From fresh tortillas to fragrant chiles, here's the scoop on finding essential foods in every aisle of your local Mexican market
8 | Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. A chipotle pepper is a dried, smoked jalapeño; adobo sauce contains tomatoes, cloves, cinnamon, sugar, vinegar, and salt. “A perfect combo of savory, sweet, and spicy,” says Esparza, who likes Embasa brand for its rich color and smokier flavor.
Use it: A spoonful of puréed chiles kicks up the flavor of tomatillo salsa, barbecue sauce, and the sauce for Chicken Tinga Tostaditas.
9 | Achiote paste. Mayan in origin, it’s made from annatto seeds and imparts smoky, peppery flavors and a reddish hue to marinades and sauces. Esparza dilutes the paste with sour orange juice.
Use it: Dilute the paste with sour orange juice (juice and paste over chicken or tilapia. For chicken, roast or cook slowly in a dutch oven. For fish, wrap in a banana leaf and grill.