plate of spices for cooking Mexican food

A few years ago I had the chance to take a trip to Cabo San Lucas. I immediately took the opportunity to learn how to cook Mexican food. Along with my husband and a small group of friends we visited Donna Somerlott at her home and school, Casa de Colores. It was an amazing experience.

The most valuable lesson was her recipe for homemade Chorizo seasoning. It’s basically a “chili powder” paste that will make anything you make taste more authentic. For those of you that will never get the chance to attend one of Donna’s classes, here is the seasoning recipe.

A couple notes before you begin. Make sure you use Diamond brand kosher salt and not another brand. Other brands will give you a different density of crystals. Also, don’t use the regular, tightly rolled “American” cinnamon sticks. These are much more bitter and hard. The other kinds (I get mine from a grocery that sells Mexican brands) are much softer and sweeter types of cinnamon.

Ingredients

  • 6 whole allspice berries (nearly 1g)
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 11 (1/4 tsp) whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp whole cumin seeds (not coriander, seeds are long)
  • 1/2 tsp Diamond brand kosher salt
  • 1g (appx 1/4 stick) Mexican/Sri Lankan/Ceylon cinnamon
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 tsp thyme leaves
  • 3 guajillo chiles
  • 1 ancho chile
  • 1-2 T. vinegar

Directions

  1. Toast the spices
  2. Toast the chiles
  3. Grind the spices
  4. Cut the chiles into small pieces
  5. Blend the ground spices, chopped chiles, and 1-2 T. vinegar. Add more water/vinegar as necessary to make a paste.