FOLLOWING ARE SPANISH and TEX-MEX WORDS, THEIR PRONUNCIATION,
AND AN EXPLANATION. IF WE HAVE MISSED ANY, PLEASE DROP US A NOTE AND WE
WILL ADD THEM TO THE LIST. Muchas Gracias.
IF THE SPEAKER APPEARS NEXT TO A WORD, CLICK ON
"HEAR IT" to
HEAR the TEX-MEX WAY OF SAYIN' IT. Don't forget
to roll those R's,
stretch those N's, and to make those J's sound as
IN A HURRY??
THE SECTION YOU WANT WITH THIS INDEX.
[B] [C] [D]
[E] [F] [G]
[H] [I] [J]
[K] [L] [M]
[P] [Q] [R]
[S] [T] [U]
[V] [W] [X]
ANCHO CHILE (AHN-choh)
The dried version of the popular POBLANO chile. It is about
3-4 inches long and a dark, reddish brown. It is the sweetest of all the
dried chile's with a slightly fruity flavor. Used in making suaces.
"Tex-Mex Shish-ka-bob" usually made with sirloin chunks that
have been marinated in a jalapeño and tomato mixture, skewered,
then grilled over a hot "mesquite" fire.
Rice, usually referring to the long-grain, white variety.
A main staple in Tex-Mex cooking. To make Spanish
Rice, brown the white, uncooked rice in a little oil and butter. Then add
chopped onions, garlic, and bell peppers. Add cumin, chili powder, tomato's,
salt and pepper. Add water (double of the amount of rice you used), cover,
reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. FOR COMPLETE,
DETAILED, STEP-BY-STEP DIRECTIONS, SEE THE AVAILABLE COOKBOOK
The second most important room of the CASA, the BATHROOM.
In travelling to Mexico or Spain, this is the single most important word
to remember. If you say to someone "Bano"? as in asking "where is A bathroom"
and they say "No, muchas gracias", you are in trouble. Then pull out the
phrase "Donde esta el bano?" and they will more than likely will point
you in a direction where you shall commence to proceed!!
Mexican 'pot roast' made from the cows head. Seasoned and
baked with steam for hours until it is peel apart tender. Served as a taco
on a hot FLOUR or CORN TORTILLA with salsa
or pico de gallo. Muy sombroso!! In
San Antonio, you better get to the TORTILLERIA about
sun up if you have promised your family BARBACOA for breakfast. Also, plan
on taking a nap after breakfast, too, as this wonderful delicacy hits like
a ton of bricks!!
We welcome you!! (Howdy, Hola, Yo!, etc) If you looked this
word up, then spend some time in our pages. After all, Tex-Mex is taking
the country by storm, so brush up and learn a few things while you're here.
Mexican ROLLS, usually about 6 inches in length. They take
a back seat to TORTILLAS which are used more for
"sandwiches" in both Mexican and Tex-Mex cooking.
Made with beer, usually referring to cooked PINTO beans,
that are served like a soup. Nothing beats a hot bowl of borracho beans
that have simmered for 5 hours and fresh, FLOUR TORTILLAS
with real butter on a cold, rainy day.
Fried tortilla-like pastries that are a favorite during the
holiday season. They are traditionally sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and
served with a scoop of ice cream, or served with a cup of hot cocoa.
A large (10") flour tortilla filled with any number of concoctions
including beans, beef, pork-then sealed by tucking the ends under. They
can be eaten like this or topped with salsa, lettuce, tomato, cheese, or
guacamole. If fried, they are now called CHIMICHANGAS.
In many parts of the country, they pass off the "burrito" as a BREAKFAST
wanna be !! I think the "Arches" people did this cute number as most people
still associate a TACO as a hard or crisp Mexican dish. In Texas, you better
know the difference between a BURRITO and a TACO, or
you will get the CHORIZO-as they say!!
Good. OK. "An acknowledgement that everything is A-OK...."
Same definition as HUEVOS, latter part.
Spanish and Mexican for meat, CARNE refers specifically to
beef. The word CARNE is used in conjunction with another word that describes
the uniqueness of the dish. Examples are
and CARNE ASADA, as well as CARNE CON FRIJOLES
(beef with BEANS).
Stewed meat made with beef, onions, bell peppers, garlic,
salt, pepper, comino which is then served over white rice, or with Spanish
rice and refried beans. Also can be served on a warm flour tortilla and
eaten as a TACO. FOR COMPLETE,
DETAILED, STEP-BY-STEP DIRECTIONS, SEE THE AVAILABLE
That dwelling that one calls HOME. Ever here the phrase "Mi
casa is su casa"? Well if someone tells you that, it's about the highest
compliment one can receive.
Mexican Sausage, made with ground pork and spicy seasonings.
In Mexico, fresh pork is used while in Spain, smoked pork is used. The
casing is removed before cooking, usually frying and then mixing with HUEVOS
(eggs). Served by itself or as a TACO.
Deep fried BURRITO, that is, a large
flour tortilla, filled with any number of concoctions.
A Spanish original, this light and crispy pastry is made
using cornmeal and sugar which is made into a dough. The dough is
then piped into strips, deep-fried until golden brown, then removed and
sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.
As any REAL Texan knows, this stands for the national dish
of Texas, CHICKEN FRIED STEAK. Yep, where it originated, and where a restaurant
will "make it or break it" based solely on this one delicious item. Always
made with tenderized round steak or "cubed" steak and smothered with white,
cream gravy. Served with mashed potatoes or fries, fresh corn off
the cob or green beans, and Texas Toast or fresh, buttered biscuits. Yum!!
An herb used in Tex-Mex cooking extensively. Also known as
Chinese parsley, this green, highly aromatic spice exudes a somewhat "bitter"
taste that is usually acquired over time. The leaves are chopped fine and
used as a condiment or as an ingredient in dishes. The stems can be chopped
and used in soups, beans, or anything that is simmered for a while. The
seed it produces at full maturity is
which is sold as the whole seed or ground.
The most important room in the casa, the KITCHEN.
Male cook. In early pioneer days, the 'chuck wagon' on the
trail drives was generally an aging cowboy who was the highest paid worker
on the drive. In Tex-Mex history, he was referred to as the "cocinero",
especially when of Spanish descent.
A round, flat griddle used in making TORTILLAS, made of either
cast iron or unglazed earthenware.
Ground comino seed is also known as CUMIN.
Used as a spice in Tex-Mex cooking. This is the spice used in making CARNE
GUISADA (Mexican Beef Stew) that gives this dish a distinctive taste
The seeds of the the CILANTRO plant
that are produced at full maturity. It is ground to a fine, almost powder
consistency. It can also be left fairly course and used to season meats,
Same as COMINO, which is the ground
Skirt steak. Most associate 'fajita' with a taco or the strips
of meat that go into the taco. Beef skirt steaks come from the outer covering
of the breast near where the 'brisket" comes from. There are only 2 'skirts'
per cow, and it wasn't that long ago that meat processing plants ground
this up with the scraps as burger. It is a highly flavorful cut of meat
as a result of the loose fat membrane that 'burns' off when cooked properly.
A dessert that closest resembles a caramel custard. It is
made in a "pie shape" of which slices are cut and served.
Translates literally to "flute". This
is a corn tortilla, usually white or yellow, that has been stuffed with
beef, chicken, pork, or even beans-then rolled and pinned, then deep-fried
until crisp. They are usually about 3/4" in diameter and served two or
three on a plate, topped with sour cream, tomatillo
sauce, guacamole, or salsa.
Beans, specifically PINTO beans, that are grown only in the
southwestern states. As a listed menu item, unless it states they are BORRACHOor
RANCHERO style, you can easily assume they are refried beans.
Thanks, thank you. Also Muchas Gracias is a whole lots' of
Tex-Mex for non-Mexican descendent. White face, American,
anything but of Hispanic heritage.
Avocado mixture that is made from ripened avocado's and lemon
or lime juice, diced onion and tomato, cilantro. Used as a condiment in
lot's of Tex-Mex dishes. Good guacamole is made by mixing by hand with a
fork until the consistency still has very small (1/8") chunks of avocado.
Never use a food processor for making guacamole!!
Hello. Used in greeting another amigo or amiga.
Eggs, as in what comes AFTER the chicken!!
Texas sweet pickle. A pepper that turns from green to red
at maturity, these average about 2 inches in length. The 'hot' comes from
the seed and membrane. In 1912, a pharmacist named Scoville came up with
a "heat index", for measuring the 'heat' in a food product. The range is
from 1 to 10, with 1 being the mildest and 10 being the hottest. The Scoville
Index is still used today and jalapeño's generally hit the 6-7 area.
The jalapeño is the most used pepper in Tex-Mex cooking, with serrano
peppers coming in second.
Tex-Mex restaurant lingo for JALAPEÑOS.
Order your nachos with JAPS on the side and any good waitress won't even
look up !!
The 'language' spoken. As in Tex-Mex is spoken here.
No place to make a mistake or you'll be noticed right off.
A drink that is said to have originated in San Antonio, Texas. Most
all margarita recipes use either lemon or lime juice, tequila, and a fruit liqueur.
The Spanish word for "dough", masa is the corn flour dough
used in making corn tortillas,
tamales and gorditas. Dried corn is cooked in lime water,
cooled, then ground into masa.
This is "masa" that has been processed and then dried to
a powder.. All you do is add water
and spices. The biggest producer of MASA HARINA is the Quaker
The literal Spanish translation is "crumbs". In Tex-Mex cooking
it refers to scrambled eggs mixed with your choice of meats (chorizo, chicken,
etc.) with CORN TORTILLAS added. If the corn tortillas are fresh, they
are added at the beginning of the dish. If fried crisp, they are cut into
either 1/4" strips or triangles (1/6th) and added at the very end to stay
Pan Dulce are dome-shaped Mexican sweet rolls that are distinctive
by the "shell" design on top. Most have a sugar topping with chocolate,
lemon and vanilla being favorites. Great winter snack or dessert with a
mug of hot chocolate!!
PICO DE GALLO
(PEEK-o DAY GUY-yo) RECIPE
The literal translation is "beak of the rooster". Go figure
!! Probably comes from the fact that great "pico" is painstakingly cut
into very small (1/4" or less) pieces, which would make it easy for a rooster
to "peck" at. It is a "salsa cruda" (uncooked) used for dipping with TOSTADAS
or adding to your favorite taco.
Chicken. Remember the "LL" is pronounced -YO-, otherwise
you will be getting something that is played with a stick on a horse!!
Spanish, Tex-Mex, and Mexican for PORK, the other white meat.
Used extensively in Tex-Mex cooking, the most famous item being "regular"
TAMALES, which are corn masa dough surrounding the meat mixture, then wrapped
in a corn husk and steamed to cook the masa.
Cheese. In Tex-Mex cooking, Cheddar-any variety
is the first choice. This is the pure difference between Mexican Food and
Tex-Mex food. In Mexico, goat's cheese is used for traditional dishes.
In Tex-Mex cooking, Cheddar, Monterrey Jack, and even American cheese is
the cheese of choice. Queso and chips anyone?
With tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic and onions as the backdrop,
the word RANCHERO is used to describe either a salsa (cooked) or how something
is cooked, as in PINTO BEANS. Ranchero is sometimes interchanged with BORRACHO,
however, 'Ranchero' does not get beer added in.
Sauce, refers generally to a tomato based condiment used
to dip or to accent dishes. If the salsa is uncooked, as in 'pico de gallo',
it is referred to as "salsa CRUDA" or "salsa . FRESCA". If it is processed,
i.e. a food processor, in Tex-Mex lingo it is called 'chile'. If cooked,
then bottled as is the most popular form, it is usually called PICANTE.
A small (1 1/2 inches) fresh pepper.
As it matures, it will turn red, then yellow. A general rule with chile's
is that the smaller they are in size, the more kick they have. The serrano
chile is almost always used when making "pico de gallo" and many Texans
carry them in there shirt pocket to be eaten raw at lunchtime. They, like
jalapeño peppers, are a great source of vitamin C.
A Mexican or Tex-Mex sandwich eaten as an entree or snack.
They are made with soft corn tortillas, fried corn tortillas folded over,
or with hot, flour tortillas. Just about anything you can think up can
be put in these, just add a little "PICO" or your
Same as tamale, only the pure translation.
Corn masa dough that surrounds your choice of filling, traditional
being shredded pork. The 5-6" long and about 1" thick tamal is wrapped
in a soaked corn husk and steamed to cook the dough. Always served at Christmas
and New Years in San Antonio. Remember when President Gerald Ford tried
to eat a tamale while in Texas WITHOUT removing the corn husk? Bet he's
still chewing on that baby!!
OK Aggies, here it is. Now the 'yell leaders' can shout it
to the whole world...
A & M UNIVERSITY-home of the fighting AGGIES!!
What an AGGIE generally refers
to a 'LONGHORN as. A longhorn in this case
being a student or graduate of the University of Texas.
The LONE STAR STATE, TEXAS.
The word Tejas comes from the Hasinai Indian word which translates into
friends and allies.
come on now!)
The cultural blending of Southern Texas and Northern Mexico.
It all comes together in San Antonio, Texas where originality of Tex-Mex
cooking resides. It is spreading, however, across the United States like
a west Texas wildfire. Heck, even London and Germany are now touting a
"Tex-Mex" grill. Will it ever stop? Hopefully not!!
A small green Mexican fruit that is part of the gooseberry family.
They are tough to the touch and are covered with a brown husk. Used mainly
in making sauces, either fresh (fresca) or after simmering and then putting
in a food processor with spices. This is the sauce used when the word VERDE
(green) is used, i.e.: Enchiladas Verde.
Mexican "sub" sandwich that is made on a "BOLILLO".
(white or wheat roll)
1. In Spain, a tortilla is an omelet. 2. In Tex-Mex cooking,
it is a round, thin "bread" made of either corn flour or wheat flour. Tortillas
are cooked quickly on a hot COMAL and are eaten by themselves or can be
used to wrap around anything imaginable and eaten as a TACO.
A store that specializes in fresh ground, corn masa
and tortillas as well as specialty items such as
chicharones and barbacoa.
TOSTADA means "toasted chip. They are served as an
appetizer or snack, however many restaurants put beans, meats, cheeses
and whatever else they can think up and still call them a "tostada". Not
in San Antonio (Tex-Mex Capital
of the World) !! With additional toppings they now become NACHOS or NACHOS
GRANDE (lots of good stuff on top).
Questions ? or Comments: Info@texmex.net
Copyright 1998-2008 "Secrets
to Cooking Tex-Mex/Michael W. Ludwig. All rights reserved