Garlic and onion are the cornerstones of flavor in Mexican cuisine, and the most popular spices and herbs used in Central Arizona are coriander, allspice, cloves, thyme, Mexican oregano, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cumin, oregano, cilantro, and ancho chilies. Mexican oregano, which is related to verbena, has a more earthy and spicy flavor than other oreganos. It is ideal for adding flavor to salsa, burritos, tacos, and enchiladas. Ground cayenne pepper is bright red and spicy in color and is used in a variety of dishes.
It is situated between jalapeño and habanero on the heat scale. Cinnamon is used in both sweet and savory dishes such as Mexican hot chocolate, churros, mole sauce, and other classic dishes. Ceylon cinnamon is preferred in Mexico for its subtle and intricate flavor. Coriander is the dried seed of the coriander plant with a lemony flavor and floral scent.
It is used in beans, chicken, guacamole, and other dishes. Cilantro goes great with cumin which is one of the pillars of Indian cuisine but also widely used in Mexican recipes. Cumin is usually reserved to season ground beef for burritos, tacos, and nachos in New Mexican food. Oregano is an herb used sparingly but it's common in traditional New Mexican dishes.
Ancho chilies are milder than Mediterranean versions and are found in chili powder and all kinds of Mexican dishes. They are also used by the Tarahumaras of Copper Canyon to make pinole which is a meal made with roasted and ground dried corn kernels. These spices can be combined with garlic and onion to create a delicious traditional Mexican meal. They can be used to add flavor to sauces, moles, marinades, fish dishes, vegetable dishes, meat dishes, and more.