Residents and visitors of the San Joaquin Valley of California who love to indulge in well-seasoned food that include a variety of vegetables, meats, spices, and specialty sauces would relish the opportunity to dine at an authentic Mexican restaurant in Visalia. From happy hour to family-friendly and laid-back environments, guests of Mexican restaurants can enjoy full-course meals that are healthy, made-to-order and delicious.

Mexican food is known for its zesty flavors mixed with tasty herbs and spices. Some of the popular ingredients used to create authentic Mexican dishes are tortillas, corn, beans, tomatoes, avocadoes, jalapenos, chili, sour cream, oregano, and a variety of cheeses.

Historical Roots of Popular Mexican Ingredients

Mexico is also known for giving chocolate and vanilla to the world. Chocolate and vanilla are among the top ingredients used in a variety of dessert recipes. The Totonacs, a culture of people who originally lived near the Gulf of Mexico in an area currently known as the City of Veracruz, originally cultivated the vanilla spices.

In fact, a drink that included cocoa beans, chili, and vanilla was recognized in history as given to the Emperor of the Aztec Empire in 1519 by a man named Cortez. Realizing that the cocoa beans could be developed to produce different foods, Cortez began to utilize the cocoa to derive currency. Overtime, cocoa beans have evolved as the essential ingredient in chocolate foods in Europe, Spain, and around the world.

Staples of Traditional Mexican Recipes
There are a few staple ingredients that are included in the majority of dishes served in authentic Mexican restaurants in Visalia, CA or elsewhere. Corn is the most popular ingredient and have been passed down in traditional recipes for thousands of years. Corn is known to be originally cultivated by the Toltecs, a civilization of people in the city recognized today as Hidalgo.

Beans have been passed down as staple ingredients in popular Mexican cuisines overtime as well, particularly in dishes like frijoles churros, black bean soup and the Mexican manicotti. Chile is also a popular staple in the Mexican culinary tradition. There are many Mexican recipes that are made with spicy chile, like the chipotle and enchilada dishes.

Sources:

From Mexico to the World: Mexican Staple Ingredients, Inside Mexico, October 8, 2013

Essential Ingredients for Mexican Cooking Checklist, Real Simple