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I bought some achiote paste in a block, and I also got this thing called "chilmole" which is also in a block of paste, dark brown. I'm thinking it's a mole with chilis in it? The ingredients list: chile seco, ajos, sel y condimentos. Not exactly helpful.

 

edit: Abby found this:

 

http://www.mayaland.com/Food/chilmole.htm

all mole has chilies in it. what you bought is mole paste, fry it in lard (or veg. oil) and thin it with stock.

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I just bought some Spanish chiles called 'chiles nora' from Kitchen Market. They look like big cascabels and are medium-hot. Kitchen Market has a nice selection of chiles, dried and canned. The dried ones are in good condition, but I think the prices at this place are in general high.

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Just a few thoughts:

 

-onions- white or red only- no yellow

-jalapenos- I don't like them. I think serranos are much more interesting and have a more pleasant kick, even though they are considered hotter than jalapenos.

-habaneros and achiote paste- really mostly used in Yucatan cooking. The achiote keeps forever so it's handy but I'd get the habaneros as needed

-tomatoes- I use canned while the fresh ones are so bad

-chilmole- some funky shit, if you ask me.

 

I'd add Mexican oregano, soft cinnamon (canela), cloves and garlic

dried chiles (ancho, guajillo and de arbol for day to day)

and maybe, I don't know, beans?

Locally we now can get key limes/Mexican limes for really cheap and they are better than Persian limes for me.

 

Achiote paste is really handy for a quick marinade. Mix with lime and more garlic on shrimp or a skirt steak- dreamy!

 

These are just my thoughts on an everyday pantry. I'm sure a more authentic voice would have some more/less.

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Couldn't hurt to have some good-quality lard, some dried masa, and some corn husks in case you ever get it in your head to make your own tamales. Also, dried Mexican oregano is nice to have around (I use it most places regular oregano is called for).

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I'm talking cooking, baby. With an emphasis on Mayan, pre-Spanish stuff.

I'm pretty sure pigs are not pre-Columbian. :rolleyes:

 

Look in Diana Kennedy's books for stuff that antedates the arrival of the spanish.

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