Many great vegetables are native to different countries that you may never know about or even know that your favorite vegetable is from another country. For instance, some exotic lettuce, such as the radicchio with a pleasantly bitter taste, is mainly grown in its native country, Italy. Yet, you enjoy having that type of lettuce as part of your salad. That is one example. What about other vegetables that you want that you know very little about as well? You are likely enjoying many vegetables that are native to Mexico as well. Are you ready to learn more about some of the Mexican vegetables that you probably eat often? Let’s go over that list now.
When you think of sport peppers, you may think of those peppers that you see in Chicago-style hot dogs. You may even believe that these peppers are native to the Chicago area of the United States or in the Southern USA. However, even though they look very hot, they are mildly spicy with a tangy flavor. Sport peppers did not come from the USA as they are native to Mexico. Sport peppers are usually pickled, so they have a slightly spicy and tangy flavor and have a vinegar-like taste. They are also pale green which results from them being pickled. The next time you order yourself a Chicago-style hot dog, remember that these peppers are not from the USA. They are from the country south of the border.
You may think that the chile pasilla comes from Chile, but they do not as they are Mexican vegetables. The meaning of this pepper translates to little raisins, and this is a typical Mexican hot pepper as it is a dehydrated type of chilaca pepper. The other name for this vegetable is the pasilla bajio, and even though it appears hot, it is not that spicy even though it can add some heat to some dishes that include these peppers.
The chile pasilla is a common ingredient of different salsas and sauces, and it has a smoky, rich, and earthy flavor. You can dehydrate them, but you can also convert them to powder which is what many Mexican chefs do. You will see that honey has some of this spice in it as well, in addition to other dishes, including lamb, duck, and seafood. Mexican fruits, mushrooms, and garlic can also contain this vegetable.
Another famous hot pepper from Mexico is the poblano pepper. They are dark green, and they can even become brown or red when fully ripe. They look hot, but they are pretty mild compared to other Mexican peppers. You can roast and peel them, and you see these peppers come in frozen or canned versions.
On Mexican Independence Day, there is a tradition to eat a dish known as Chiles Rellenos as Mexicans stuff these peppers with cheese and egg and other ingredients that make white, red, and green, representing the colors of the Mexican flag. There is also a dried version of the poblano pepper known as Ancho.
If you look at the prickly pear cactus native to Mexico, you can imagine a vegetable inside them. That is known as nopales and you cut them up, and you can grill or boil them. However, you never want to overcook them, or else the texture becomes undesirable. The tradition is that nopales don’t get eaten on their own as they are often placed inside soups, salads, eggs, and tortillas. If you want to grab yourself some nopales, you will need to go to a Mexican market or food store. They have a flavor similar to green beans, and if you like green beans, you will like nopales.
Everyone is familiar with chipotle, as you know, of the Mexican restaurant, Chipotle, and the sauce. It is an extremely hot pepper that also has a smoked flavor. However, not all chipotle peppers are the same as some are hotter than others, and the most common one is the chipotle morita, a red-color hot pepper. You will find this particular chipotle as a common ingredient of many Mexican sauces, and when you go to a Mexican restaurant, the wait staff will offer you the sauce on the side.
Everyone is familiar with the jalapeno pepper as it is known to be one of the hottest peppers imaginable. However, remember that not all jalapeno peppers are the same as some are hotter than others, and some are green, and others are red. The red version is sweeter and milder, which is the preferred version of those who don’t like their dishes overly spicy if they eat out at Mexican restaurants. The desirable thing to do often is to roast jalapeno peppers as they become somewhat smoky in flavor, in addition to earthy and rich. They are a staple ingredient on nachos.
Those are only a few Mexican vegetables, as others include the Mexican squash known as the calabaza, the Mexican green tomato known as the tomatillo, and other peppers. Either way, when you go to a Mexican restaurant, you will see these names on their menu items, and you will see that some of these vegetables have a distinctly different flavor from others that you are used to eating at home. Then again, you may not even realize some of these vegetables that you eat at home are indeed Mexican such as the sport pepper. Many countries that live in warm climates have their unique fruits and vegetables.