Tex-Mex Food Dictionario

Tex-Mex Food Dictionario

Borracho (bo-ROTCH-o)
Made with beer, usually referring to cooked pinto beans that are served like a soup.

Burrito (burr-ee-toe)
A large flour tortilla filled with any number of concoctions including beans, beef or pork then sealed by tucking the ends under. They can be eaten like this or topped with salsa, lettuce, tomato, cheese, or guacamole. If fried, they are called chimichangas.

Carne Guisada (CAR-nay GEE-sah-dah)
Stewed meat made with beef, onions, bell peppers, garlic, salt, pepper, comino, which is then served over white rice or with Spanish rice and refried beans. Also can be served on a warm flour tortilla and eaten as a taco.

Chimichangas (chim-me-chan-gaz)
Deep fried burrito, that is, a large flour tortilla, filled with any number of concoctions.

Fajita (fah-HEE-ta)
Usually skirt steak. Most associate ‘fajita’ with a taco or the strips of meat that go into the taco. Beef skirt steaks come from the outer covering of the breast near where the brisket comes from.

Flan (flan)
A dessert that closely resembles a caramel custard.

Flauta (FLOU-ta)
Translates literally to “flute”. This is a corn tortilla, usually white or yellow, that has been stuffed with beef, chicken, pork, or even beans then rolled and pinned, then deep fried until crisp. They are usually about ¾” in diameter and served two or three on a plate, topped with sour cream, tomatillo sauce, guacamole, or salsa.

Frijoles (FREE-hole-ees)
Beans, specifically pinto beans, that are grown only in the southwestern states. As a listed menu item, unless it states they are borracho or ranchero style, you can easily assume they are refried beans.

Gringo (GREEN-go)
Tex-Mex for non-Mexican descendent. American, European, anything but of Hispanic heritage.

Guacamole (WOK-uh-mole-ee)
Avocado mixture that is made from ripened avocados with lemon or lime juice, diced onion, tomato and cilantro. Used as a condiment in lots of Tex-Mex dishes.

Jalapeño (hall-a-PEN-yo)
Texas sweet pickle. A pepper that turns from green to red at maturity, these average about two inches in length. The ‘hot’ comes from the seed and membrane.

Margarita (mar-gur-EE-tuh)
A drink that is said to have originated in San Antonio, Texas. Most all margarita recipes use either lemon or lime juice, tequila, and a fruit liqueur.

Masa (MAH-sah)
The Spanish word for “dough”, masa is the corn flour dough used in making tortillas, tamales, and gorditas. Dried corn is cooked in lime water, cooled, then ground into masa.

Pico de Gallo (PEEK-o DAY GUY-yo)
The literal translation is “beak of the rooster”. Go figure! Probably comes from the fact that great “pico” is painstakingly cut into very small (1/4” or less) pieces, which would make it easy for a rooster to “peck” at. It is a “salsa cruda” (uncooked) used for dipping with tostadas or adding to your favorite taco.

Queso (k-SO)
Cheese. In Tex-Mex cooking, cheddar is the first choice. This is the pure difference between Mexican food and Tex-Mex food. In Mexico, goat’s cheese is used for traditional dishes. In Tex-Mex cooking, Cheddar, Monterrey Jack, and even American cheese is the cheese of choice. Queso and chips anyone?

Rita’s (REE-tuh-Z)
Known for great food and a fun atmosphere. Home of the food you’ll never forget and the margaritas you’ll never remember!

Salsa (SAL-sa)
Sauce, refers generally to a tomato based condiment used to dip or to accent dishes.

Sangria (San-gree-UH)
A tasty Spanish cocktail made from wine and the essence of oranges, lemons and lime.

Sopapilla (SOW-pa-peey-ah)
Hot and tasty flash-fried tortillas. They are served fluffy like a small pillow and are sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar. A great group dessert, sopapillas are typically served with honey on the side.

Taco (tah-KOH)
A Mexican or Tex-Mex sandwich eaten as an entrée or snack. They are made with soft corn tortillas, fried corn tortillas folded over, or with hot, flour tortillas. Just about anything you can think up can be put in these, just add a little “pico” or your favorite “salsa”.

Tamale (tuh-MAL-ee)
Corn masa dough that surrounds your choice of filling, traditional being shredded pork. The 5-6” long and about 1” thick tamale is wrapped in a soaked corn husk and steamed to cook the dough. Always served at Christmas and New Years in San Antonio. Remember when President Gerald Ford tried to eat a tamale while in Texas without removing the corn husk? Bet he’s still chewing on that baby!

Tejas (tey-HAS)
The Lone Star State, Texas. The word Tejas comes from the Hasinai Indian word which translates into friends and allies.

Tex-Mex (ah, come on now!)
The cultural blending of Southern Texas and Northern Mexico. It all comes together in San Antonio, Texas where originality of Tex-Mex cooking resides.

Toasto de Tejas (TOE-stow -deh- tay-HAS)
Toasted, buttery goodness. Fresh bread is typically the first ingredient.

Tres Leches Cake (thress-letch-es)
Moist and delicious, this traditional spongecake is sweeter than Davy Crockett’s grandma. Sure to please all cake lovers (unless you’re lactose intolerant).

Portions of the Dictionario and name “Dictionario” used with permission from texmex.net