When the worst part of winter has passed but spring has not just arrived, everything becomes a little easier and is the perfect time to simplify and organize. A good starting point is in the pantry or kitchen cabinets, where things accumulate so fast that it never reaches the time to use all the things we have; Or worse, we buy new ingredients and there they remain untouched. Cleaning and getting rid of things means you have to start with the basics. These are some of the basic and most versatile products of Latin cuisine and some tips to keep them:
Although not all Latin American recipes are spicy, the truth is that we almost always use many spices. We do not make much differentiation between sweet spices and salads, so that oregano, cumin and bay leaf can be combined with jamaica pepper, cinnamon or clove. For a well-made mole we could use all the spices within our reach. Since we never know what we are going to need, what we can do is buy the spices that are not grounded so that they last longer, and grind them as we need them.
Most professionals say that we should not cook with a wine that we would not take. You’re probably right, but it’s always good to have a cheap cooking wine on hand, just in case. We all grew up in houses where there was always some kind of dry wine bottle, whether red, white or gold, as they were used for many recipes that still remind us of home.
Spanish olive oil is always present in sofrito but it is also a good idea to have some vegetable oil of canola or sunflower, to fry and brown the meals. Stir achiote in oil to give a touch of color and flavor to stews or rice.
Whether chickpeas or pigeon peas, black or red, dry beans are the heart of Latin cuisine so we always have them in the pantry. But remember that over time they get harder and take longer to cook. It is not worth spending money on large quantities of beans if you are not going to cook them for a long time as they will take too long to soften. To last longer, store the beans in tightly sealed plastic containers and do not forget to note the expiration date.
Whether the chiles pasillas, trees or wide, the complexity that contribute chiles to any recipe is unparalleled. Most recipes only require the use of 1 or 2 chilies at a time, so be sure to buy chilies that have a strong, even color, and do not have mold. Dried chilies can be stored in covered containers in a cool, dry place.
Never miss these ingredients in the kitchen to make the best Latino dishes!