Latin Food From A to Z!
Adobo - Spanish for marinade, Adobo can be a sauce or a "rub" or paste made from blended herbs and spices.
Annatto - Commonly found in Latin America and Caribbean cuisines as both a coloring agent and for flavoring.
Arepa - A corn meal based pancake that is either filled or plain. Consumed like bread in many Latin countries.
Azúcar - Sugar.
Boniatos - Like our sweet potatoes but white inside, rather than orange. The taste is a cross between a sweet potato and a regular potato.
Buñuelos - Fried pieces of dough traditionally served with honey and/or cinnamon and sugar. A Latin doughnut. Yum.
Chayote - This pale green vegetable is shaped like a pear and prepared like squash.
Chicharrones - Pieces of pork crackling cooked until crunchy and most of the fat is rendered out. Served hot or cold as an appetizer. In Nicaragua, this is served as a main dish with yucca and a cabbage salad.
Chicos - Dried sweet corn that can be used whole or crushed. A popular ingredient for soup recipes.
Chile Caribe - Chile Caribe is the coarsely ground red Chile flakes processes from the dried red Chile pod.
Chile Verde - Green chilies. You'll find these in a variety of sizes, shapes, and degrees of hotness.
Chorizo - Spanish sausage, distinguished by the strong red color from paprika. Can be spicy or mild but always tasty.
Cilantro - Also known as Chinese Parsley or Coriander. Popular for its fresh flavors used both fresh and dried.
Croquetas - Delicious snack sized croquettes made with meat, ham, chicken, or vegetables. A favorite appetizer at Latin parties.
Enchilada - Rolled or flat corn tortillas stuffed with meat, cheese and onions and smothered in either red or green chile sauce.
Empanada - Fried or baked turnovers filled with meats, vegetables or dried fruit.
Flan - Custard with a caramel coating. This is a traditional dessert in Latin homes.
Flautas - Literally, Flute and a variation of the traditional Taco. Two tortillas are overlapped, stuffed with meat, cheese, onion and chile and then rolled up and fried.
Frijoles - Spanish for beans and a staple in the Latin diet.
Gazpacho - A cold vegetable soup with a tomato base and containing a variety of fresh, uncooked vegetables, spices and herbs.
Guacamole - A popular side dish and garnish made by mashing ripe avocado and seasoning with garlic or other spices.
Guayaba - Guava. This sweet tasting fruit can be found fresh in the produce section as well as canned. It is used in recipes in consistencies that vary from large chunks in syrup to a smooth paste. Fresh guava should be eaten when they are yellow and slightly soft. If purchased green, they will ripen nicely at room temperature if placed in a paper bag. A traditional Cuban meal ends with slices of guava accompanied by cheese.
Harina Azul - Blue corn meal flour.
Huevos Rancheros - Scrambled egg on a corn tortilla and topped with a green chile sauce with onions and tomatoes.
Jalapeño Peppers - A fruit, a medium sized chili pepper with a warm, burning sensation when eaten. Used for adding flavor and spice.
Jicama - A large gray-brown root vegetable with a crisp white flesh resembling that of a potato. Frequently used raw in salads.
Malanga - A hard root vegetable shaped like a yam, and with a thin brown skin and beige colored flesh.
Mojo - A pungent Latin marinating sauce containing onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, black pepper, orange, and lemon juice. In the process of marinating, Mojo adds flavor as it is absorbed, and it makes raw foods tender. It is typically used in meat, poultry, shellfish and vegetables.
Mole - A popular Central American gravy-like meat sauce made with cocoa beans, red chiles and other spices. In some Latin countries, crushed sesame seed, pumpkin seed, or nuts are added.
Nopales - The leaves of prickly pear cactus. The taste is similar to that of green beans.
Nuevo Latino - Nuevo Latino Cuisine is best described as an inspired and inventive fusion of Latin, European, American and Caribbean cooking traditions. Nuevo Latino originated in Miami, the creation of a trio of talented chefs known as "The Mango Gang." Their bold culinary innovations propelled each of the chefs, their restaurants and Nuevo Latino cuisine into the celebrity spotlight nationwide. Nuevo Latino is Spanish for "New Latin" and the movement is indeed redefining Latin food while changing the way America eats.
Paella - The signature dish of Spain. There are many variations of this wonderful rice and seafood dish. Look for Nueva Cocina Paella in stores now. Enhance this dish with chicken, sausages or seafood.
Pastelitos - Pasteries. Usually filled with tropical fruits-guava filled is a Miami tradition.
Picadillo - A Latin favorite made with ground beef and enjoyed as an entrée or as a tasty filling for empanadas and potato balls. Picadillo recipes start with a sofrito of onions, bell peppers, garlic with a slices olives and raisins. Some recipes add diced potatoes.
Plantains - This fruit looks like a large banana, but should always be cooked before eating. Plantains can be cooked in any stage of ripeness, from green to "black and mushy." In fact, the darker the skin color, the sweeter the taste.
Quelites - A dish consisting of spinach mixed with pinto beans, bacon and crushed chile pods.
Quesadillas - A folded tortilla made with a variety of fillings but most typically cheese.
Quinoa - An ancient grain used as a side dish.
Sandwich Cubano - Havana's world famous pressed sandwich. The traditional sandwich Cubano is made with ham, pork, Swiss cheese and pickles.
Sofrito - The savory base used in most Latin dishes. A fragrant blend of chopped onion, garlic and peppers sautéed in olive oil.
Sopapillas - Puffy and crisp, deep-fried pastry.
Tamale - Meat or vegetables encased in masa dough and wrapped in a corn husk and then steamed or boiled.
Tapas - The name of a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks, in Spanish cuisine.
Tequeños - Rolled pastry snacks filled with cheese. Great appetizer for parties.
Tostadas - Open faced taco.
Tortilla - In Mexico a tortilla is a corn or flour like pancake. In Spain, tortillas are egg omlets served in triangle pie like wedges.
Tuna - No, it's not the fish. This "Tuna" is a cactus fruit. The moist, granular flesh is eaten raw as a dessert with lemon and sugar and is also candied for use as sweet treat.
Verdolagas - This common garden weed can be used as a herb or added to salads. It is known in English as Purslane.
Yuca - This starchy tuber is the "potato" of Central and South America served baked, boiled and "French Fried." Fresh yucca has a hard flesh that's white and stringy flesh. Yuca has a brown skin that looks and feels like tree bark.