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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Homemade Mexican Spice Mixes

I used to have no problem buying pre-made spice mixes from the grocery store or the spice section of the bulk foods store. That is... until I one day decided to look at the package of my curry spice mix and noted that MSG (monosodium glutemate), a chemical we absolutely avoid in our house, was in that spice mix.
ACK!
Nope. Not going to be eating that.
Unfortunately, spice mixes often get away without writing exactly what they contain; they often just write "spices", which, at least where I live, and in many other places, can mean there is unlabeled MSG in there. We're all into keeping things natural in our home, chemical free and made from scratch.
On top of that, where I live, there isn't a large enough Mexican population for Mexican foods to be sold here, so many of the spice mixes used in Mexican foods can't even be purchased here, even if you weren't concerned about the MSG.
Or, you might want to make something that calls for one of these spice mixes and you don't want to have to run out and buy a ready made mix if you can save the time and gas money (not to mention the other money that will inevitably be spent once you make a trip to the store).
Either way, it's always good to know how to make your own spice mixes at home.
Here are some of my favorites that we've used for Mexican night in our home (some as recently as yesterday).

Homemade Chili Powder
This is a basic seasoning mix I make sure to always have in my house, as I use it so often, and it is also the base for the other two spice mixes listed below. I generally double it.


Ingredients:
4 tablespoons paprika
4 teaspoons oregano
2.5 teaspoons cumin
2.5 teaspoons garlic powder
2.5 teaspoons cayenne pepper (or hot paprika)
1.5 teaspoons onion powder

Instructions:
1. Combine all ingredients.
2. Whiz in blender, coffee grinder, or food processor for 20 seconds.
3. Store or use immediately.

Taco Seasoning Mix
This goes terrifically with ground meat, ground chicken, ground turkey, and then put inside a burrito. Its great also in many other ways, like Taco soup or Taco salad. 

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (omit if you prefer things less spicy)
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions:
1. Combine.
2. Whiz.
3. Store or use.

Fajita Seasoning Mix
I didn't grow up eating Taco bell or much Mexican food other than chips and salsa and the rare stuffed ortega tacos. I'll be honest that the first time I ever tasted fajitas was the food I made myself with this mix, so I can't compare it to other fajita mixes and say "This tastes exactly like it". But I can say that this spice mix tastes absolutely delicious, especially paired with chicken. Yummy!

Ingredients:
1 tablespoons chili powder
1.5 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, or hot paprika (or less, if you prefer things less spicy.)

Instructions:
1. Combine.
2. Whiz.
3. Store or use.

Note:
If you don't have onion powder in your house, you can whiz up some dried minced onion to use in this recipe. Just note that it clumps quickly, so keep the homemade onion powder in the freezer until using or mixing with other ingredients.

Do you make Mexican food often? What is your favorite type of Mexican food? Do you usually use store bought spice mixes or make your own?
What are your most frequent ways to use chili powder, taco seasoning, and fajita seasoning mixes?

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3 comments:

  1. Well- I did grow up on Mexican food. It's one of my favorites. I have had the best of the best, growing up in California. Now, if I want Mexican food, I'm on my own. Which, I do make well, but never thought of making homemade enchilada sauce before. And I'm excited to try these spice mixes. Thank you!
    BTW- I also had hyperemis gravadarum with my pregnancies I looked anorexic int 5th month with my first. I didn't need maternity clothes and ended up in the hospital 5 times. I was hospitalized with each pregnancy and pretty miserable!!!!
    But the payoff was better than anything!!!! Mexican food would not have gone done- for sure! Well, nothing stayed down anyway

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  2. Just a quick question about your spice mixes. Is the tablespoon measure equivalent to 3 teaspoons?

    Tablespoon measures vary around the world but teaspoons tend to be the same size. Thanks in advance.

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