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What are some traditional spices and ingredients commonly used in Oaxacan cuisine that can be learned in cooking classes?

    In Oaxacan cuisine, there are several traditional spices and ingredients that are commonly used and can be learned in cooking classes. One key ingredient is the Oaxacan mole, a complex sauce made with a variety of ingredients including chilies, nuts, seeds, spices, and chocolate. Learning how to make mole from scratch is a highlight of many cooking classes in Oaxaca.

    Another essential ingredient in Oaxacan cuisine is the nixtamalized corn, which is used to make traditional tortillas and tamales. In cooking classes, participants can learn the process of nixtamalization, where corn is soaked and cooked in an alkaline solution to enhance its nutritional value and flavor.

    Other common ingredients include chiles, such as the smoky and mild pasilla and the spicy and fruity chile de árbol. Epazote, a pungent herb, is frequently used in Oaxacan cooking, particularly in bean dishes. The herb hoja santa, known for its anise-like flavor, is used to wrap tamales or grill fish.

    Additionally, ingredients like avocado leaves, tomatillos, tomatoes, and various types of beans play prominent roles in Oaxacan cuisine. Learning how to work with these traditional spices and ingredients is a great way to immerse oneself in the vibrant flavors of Oaxaca’s culinary heritage.

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