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Mexican Culinary Primer

Achiote: Yucatan-style paste made from ground annatto seeds, spices and lime juice or vinegar

Adobo: a smoky, chile-based sauce with tomatoes, onions, garlic and spices

Ancho: dried poblano chile

Asada: broiled

Barbacoa: meat cooked in an underground pit, usually wrapped in banana or agave leaves

Carne: meat

Carnitas: pork simmered in fruit juices and used in tacos and burritos

Ceviche: raw fish marinated in Mexican lime juice and mixed with tomatoes, onions, chiles and spices

Chayote: a type of squash

Chipotle: dried, smoked jalapeno chile

Chorizo: fresh, highly-seasoned sausage flavored with chiles and spices

Cotija: an aged, crumbly white cheese

Empanadas: pastry turnover filled with spicy meat or fruit and sweets

Epazote: a wild herb that grows in North America used to flavor Mexican soups and stews

Guajillo: medium-hot dried chile

Huevo: egg

Jalapeno: medium-hot chile pepper

Leche: milk

Masa: dough of ground corn meal, lime and water used to make corn tortillas.

Mole: complex dark sauce with chiles, nuts, spices, fruits, vegetables, chocolate and seasonings

Pasilla: long, thin dark chile

Poblano: dark green, rounded fresh chile used for chile rellenos

Pozole: robust, medium-spicy soup with pork or chicken, hominy, onions and spices

Serrano: small, green, very hot chile

Sopa: soup

Tomatillo: resembles a small green tomato. Relative of the gooseberry family. Used in many sauces

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