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Volume II
April 29, 2003

Diner's Guide to Mexican Menus

The following Mexican cooking terms will help you sift through recipes and menus, knowing exactly what you'll be serving.

Aceituna: olive
Adobo: spicy tomato-based sauce
Agua: water
Aguacate: avocado
Ahumado: smoked
Ajo: garlic
Albóndi : atball
Almeja: clam
Al Vapor: steamed
Antojito: small snack food
Aperitivo: appetizer
Apio: celery
Arroz: rice
Asado: broiled
Asar: roast or broil
Atole: thick corn or rice beverage
Azucar: sugar

Bañar: immersed in sauce
Barbacoa: barbecued
Bocadillo: snack
Bolillo: hard, crusty roll
Borracho: cooked with wine
Brasear: braise
Buñuelo: deep-fried puff pastry
Burrito: large tortilla rolled around a filling

Cafe: coffee
Calabaza: squash or pumpkin
Caldo: broth or stock
Camarón: shrimp
Canela: cinnamon
Carne Molida: ground beef
Carne: beef or other meat
Carnitas: shredded pork
Cerveza: beer
Chalupa: thick, boat-shaped tortillas filled with sweet or savory filling
Chícharo: pea
Chilaquiles: fried tortilla strips baked with sauce and filling in casserole form
Chile: chiles
Chile con queso: melted cheese dip containing green chiles and served with tortilla chips
Chiles rellenos: stuffed chiles or peppers
Chimichanga: deep fried burrito
Chorizo: spicy pork sausage
Churros: deep fried pastry strips sprinkled with sugar
Coco: coconut
Comino: cumin

Dulce: sweet or candy
Durazno: peach

Ejote: string bean
Elote: corn
Empanada: fruit turnover
Enchilada: stuffed corn tortilla baked in sauce
Ensalada: salad
Entrada: main dish
Envueltos: fried taco
Escabeche: pickled
Espinaca: spinach

Fajita: skirt steak; usually associated with strips of meat eaten in flour tortillas
Fideos: pasta
Flauta: deep fried stuffed corn tortillas
Freir: fried
Fresadilla: tomatillo
Fresas: strawberries
Frijoles Refritos: refried beans
Frijoles: beans
Frutas: fruit

Gorditas: deep fried tortilla that is stuffed in an air pocket, similar to pita bread
Granada: pomegranate
Guajolote: turkey
Guisado: stewed

Hervir: boil
Hornear: bake
Huevos: eggs

Jamón: ham
Jicama: a crisp, white root vegetable used in salads and as a dipper
Jugo: juice

Langosta: lobster
Leche: milk
Lechuga: lettuce

Maíz: dried corn
Manteca: lard
Masa Harina: masa processed with lime; an instant corn tortilla dough mix
Masa: dough
Mole: thick paste or sauce, traditionally made up of chiles, chocolate, bananas, nuts, and chicken stock

Names: yams
Naranja: orange
Nopal: edible cactus

Oja: corn husk, used for wrapping tamales

Pan: bread
Panela: crumbly cheese
Pepino: cucumber
Pepitas: pumpkin seeds
Pescado: fish
Pica de Gallo: minced salsa
Picada: gordita
Picadillo: meat hash
Picante: hot to the taste
Pimienta: black pepper
Piña: pineapple
Piñon: pine nut
Pollo: chicken
Postre: dessert
Puerco: pork

Quesadillas: grilled cheese filled tortillas
Queso Fresco: very fresh cheese or homemade cheese
Queso: cheese

Rábano: radish
Rajas: fried poblano
Relleno: stuffed
Repollo: cabbage

Sal: salt
Salsa Fresca: uncooked salsa
Sopa: soup

Taco: corn tortilla folded around filling
Tamale: masa dough and meat or other filling stuffed in a corn husk and steamed
Taquitos: tiny flautas
Tomate: tomato
Tomatillo: cherry-tomato-sized, green vegetables that grow in a husk; used in green sauces
Torta: sandwich on a bolillo
Tortilla: thin, flat bread made either of corn or flour
Tostada: beans, cheese, lettuce, and other toppings layered atop a fried corn tortilla

Uva: grape
Uva Pasa: raisin

Vains de Vanilla: vanilla bean
Vino: wine

* DVO welcomes your kitchen hints and cooking or nutrition questions! Email us and we'll post your hints and Q/A's in upcoming newsletters! *

Lean tortillas
Homemade low-fat refried beans
Chomping down the chiles
Flavoring thick cuts of meat
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