This is a roundup on Mexican recipes you can cook in Portugal and other parts of the world. Let’s talk about local ingredients and substitutions. I’ll also share resources I use for authentic Mexican ingredients.
Recipes With Mexican Ingredients & Sources
When doing my Portugal research in Facebook groups, I quickly learned that the number #1 cuisine people miss the most is Mexican food! It warms my heart to know there are so many Mexican food lovers all over the world.
As a native Mexican moving to Portugal, it was very important to me that I would be able to cook my favorite Mexican recipes and also continue to do my work for this blog. This website is my bread and butter, after all, and how I got my visa approved.
We are fortunate that Portugal has MANY ingredients available year round that make making Mexican food at home very easy! Cilantro? not a problem, you can find cilantro everywhere! Limes? you can buy year round. Fresh peppers? there are a few you can buy to substitute on many dishes.
After 1 year of living in Portugal, I can confidently say that you can find most ingredients that will allow you to cook real Mexican food. Here is what I have found so far in Lisbon and Setúbal (where I live with my hubby).
There are a few local peppers you can use to make Mexican salsas without compromising much of the flavor. You can find them at the markets and grocery stores.
- Pimento Padrão – can be used instead of jalapeños or anaheim pepper.
- Pimento Picante – use instead of jalapeños or anaheim serrano pepper.
- Piri Piri – use instead of serranos or combine with other peppers to add a kick.
Staple pantry items
- Pickled Jalapeños – Auchan or Continente
- Tortilla Chips – Aldi, Auchan or Continente
- Flour Tortillas – Homemade are better but in a pinch I like the ones from Aldi the best.
- Pinto Beans – I buy them at local Frutarias where they have them in buckets. They look like regular pinto beans although they have a little red tint. The flavor is close enough. Note: I did not like the texture from the pre-packaged ones at grocery stores.
- Hard Shell Tacos – Pingo, Auchan or Continente. Not really for authentic tacos but once in awhile I like to make “American tacos” lol!
- Lard – I mostly use vegetable oil but if you prefer lard in some of the recipes get Banha de Porco Preto found in the refrigerators at most grocery stores.
- Mexican Crema (sour cream in the U.S.) – Creme Freiché or even Greek yogurt will do. Also, Natas Acidas from Aldi.
- Queso fresco – queso fresco
Source for authentic Mexican ingredients
- Martha Tome – A great source for everything you need! Including dried peppers like chile de arbol, delicious corn tortillas, maseca, canned tomatillos, spices and even treats! Based in Lisbon where she has a little store you can visit but also ships all over Portugal.
- Pop Tortillas. Corn tortillas made with nixtamal. Based in Sintra!
- The Chili Experience – Great source for seasonings, fresh peppers and dry peppers like my beloved guajillo, pasilla and New Mexico. Alan’s farm is located in central Portugal where he grows all of this peppers. Follow his Facebook page where he’ll announce when fresh peppers are available. He’s also offering many Mexican products now. Check out his online store!
- Chiles mexicanos en Portugal – Adelita and her husband are a lovely Mexican couple growing peppers like jalapeños and chile poblanos, tomatillos and nopales (cactus). They ship all over Portugal when in season.
- Jalapeños Gitana – currently has very large poblano peppers. Just bought a bunch of peppers from them. Expensive shipping but worth it to me.
With the sources I mentioned above, I’m confident to say that you can make almost every Mexican recipe while living in Portugal. Feel free to explore my recipes and if you have any questions, just ask in the comments section below or email me at email@example.com
Here are just a few recipes to inspire you to make a Mexican feast!
Let’s start with the staple of all recipes. Once you master this recipe, you can make anything you want! If you plan on making flour tortillas often, I highly recommend getting a stand mixer as making the masa will be so much easier! It will saves a lot of time.
After playing around with different local ingredients, I like the texture of tortillas made with Planta (sabor a manteiga) the best. These are the measurements I use:
- 500g All purpose flour T55
- 3/4 Tablespoon table salt (sal fino de mesa)
- 100 grams “Planta” (butter flavor) vegetable shortening.
- 1 cup hot water (not boiling hot)
Here are just a few recipes that you can make in Portugal. But in reality, you can make most Mexican recipes in this blog.