Friday, 5 October 2012

On Ingredients

In my shameless whoring for page views, I've shared my blog on Facebook several times. And I often get asked where to find some of the ingredients I use. Up here in Canada, some of the stuff is pretty uncommon. Some should be obvious - chili powder, cilantro, tomatoes - but others are a little harder to find. So I thought I'd put together a quick post about where to find all the stuff you need to make your taco dreams come true.

If you can't find this, we may have a problem

Easy Finds

At most supermarkets there's a Mexican section stocked full of the ingredients you need, like:

Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
Masa corn flour 
Canned sauces and salsas

In my experience, larger grocery stores have a better selection and will carry these things. And if you're in Canada, stores that carry the President's Choice line (Loblaws, Superstore, Fortinos, etc.) seem to be your best bet. 

Hard Finds

Some ingredients aren't readily available in your average grocery store. If you live in a large city, you can find them at a Mexican grocer. Things like:

Mexican oregano
Guajillo chile powder
Dried peppers like ancho, guajillo, pasilla negro
Poblano peppers
Cheese like cotija, queso blanco

But there are other options for people like me: 

a) visit a big city Mexican grocer and then transport your spices on the airplane in bags labelled "oregano, not pot" 

b) check out other ethnic or gourmet specialty grocery stores and maybe get lucky. I had great success at Pete's Frootique in Halifax, which stocks dried guajillo and negro peppers, as well as fresh poblano and tomatillos. 

c) order your spices or dried peppers online. I haven't tried it, but it looks like a viable option. 

d) substitute with more common ingredients. I have to do this with cheese - I can't find the real stuff anywhere. 

Hardware Finds

I've also had much interest in where to find a tortilla press. Mine was a Christmas gift, but I believe it was purchased on Amazon. You can also buy them at Mexican grocers and you might have some luck in kitchen supply stores. 

Best of luck and happy taco-ing!

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