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Spanish Food Vocabulary: 83 Delicious Cooking Terms for the Kitchen

Learning Spanish: Cooking in Spanish

❶Adobo A seasoning paste, usually containing ground chiles, vinegar, garlic and spices that is used to coat meats, poultry and seafood prior to cooking or drying to preserve.

Why You Should Learn Spanish Through Cooking Hispanic Cuisine

How to Learn Spanish Through Cooking and Eating
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Spanish cuisine differs from region to region. Each region has its own specialty. For example, Central Spain, which includes Madrid and Castille, is famous for its meat roasts and cheeses, Valencia for its rice dishes, Galicia for its seafoods, and Andalucia for its fried food. Some well-known Spanish foods are rice dishes like paella and caldera, casseroles, gazpacho a cold vegetable soup and mayonnaise.

Some people have "un aperitivo" a snack between meals. Meals may consist of "un plato principal" a main course , "un segundo plato" a second dish and "un postre" a dessert. The cooking is usually done in a "cocina" kitchen. Horchata Soft drink prepared by blending water or juice with melon seeds or rice, and with additional ingredients including fruits, coconut, almonds and sugar. A plant related to epazote whose leaves are coated with batter and fried. Careful, this is also a slang word for testicle.

A safer word to use is Blanquillo, although it is little used in Mexico. Jamoncillo Confection or candy made from sugar and milk or from fruits and pumpkin seeds. An edible root with much the texture and taste of a cross between an apple and water chestnut. Tree and the edible fruit it bears which is peach colored and almost too sweet to some tastes.

A favorite ingredient in ice cream. Marquesote A sweet bread or tort usually made with wheat, rice or corn flour and eggs. Menudo Soup or stew made with tripe and flavored with chiles. A specialty of northern Mexico, that is considered a cure for hangovers.

Merienda A light meal or snack taken either between the comida and the cena. Similar to an English high tea. Metate The three-legged, flat, stone implement used for grinding corn, chiles and spices. Mezcal Distilled liquor made from the juice of various agaves, often roasted over open fires giving it a smokey taste. Often beans, squash, tomatillos, tomatoes and chiles, the most important elements in Mexican cooking, grow amongst the corn.

Mixiote Thin parchment-like membrane of the maguey, or the dish made by wrapping meats and vegetables in it much the way we use parchment paper, and cooking them in a steamer of barbacoa pit.

Mole From the Nahuatl word molli, or sauce. Now refers to traditional stews which are thickened by their own ingredients including chiles, nuts, fruit and seeds.

Molletes Bolillo or small French rolls cut in half and buttered and toasted, or covered with refried beans and cheese and heated. A popular breakfast item. Morcilla Meat, often entrails, cooked in blood or stuffed into intestines and grilled or broiled.

Nixtamal Dried corn which has been heated and soaked in an alkaline solution to loosen the skin, and to facilitate the release of vital nutrients. Nopal The typical Mexican edible cactus, either the whole plant or the leaf. Called nopalitos when the leaves are chopped into small pieces. Considered an aid to lowering cholesterol. Panela Unrefined sugar, usually sold molded into small, hard cones. See also panocha and piloncillo.

Panocha Unrefined sugar, sugar, usually sold in small, very hard cones. Be careful as panocha is also a slang word meaning vagina See also panela and piloncillo.

Piloncillo Unrefined cane sugar, usually found in small hard cones. See also panela and panocha. Pinole Flour made from roasted, dried corn. Used to make a drink flavored with sugar, cinnamon and anis, and sometimes sugar. A tropical plant with beautiful flowers and tasty fruit.

Fruit from a type of prickly pear cactus, from which the juice is made into an alcoholic beverage. Platillo Literally, small plate, but also refers to the main dish or entree plate. Ponche Punch, made with liquor such as brandy or rum and fruit, and usually served hot.

Especially popular at Christmas time. Pozole Soup made with meat usually pork and nixtamalized corn kernals called cacahuazintle, and flavored with chile. A speciality of Jalisco. There is also a wheat pozole common to the state of Sonora. Pulque Mildly alcoholic drink made by fermenting aguamiel the juice of the maguey plant.

Quelite Generic name for edible, wild plants, used much the way we use the term "greens. Also called queso cotija. Queso asadero Stringy cheese with the texture of low fat mozzarella that is made from part fresh milk and part milk that has been allowed to ripen over night.

Rajas Slices of skinned poblano chiles that are fried, sometimes with onions, and served with broiled meats. Recado or recaudo Yucatan style seasoning pastes that are usually smeared on meats, poultry and fish prior to cooking.

They are made by grinding together ingredients like annato seeds, garlic, and chiles. A wild vegetable that looks much like rosemary, that is often mixed with mole sauce and shrimp and served during Lent. Salsa Mexicana Literally "rooster's beak.

Usually called pico de gallo, in northern Mexico. Sangria Drink of Spanish origin made with fruit juice, fruit and wine, rum or brandy. Sangrita A combination of orange juice, grenadine, chile and sometimes tomato juice that is the favorite accompaniment to tequila in Mexico. Tasajo Thinly sliced, dried or partially dried beef or pork that is often flavored with chile. Tejocote A tree which produces a fruit resembling a crab apple.

Used in syrups and punches. Telera A type of wheat-flour roll usually used to make tortas Mexican style sandwiches. It is oval in shape and has two ridges lengthwise along the top, giving it the appearance of a trilobite. Tepache An alcoholic beverage made from pineapple and sugar, or cane juice and other juices.

Tepescuinte Sometimes called tepescuintle The paca, a small, plump rodent found more often in South America than Mexico. Torta Literally a pie or tort but also refers to a Mexican style sandwich torta mexicana usually made by removing most of the crumbs from both sides of a split telera or bolillo, then filling it with everything from various meats and cheeses to a tamal. Tortilla Flat, thin bread made from nixtamalized corn.

The most important aspect of Mexican cooking. Totopos In most of Mexico totopos is the word used to describe the fried tortilla chips served as appetizers and snacks. However, in the state of Oaxaca totopos refer to very large corn tortillas that are often cooked until quite hard.

Xnipec A chile sauce or relish common in the Yucatan whose name means literally, "dog's nose. Zacahuil A gigantic tamal, often filled with a suckling pig or whole turkeys, and cooked in a pit. Zapote Trees which produce tropical fruits including the zapote prieto and zapote blanco. The former is quite good and the latter somwhat sour.

The word jugo is more common in Mexico. In Mexico zumo often refers to the oil of an orange peel. Austin Website Design by: Site Street and Graphic Granola. LoMexicano Your home for low-fat Mexican food recipes.

Print-friendly Signup for Updates Share. Acocil Small, fresh water crustaceon Acuyo Piper sanctum. Agua Water Aguacate Avocado. Aguamiel The sweet juice of the maguey plant, that when fermented produces pulque. For example, pescado ahumado means smoked fish.

An extensive list of the foods referred to by "antojitos" may be found in the blog entry entitled " Antojitos Mexicanos " Aperitivo Appetizer or aperitif. Several dishes were named after these colorful characters.

Asar To broil Ate Jam Atole A thick drink, dating from pre-Hispanic times, made with ground, dried corn and water or milk, and occasionally with other ingredients and seasonings, that can be taken hot or cold. Betabel Beet Birria A barbacoa specialty of Jalisco made with lamb or goat. Bistec Beefsteak Bizcocho Cupcake or cookie, often flavored with anis. Blanquear To blanch Blanquillo Egg. Bocadillo Snack or finger food Bolillo French style, crusty bread rolls made in the shape of a bobbin that is served with entrees and used for sandwiches.

Borrego Sheep Botana Snacks or appetizers, often taken with drinks in a bar or before a meal. Brasear To braise Brocheta Shishkabob or skewer. Cacahuate Peanut Cacerola Casserole dish. Campechano A term applied to various seafood cocktails Campechana Cocktail. Canela Cinnamon Capear To cover food with batter and fry it. As Spanish language learners, we grow closer to the Spanish language and Hispanic culture by learning key food and cooking vocabulary.

The Spanish cooking vocabulary provided here was hand-picked to give you an authentic taste of life in Spanish-speaking regions of the world. This thorough glossary of kitchen terminology will help you navigate any Spanish language recipe and cook authentic Hispanic cuisine in the comfort of your own home.

You could spend a lifetime trying to eat your way through the tortillas , tamales , arepas , roasted meat, fresh cheese, guacamole , seafood, tropical fruits, and rice and beans.

Be sure to learn some essential travel phrases so you can make your way to a great restaurant when wandering the streets of a new city. The regions of Spain alone offer a wide array of culinary styles, from rice dishes to seafood and roasted meats.

Taking all of Latin America into consideration, one can become overwhelmed trying to define the sweeping category that is Hispanic cuisine. It is truly an abundant, colorful cornucopia formed by elements of European, Native American, and African culinary tradition.

By integrating Spanish learning into your shopping, cooking, and eating habits, you infuse one more aspect of your life with your new language. Just writing this is making me hungry! While cooking styles are very variable throughout the Spanish-speaking world, the basic ingredients and preparations are strikingly similar.

Traveling throughout Latin America you are bound to stumble across many a strange and mysterious fruit. Tasting the tangy, orange-like naranjilla nah-rahn-hee-yah , the sweet tree tomato known as tomate de arbol toh-mah-teh deh ahr-bohl is guaranteed in western South America. That being said, you are definitely familiar with many of the fruits used in traditional Hispanic cooking.

A common complaint among foreign exchange students in Latin America is the huge quantity of starch in their new diets. Serving sizes can be intimidating first even for Americans , but after a few months of adjustment your stomach will rumble in protest if you forgo eating a huge plate of rice and beans for lunch.


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Spanish vocabulary words and terms to know for buying food, cooking and eating out. Common foods, regional dishes, and cooking methods. Enjoy .

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The Spanish cooking vocabulary provided here was hand-picked to give you an authentic taste of life in Spanish-speaking regions of the world. This thorough glossary of kitchen terminology will help you navigate any Spanish language recipe and cook authentic Hispanic cuisine in the comfort of your own home.

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Spanish cooking vocabulary Learn with flashcards, games, and more — for free. Glossary of Spanish and Mexican Cooking Terms This reference to Spanish and Mexican cooking terms is definitely a work in progress. Like Mexico itself, Mexican cooking is a subject so vast that it defies efforts to capture it with any degree of comprehensiveness.

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Learning Spanish: Cooking in Spanish. Picking up Spanish vocabulary through cooking terms is a great way to increase your knowledge of the Spanish language. You can do this yourself at home. Put up a vocabulary list in the kitchen or, if possible, stick notes on items with the Spanish words for them. Learn spanish cooking terms with free interactive flashcards. Choose from different sets of spanish cooking terms flashcards on Quizlet.