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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Mexican / Tex-Mex / Southwest United States / SOURCES AND SUBSTITUTES!
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    Mama's Kitchen (Hope)
    Wed May 23, 2012 1:38 pm Groupie

    We have all seen the "International" aisles in our local grocery stores. What do you do though when the ingredient you are looking for is not found there?

    "Where do I find ingredients for authentic Mexican food?" Well here are some tips ......

    Check your yellow pages- or google -

    "Mexican grocers"

    "Latin Market"

    "Carniceria" (Latin meat market)

    If there are none in your area you can order many Latin products online:

    MexGrocer This site has very good ratings and right now they're offering free shipping for orders >$50

    Allegro Foods

    The Latin Products Also offering free shipping right now for orders >$69

    ***Remember to google "coupon code" and the name of the company you are using to find any valuable coupons available!

    grouphug.gif Thank you to Isabella's Can Opener for the idea for this thread. Also to Molly53 for sharing her info!

    We would love to hear about any other sites, tips, ideas, substitutions that you may have.

    Last edited by Mama's Kitchen (Hope) on Wed May 30, 2012 1:53 pm, edited 3 times in total
    Muffin Goddess
    Fri May 25, 2012 11:41 pm Groupie
    I can usually find the Mexican ingredients I need locally (Shaws/Star Markets tend to have a surprisingly good selection in their international aisles, and I have an area with a sizeable Mexican population only about 20 minutes from me). Occasionally, though, if I can't locate something at the stores, I'll use MexGrocer. I've had nothing but good experiences with them, and they've even been known to throw in a free treat or two with my order. They're very helpful if something you ordered is not available, too.

    Sat May 26, 2012 12:22 pm
    Forum Host
    The Latin American Diet Pyramid
    The key to cooking and eating healthful Latin American cuisine is to start with a strong foundation. Grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes—such as plantains, quince, bananas, jicama, yams and quinoa—make up the largest food section of the pyramid. Fish and seafood, such as abalone, sea bass, shrimp and cod, comprise the second largest. Further up are poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt. And the top tier contains meats, including beef, lamb and goat, as well as sweets like flan and the unforgettable Tres Leches Cake.


    But one of the more interesting features of the Latin American Diet Pyramid is what lies at its base. Unlike traditional models, the pyramid's foundation isn't about food choices at all. It revolves around eating together as a family and staying physically active. Placing family togetherness, such as eating and exercising with others, at the base of the pyramid reflects what Latin American culture is really about.

    Here is a list of common ingredients you may want to keep on hand to create authentic Mexican cuisine whenever you want. Print it out and take it with you shopping. If you have a particular recipe in mind, check the ingredients needed to make sure you get everything necessary.


    Canned Goods
    •Red chile sauce
    •Green chile sauce
    •Diced green chiles
    •Whole green chiles
    •Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
    •Other assorted chiles
    •Tomato sauce
    •Refried beans (easy to make from scratch; several recipes in our db)
    •Black beans
    •Tamarind/Tamarindo (substitute: lemon or lime juice mixed with a touch of brown sugar)
    •Tamarind paste (Tamarind Paste Substitute)
    •Chicken stock or broth
    •Beef stock or broth
    •Evaporated Milk
    •Sweetened Condensed Milk (Eagle brand is commonly available everywhere in the US or Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk)

    Chiles- dried, powdered, canned or paste
    Click on PEPPERS ~ SCOVILLE UNITS for more information
    •New Mexico
    •Chile Negro

    Dried Beans and/or Rice
    •Pinto beans
    •Black beans
    •White rice, long grain
    •White rice, medium grain

    Seasonings-dried or ground
    •Garlic Powder
    •Onion Powder
    •Standard Chili Powder (available at nearly every US grocery or Chili Powder)
    •Cinnamon Sticks
    •Bay leaves
    •Achiote (substitute: ground turmeric or sweet paprika)
    •Achiote paste (or Achiote Paste Substitute)
    •Epazote (substitutes: savory, parsley or cilantro)
    •Vanilla Beans
    •Hoja Santa (Substitutes: avocado leaves, chopped fennel (if recipe calls for leaves to be chopped), Swiss chard leaves (if recipe calls for leaves to be chopped), banana leaves (as a food wrapper), corn husks (for wrapping tamales) or epazote leaves)

    Click on PANS y PAN DULCES ~ HISPANIC BREADS, ROLLS AND SWEET BREADS. There are many recipes for them in our db.
    •Flour tortillas (there are many recipes for them in our db)
    •Corn tortillas (there are many recipes for them in our db)
    •White flour
    •Masa Harina (This is flour made from dried hominy corn, and it's used to make corn tortillas and tamales. Look for it in large supermarkets or Hispanic markets. It's made with either yellow or white corn; harinilla is made with blue corn. There's not really a satisfactory substitute for it, but cornmeal is its closest relative.)
    •Hominy, frozen or dried

    •Tomatillos (Substitute: green tomatoes + dash lemon juice, plum tomatoes + dash lemon juice or cape gooseberries)
    •Epazote (substitute: savory, parsley or cilantro)
    •Jicama (substitute: canned water chestnuts)
    •Green Onion
    •Assorted green hot peppers
    •Assorted red hot peppers
    •Bell pepper
    •Plantains (cooking bananas, available in many ethnic markets ~ substitute potatoes or sweet potatoes, depending upon the recipe)

    Hispanic cooks like their cheese bland and salty, the better to complement their spicy sauces. They also want cheese to hold its shape when heated. Monterey jack, the standard substitute for Hispanic cheeses, tends to ooze out of chiles rellenos and enchiladas when baked. Authentic recipes call for panela or queso blanco, which soften but don't melt when heated. Click on HISPANIC CHEESES for more information.

    •Jack aka Monterey Jack (substitute: mild Cheddar or American cheese)
    •Queso Fresco (substitute: farmer's cheese, baker's cheese, hoop cheese)
    •Queso Blanco (substitute: same as above)
    •Queso Enchilado (substitutes: Romano, Parmesan,Cotija or nutritional yeast)
    •Cotija (substitute: same as above)
    •Panela (substitute: farmer's cheese, baker's cheese, hoop cheese)
    •Crema (substitutes: crème fraîche or sour cream)
    •Jocoque (a Mexican product that's midway between buttermilk and sour cream. Substitutes: salted buttermilk, sour cream, plain yogurt or crema)

    •Ground beef
    •Flank or skirt steak (for Carne Asada or Fajitas)
    •Large beef cuts (for stews and roasts)
    •Chicken breasts
    •Chicken pieces
    •Whole chicken
    •Pork loin
    •Pork roast
    •Chorizo (Mexican sausage, several recipes for it in our db)
    •Ribs (beef or pork)

    •Tortilla chips
    •Lard (available at nearly every grocery store near the shortenings)
    •Vegetable oil
    •Coarse salt/sea salt
    •Chile sauce
    •Unsweetened chocolate (Baker's chocolate)
    •Mexican chocolate or cocoa powder
    •Piloncillo (substitute: combine 1 cup dark brown sugar with 2 tablespoons molasses)
    Mama's Kitchen (Hope)
    Wed May 30, 2012 1:54 pm Groupie
    Thank you both for the great info!
    mama smurf
    Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:48 pm Groupie
    Wonderful information...thank you!
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