BBC Good Food Magazine

FIVE ESSENTIAL MEXICAN INGREDIENT­S

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Corn

‘There are many Mexican varieties and we make lots from corn, from the drink atole to nixtamalis­ed corn flour dough, used in tortillas and other Mexican street food. Without nixtamalis­ation (where corn is soaked, cooked in an alkaline solution, rinsed and hulled), corn can make you sick. It makes it more nutritious, too.’

Chillies

‘Mexico is definitely land of the chilli. Each region has its own varieties, drying and smoking methods. I like smoked morita chillies and the spicy, smoky complexity of pasilla Mixe. Dried chillies are used in more complex mole sauces and adobo marinades.’

Avocado

‘Michoacán is the main avocado growing area. They’re used in tacos, salads and sauces, or added to Mexican green sauce made with onion, garlic, fresh chillies, tomatillos and coriander.’

Tomatoes

‘We have a lot of heirloom varieties. Oaxaca’s tomates de riñón have a really intense flavour.’

Limes

‘The acidity of limes carries flavours in dishes and we use it in sauces, drinks, with other fruit and vegetables and as a condiment. Maria is a popular Mexican cake of cookies layered with lime custard that you make ahead and freeze or put in the fridge the day before.’

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