6 Latin Ingredients That Will Inspire Your Cooking

6 Latin Ingredients That Will Inspire Your Cooking

From Mexico to Argentina, these ingredients are distinguished by being tasty and rich in tradition.

By: Marisa Rincon

Ingredients are, without a doubt, what make our kitchen a place where we can close our eyes to get in touch with our heritage. Regardless of country, the main ingredients of Latin food are onions, tomatoes, garlic, rice and green or red peppers, but what gives it the real Latin flavor are those typical ingredients from your country that make each dish have its own distinctive taste. Join me as we discover the ingredients that are must-haves in your kitchen.

It’s undoubtedly the king. From one place to another it seems to transform to make its gastronomy unique, just like all its different names: choclo, elote, jojoto, maíz. We use it to prepare tortillas, arepas, pupusas; in kernels and in lots of other kinds of dishes. It’s an essential ingredient in your kitchen.

Mexico is known for its huge variety of fresh and dried chiles. The spiciest or sweetest chile is an ingredient that enriches and makes Mexican food taste different.


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Ají amarillo is the flagship of Peruvian and Ecuadorian food. It’s used in dishes such as papas a la Huancaína or ají de gallina; or as a sauce to accompany your dishes.

Culantro or Recao
In Caribbean cuisine, culantro or recao is used to prepare recaito and sofrito, which are the basis for stews, soups and rices. Some people prefer the recaíto to the sofrito and some use them interchangeably, but they always have them at hand.

Platano or Patacón
We found that in the Caribbean, Central America and parts of South America, the plantain is important and distinctive as an ingredient in soups and stews or to accompany them as tostones (fried green plantains).

Cilantro (Coriander)
Whether dried or fresh, we use cilantro in sauces, guacamole, soups, meats and stews, and to cook beans. It has a very distinctive flavor that you must have in your refrigerator (fresh) or (dry) in your cupboard.

Yuca, Mandioca or Cassava
The yuca completes the flavor in Caribbean and South American cooking, whether it’s in garlic or cilantro, stewed or fried, as flour, as a side dish, or as an ingredient in desserts and sweets.

Which ingredients are must-haves in your kitchen?

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