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Mexican food is well known for having a wide variety of delicious dishes, including many types of tacos, tamales, barbacoas, soups, and many more. You can see the influence of Mexican food in many other foods around the World including in the United States, Spain, Africa, and even Asia. Mexican cuisine was designated an “intangible cultural heritage” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2010. For those, and many other reasons, I am proud of my Mexican roots and always seek to show that through my recipes.
Of course in order to make these delicious recipes, not only do you have to have the traditional ingredients, but you also need to have specific cooking tools, or utensils in order to give the dishes that authentic taste. The products that are traditionally used in Mexican food have developed and changed throughout the past few centuries as technology has improved. Today we are able to enjoy the best of both worlds as many of the tools we use today are similar to what was used in the past, but are a bit more efficient.
As I create and share many authentic Mexican recipes on my blog like guacamole, barbacoa tacos, horchata, and pozole, I am able to use the cooking utensils that I learned how to use from my grandma and my mom, and this brings back so many wonderful memories from when I was a little girl. Fortunately, today it is not too difficult to find these products even outside of Mexico, and so today I want to share 6 of my favorite products for cooking Mexican food and where you can find them.
1. Molcajete (Mortar and Pestle)
This amazing little product is basically a stone in the form of a small bowl that is used to grind ingredients like garlic, chilies, seeds, pepper, cloves, fresh herbs and even soft fruits and vegetables like avocado! I will always remember the delicious, fresh roasted pepper salsas that my grandma always used to make and that we always had on the table to go along with our meals. When I first arrived in the United States I had to learn how to live without my beloved molcajete, but eventually I found it here, and it is still one of my favorites!
It doesn’t matter what brand or how much it costs, having a good blender is absolutely essential to making great Mexican food. Whether you are using it to make your own salsa, preparing your own refried beans, or making fresh and delicious beverages like horchata, a blender is a great investment because you will definitely be using it! I have used many different brands and types of blenders throughout my life, but I am definitely looking forward to being able to buy my own Vitamix one day!
3. Tortilla Press
This is a very basic tool that is used to make tortillas very quickly and which can be used by anyone to make tortillas, especially if you aren’t sure how to form them by hand. They are used very often in Mexico – especially in local restaurants and stores where they have to make a huge volume to keep up with the demand for delicious foods like pork rind filled gorditas, quesadillas, and of course for the internationally famous tacos, like these chorizo and potato tacos!
This product consists of two metal, circular plates, which are connected by a handle and which, when pushed together are able to form a perfectly flat and round tortilla when a small ball of tortilla dough is placed between them. With this great product, you can have perfect homemade tortillas in just seconds and there is nothing better than homemade, recently cooked tortillas. I bought my tortillas press a few years ago when we were living in Phoenix at a local store, but fortunately you can buy them here as well. The price is worth it, because this product will last for many years (and many tortillas!).
In order to cook those delicious homemade tortillas, you will also need a comal. A comal is smooth, flat griddle that can be used to cook tortillas, meat and more. Originally they were made of clay and I even remember seeing one of those that my great grandmother had. Today they are usually made of cast iron so that they are able to last longer – in fact a good comal can last for many generations! They are usually disc shaped so that you can easily cook the tortillas or toast seeds and roast chilies. I used to have a really good one, but in our many moves, I seem to have lost it and I am definitely missing it. Fortunately I am planning on getting a new one and there are many great options here.
5. Wooden Spoons
One of the great things about Mexican food are the many delicious, homemade beverages that are served with it. In order to make these drinks, you have to do a lot of stirring. That is why it is important to have a good amount of wooden spoons on hand. You will be surprised how often you use them and you will notice that they will protect your non-stick and stainless steel pots and pans as well!
I have been familiar with steamers since I was a little girl, and it has always been one of my favorites. It is most famous for being used to make tamales, but it can also be used to make delicious esquite and corn. You will find one of these in every Mexican home, and because of their popularity, it is even easy to find them in the United States. I have found lots of other uses for it as well, like for steaming vegetables like artichokes. It consists of a large pot with uniform holes placed inside of another large pot which allows for whatever is put inside to be perfectly steamed. You can find them online, but I found mine at Goodwill and have gotten lots of good use out of it.
These are just a few of many cooking tools that you can take advantage of to make delicious Mexican food There are many more that you can use, but these ones are essential. As I have gone through this list, I can say with confidence that I use at least one or two of these products for almost every recipe that you will find on this site.
Whether you are an experienced chef, or are just starting to learn, these will definitely help you on your journey towards making delicious Mexican food. For more essential kitchen products, check out my kitchen essentials store page.