George Maguire

Tacos, burritos, tamales, mezcal, lime and heat! These ingredients and cooking methods are synonymous with Mexican food. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you can recreate the street food markets of Mexico City or Oaxaca (in fact many never master the art of making tortilla from corn despite years of practice) but what if a few acquisitions could bring you much closer to the source? Turn up the heat and start your own taqueria (taco specialist) in your own backyard because… why not?
1. Mexican Chilli Set from Sous Chef – link here

Pack a punch. Photo from Sous Chef
Crucial to Mexican cuisine is the warmth and heat of fresh or dried chillies. Whilst often tempered by the freshness of dairy and coriander, the softness of tortilla and the sharpness of lime, Mexican chillies bring powerful notes to a dish - chocolate, smoky, sweet, earthy to peppery. Whilst these chillies are becoming much more easy to source in shops such as Sainsbury’s, the pro chef approved shop Sous Chef offer some excellent packs will get you started in the right direction. If in doubt, learn how to use Cascabel, Ancho, Habanero and Guajillo Chillies in Sous Chef’s handy cooking guide.

2. Mexican Molcajete Pestle & Mortar by Casa Mexico – link here

Grinding, pounding, mixing. Image via Unsplash
Central to many Mexican recipes is the use of a heavy stone tool called a molcajet which is very similar to what we in the UK know as a pestle and mortar. Used to grind spices and pulverise ingredients (such as avocados) the molajet is typically made of volcanic rock and will happily last a lifetime or two if looked after. Pick one up from Mexican experts Casa Mexico.

3. Tortilla Press by Uno Casa – link here

This is a tool that will impress… Tortilla Press here.

Like the molcajet, a cast iron tortilla press is an incredibly durable piece of kitchen kit. Nothing beats freshly made corn tortilla produced by first making balls consisting of masa flour (corn and lime) and warm water. See a recipe here or wait till the next item on our roundup for more extensive instructions…
Top tip – you can also use the press to make mini pizzas and pie bases. 

4. The Essential Cuisines of Mexico Cookbook – link here

Arguably the world’s most important authority on Mexican cuisine. Link here to background.
Warmly known as the Julia Childs of Mexican Cooking, Diana Kennedy is a British legend in the unlikely world of Mexican home cooking. After all, The Essential Cuisines of Mexico is what happens when you spend 40 years of your life studying one country’s food. Authentic yet approachable – and definitely not Tex-Mex - this is a brilliant place to start with detailed sections on everything you would anticipate – appetising tamales, soups, tortilla and much more - such as cookies!

4. Quiquiriqui Mezcal – link here

Mezcal link here via Bibendum Wine
Did you know that all tequilas are actually a type of mescal which is an agave-based liquor? If you’ve made it through cooking a Mexican feast, Quiquiriqui (quite the tongue-twister and available at Waitrose) is an excellent option for toasting your recent culinary success. Smooth yet smoky and complex with agave-notes – this mezcal needs to be tasted to be appreciated. Forget the cheap tequilas of your youth – this is the real deal.

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