, onions and cauliflower are commonly used. May also refer to a meat stew.
 
F
Flauta
Large tortilla, rolled up with meat, and fried.
Frijoles Charros
Pinto bean soup with bits of pork or bacon, spices and vegetables.
 
G
Gordita
Thick masa dough shaped like a small pita. Often filled with a guisado.
Gringa
Pastor taco made with a flour tortilla.
Guacamole
Mashed avocado, often mixed with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, chiles, garlic and/or lime juice. May be served as a dip with tortilla chips or as a garnish with a meal.
Guisado
Cubes of meat cooked in a sauce.
 
 
 
 
H
Hominy
Dried corn kernels that have been boiled in lime juice and water to remove the hard outer hull. Used in menudo and pozole and to make masa.
Huaraches
Literally means sandals. A thick piece of masa dough about the shape and size of a sandal is fried and covered with refried beans, meat, lettuce, cheese and crema.
Huevos Mexicanos
Breakfast dish of eggs fried with tomatoes, onions and chaya (representing the red, white and green of the Mexican flag).
Huevos Rancheros
Breakfast dish of tortillas topped with fried eggs and coverd in a red salsa.
 
J
Jamaica
Cold beverage made by brewing water with hibiscus flowers. Some say it reminds them of pomegranate juice.
 
 
L
Lengua
Beef tongue
 
M
Mariscos
Seafood
Marquesita
A crepe is rolled around shredded edam cheese and condensed milk. The crepe hardens after rolling and reminds many of an ice cream cone. Alternative fillings such as nutella may also be offered. Often served from a cart at fiestas and special events.
Masa
Corn dough. Dried corn kernels are boiled in lime juice and water to remove the hard outer hull, and then mixed with water to form a dough. Used as the dough for tortillas, tamales, gorditas, etc. A staple in Mexican cooking.

Menudo
Tripe soup, considered a hangover cure in Mexico.
Milanesa
Pork or beef cutlet, lightly breaded and fried.
Mojo de Ajo
Garlic sauce, often served over fish filets.
Molcajete
Bowl made of volcanic rock used for grinding or mashing foods. Often used to make guacamole and salsas.
Mole
Complex sauce made of many ingredients and having many variations. Ingredients may include unsweetened chocolate, chiles, spices, nuts, fruits and seeds. May be served over chicken, turkey, or enchiladas.
 
N
Nopales/
Nopalitos
Cooked slices of cactus paddle.
 
P
Panucho
Thick circular masa dough fried and filled with refried beans, topped with shredded meat, lettuce, cheese and crema.
Papadzules
A Yucatecan dish of enchiladas filled with hard-boiled eggs, often covered with a pumpkin seed sauce.
Pastor
Thin slices of pork marinated in achiote and roasted on a spit. The pork is sliced off the spit and served in a taco with onions, cilantro and pineapple.
Pavo
Turkey
Pescado
Fish
Pico de Gallo
A relish of raw diced tomatoes and onions, with cilantro and/or chile peppers. Also referred to as salsa Mexicana.
Pipian
Pumpkin seed sauce often served over chicken, turkey or fish.
Poblano pepper
Large, dark green, mildly spicy chile pepper.
Poc Chuc
A Yucatecan specialty, pork steak is marinated in sour orange juice and achiote, and then grilled.
Pollo
Chicken
Pozole
Soup made of hominy, pork and spices.
Puerco
Pork
Pulpo
Octopus
 
Q
Quesadilla
Flour tortilla filled with cheese, folded over and pressed flat. Heated over a griddle until cheese melts. Other ingredients may be added to the cheese, such as mushrooms and rajas.
Queso Fundido
Mexican cheese fondue. May be served with mushrooms, roasted poblano peppers or chorizo. The fondue is usually spooned onto tortillas and eaten as an appetizer.
 
R
Rajas
Roasted, peeled, and sliced poblano peppers.
Res
Beef
 
S
Salchicha
Sausage. In Mexico, franks or wieners are referred to as salchica.
Salbute
Thick circular masa dough fried and topped with shredded meat, lettuce, cheese and crema.
Salsa
Sauce
Sope
Thick circular masa dough fried and topped with refried beans, shredded meat, lettuce, cheese and crema. Sopes generally have a rim to hold the ingredients in.
 
T
Tacos Dorados
Deep-fried tacos filled with shredded meat.
Tamale
Corn masa dough stuffed with meat, wrapped in a corn husk or banana leaf, and steamed.
Taquito
Small tortilla, rolled up with meat, and fried.
Torta
Mexican sandwich made of bolillo rolls, may be filled with refried beans, shredded or sliced meats, lettuce
Tortilla
A thin, flat unleavened bread made of masa for corn tortillas or harina (flour) for flour tortillas.
Tostada
Fried corn tortilla. When on a menu, it may be topped with refried beans, meat, lettuce, cheese, and/or crema.
Tres Leches
Meaning Three Milks, this refers to the rich Tres Leches cake, soaked in sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and whole milk or cream.

 
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