Spice Mix: Make your own Southwest Mix

Make your own Southwest Mix

Tex Mex burrito. True Mexican cuisine would use corn tortillas and seldom use cheddar cheese.

Tex Mex burritos; tasty but not True Mexican cuisine.

In the spice world, the terms Southwestern and Tex Mex merely describe flavors used in Texas and Southwestern US restaurants. There are a variety of powdered spices used to create this distinctive flavor and you can experiment to get the flavor and hotness you like.

New world chili peppers and old world black peppers were traded around the globe. They were, and still are, used to add hotness to foods whether in India, Laos, Ecuador or Turkey. Since hotness is a personal preference, please look over this chart at eatmorechilis.com before you change the Southwest spice mix recipe. Remember too that the hotness can vary a great deal within the same type of spice. One paprika may rate 3,000 on the scale and another 500. 

You may choose to use powdered or fresh ingredients. Fresh garlic, onion and chili peppers add to the taste but present problems. When cleaning and cutting chili peppers, I suggest you wear food-handling gloves. Gloves will keep the oils from getting on your hands and then in your eyes. If you use fresh ingredients, use the mix right away because it cannot last very long.

If you choose to cook in the true Mexican tradition, you would also use fresh ingredients for spices and saute the seeds, chiles and peppers to get more flavor. Authentic Mexican cuisine is time-consuming and a whole different subject.

  Here is a simple multipurpose recipe for Tex Mex spice mix.

Tex Mex Spice Mix
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Ingredients
  1. 4 T chili powder
  2. 1 t cayenne pepper,
  3. 1 t oregano
  4. 2 t garlic powder
  5. 2 t ground cumin
  6. 1 t paprika
  7. 1 T garlic powder
  8. 1 T ground coriander
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl (mortar)
  2. Grind together with the back of a spoon (pestle)
  3. Store in a sealed glass container.
Notes
  1. Powdered cayenne and chile peppers are used in this recipe. Use less than called for to reduce hotness or search a spice emporium to buy ground peppers with a lower heat rating.
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About Don R

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. Retired teacher. Multiple successful business endeavors including screen printing / sporting goods business, executive director of a Boys & Girls Club, commercial fishing, and co-founding an alternative high school. Interests include family, hiking, cooking, Parkinson's research and developing an educational cooking program.