From fresh tortillas to fragrant chiles, here's the scoop on finding essential foods in every aisle of your local Mexican market
10 | Arbol (top left). “As flavorful as the habanero, but with a fraction of the heat,” says Esparza. It’s brittle when freshly dried and doesn’t require rehydration.
Use it: Throw it in soups, canned pinto beans, and rice to give lift to a dish (pull it out before serving). Infuse tequila with it by dropping a few in the spirit, or use it in Sangrita de toro.
11 | Ancho (top right). A dried poblano with a rich, smoky flavor that Esparza especially likes with beef.
Use it: For salsa, reconstitute and purée with broth, garlic, and salt, then cook. Cool, then add cilantro and diced onion.
12 | Guajillo (bottom right). Has little heat but a fragrant, earthy flavor; Esparza calls it “the king of dried chiles.”
Use it: It’s central to mole sauces and also commonly used in red chile sauce (Chile colorado).
13 | Negro (bottom left). A chilaca that’s dried; may be sold as “dried pasilla.” It has a black color and deep flavor, like a spicy prune.
Use it: Reconstitute and purée with other dried chiles, then slow-cook with beef or pork.