Mexican food is an ancient and often very misunderstood cuisine. The culture has been incredibly Americanised (in some cases even a little Europeanised) particularly in the American South and it seems to get on a lot of people’s nerves. To those people, I say cooking is art at well as science, and as long as it works and tastes good, who really cares?
That being said, many people hold a lot of pride in their own culture, especially one as old and rich as Mexico’s so if the classics and tradition is something you like to buy into, check out these appliances that’ll bring you closer to your Mexican food.
You can’t call yourself a Mexican cook if you can’t make your own tortillas. They’re mostly used for corn tortillas, and while some passionate southerners would call you a sinner for using them for flour tortillas (because you can’t really get an ideal thickness with it), it can be a big help to form that initial tortilla shape especially for beginners. Tortilla presses can be bought made from wood, cast iron, or aluminum. If you do get one, a pre-seasoned cast iron tortilla press from UNO Casa, it’s virtually non-stick and it comes with 100pcs pre-cut parchment paper so you can easily set aside the pressed tortillas without having to go through the trouble of them sticking together.
For something really authentic, you can go with the Estrella 7.5 inch cast iron tortilla press that’s made in Mexico!
Round Griddle Pan
Tortilla presses and griddles go hand in hand. In pre-Columbian Mexico, tortillas were cooked on hot rocks, then on clay cooking equipment, and today on a hot griddle. Thankfully griddles are good for a lot more than just tortillas. Griddle cakes, searing meat, charring fruit, and vegetables are just some of the handy applications a griddle pan can be used for.
The Eslite Life Crepe Pan is an excellent choice for a round griddle pan, and as an added bonus, it’s compatible with modern induction stovetops as well
For something more robust and traditional, you can’t go wrong with the 10.5 inch Lodge Pre-seasoned cast iron griddle with easy-grip handle.
The first cast iron cookware was invented and used in China around 200 AD and even back then they were able to shape and mold iron teapots, pans, and cauldrons with incredible accuracy. Cast-iron is mostly used by dedicated and passionate cooks especially meat lovers who are vehement about a good sear.
The Ultimate Cast Iron Multi-Cooker is a set of two pieces, a 3 quart heavy duty skillet and lid, which can double as a skillet in itself!
For the cast-iron beginner, a full 5-piece set can also be the best choice as a gift! It has everything needed to enter the world of cast iron cooking!
Mortar & Pestle or Molcajete
Molcajetes are Spanish and Mexican style mortars & pestles that have been used there since the pre-Columbian era. Considering Mexican food puts a massive emphasis on spices like cumin, chili, cloves, anise, and achiote (that can all be dried and ground), it only makes sense to own one so you can start using those spices whole to really fine-tune cooking.
A granite Molcajete is a great option (we’re not big fans of plastic ones) and not only that, it looks amazing as well.
If you’re something really traditional, there’s one available that’s made from volcanic rock! Do it as the ancient Aztects did!
You can buy plastic or fabric tortilla warmers to use in the microwave but aside from being rather ugly, they’re not very in touch with classic Mexican cooking. That being said if traditionality isn’t your schtick then by all means go for it. Personally (and the same applies to anyone I’ve ever met who’s passionate about a certain cuisine), I’d go for one made from ceramic or terracotta. Not only do they look overwhelmingly cool, but they can also be used in the oven, the microwave, or on the stove.
For Terracotta Tortilla Warmers, the Fox Run is an excellent choice when it comes to value for money.
For a more contemporary look, we suggest the Uno Casa Ceramic Tortilla Warmer and holder.
While it’s called a tamales steamer, I’m certain you’ll find many more amazing uses for one of this primality steaming. Steaming vegetables, meat, seafood, or puddings will come with absolute ease using one of these.
For the best value, a 32-quart aluminum tamale steamer is your best bet!
We also recommend a Granite Ware tamale pot if non-stick is more of your thing. Its 15.5-quart size is also perfect for smaller kitchens.
A cazuela pan is a glazed, deep ceramic pan that can be easily used in an oven or over direct heat. They’re classically used for bread but can be used for a magnitude of other things like fondue, puddings, or simply just as a pretty serving platter.
A 6-inch Terracotta Cazuela pan is a good choice if the recipient prefers a rustic look to their kitchen.
Of course, if you prefer to give a set, you can include the 8.5-inch version of the Cazuela as well!
An olla, although not strictly Mexican, became very popular both in Mexico and the American south as cooking vessels and pieces of artwork. They’re made from ceramic (often unpolished) and have a wide bottom and narrow neck which helps prevent moisture loss during the cooking process.
Nothing really beats the authenticity in taste (and in looks!) of an Authentic Mexican Barro Olla!
Don’t like the design? Here’s another one that has a floral design that’s quite popular.
Mexcian woks kind of look like a big metal sombrero with an inverted outer flap that you use to cook. It’s used often for a northern Mexican meat dish called discada but can be used for any number of stir-fries, stews, deep-fries, and hashes.
Want to give something that will practically last forever? The Concord Stainless Steel Comal Frying Bowl is the way to go!
There’s also a set available with a propane burner that’s perfect for camping and outdoor use!
While it’s the most modern piece of equipment on this list, it’s also the most versatile. They can be used to make guacamole and salsa, they can blend soups, puree fresh tomatoes for bases, whip up margaritas, chop fresh vegetables finely, and so much more. A blender isn’t just for a Mexican cook, it’s for anyone who likes to spend time in the kitchen.
One of the best-value blenders that we know of is the Ninja SS201. If you’re looking for something with the best bang for your buck then this is it!
Another excellent choice when it comes to value for money is the NutriBullet ZNBF30500Z Blender, either way, you can’t go wrong!