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Mexican cooking ingredients in Ontario

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#1 Darienne

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 06:23 AM

Mexican cooking is my latest obsession and am I having fun! Now planned is a Mexican feast for the Dog Weekend folks at the end of August with much practice beforehand.

From a couple of the eG Mexican cooking threads I have compiled a list of ingredients needed for the most modest of Mexican or even Tex/Mex cooking. I'll list some of them and then ask, where O where in Ontario...I'll even go right into Toronto...can I find them?

(I am keeping in mind that I'll be able to pick some up in Ann Arbor in early August if the good lord is willin' and the crick don't rise and I can actually make it to the Heartland Gathering. A visit to a Mexican market is part of the festivities. Plus, friends are coming from NJ at the end of August and can bring stuff. There is no doubt a Mexican market in NJ...although I still have to ask.)

Fresh chiles: anjo, pasilla, poblano, arbol, cascabel, etc, etc.
Cajeta
Cheeses
achiote/anatto
piloncillo
canela
vanilla

Mostly it's the chiles and cheeses... I think I can get some dried chiles in Peterpatch even.
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#2 camdan

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 06:41 AM

Kensington market might have what you're after but you may need to adapt. They definitely have a big selection of dried chilies but you might be out of luck when it comes to fresh ones. Not sure if they'll carry the other stuff, but I can't think of a better place to try - there are several Latin shops there.

#3 ElsieD

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 08:52 AM

http://www.chillychiles.com/

You can mail order all your chiles from here, but they are in dried form. Other than poblanos, I have never seen the other ones you mentioned in their fresh state. We have a Mexican grocery around the corner so if there is something you want that you can't find, let me know and I can pick it up and send it to you. Cascabels are really cute - little round balls that rattle - I use them in a shrimp dish. Also, different topic, but re: the ice cream - they only listed the ingredients. I have The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz - he has, I think, a couple of savoury ice creams in it. Let me know if you would like me to send you some.

Elsie

#4 rgruby

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 09:06 AM

As others have said, most of those chiles are only available here in dried form.

Poblanos, jalapenos, serranos and habaneros you can find fresh.

There are a couple of El Salvadorean places in Kensington market that cater to a Latin American clientele (on Augusta, just north of Baldwin - there's one just south of there too). They do carry some Mexican-styled cheeses. I believe at least some of them are made here in Ontario in the K-W area. Might be worth a google to see if they might mail you some.

Cheers,
Geoff

#5 Darienne

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 09:11 AM

http://www.chillychiles.com/

You can mail order all your chiles from here, but they are in dried form. Other than poblanos, I have never seen the other ones you mentioned in their fresh state. We have a Mexican grocery around the corner

If I understand you correctly, there is a Mexican grocery that carries fresh poblanos. I have friends in Ottawa who come here regularly. Do give me the name and address and I can get poblanos that way. Thanks.
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#6 Darienne

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 09:13 AM

Poblanos, jalapenos, serranos and habaneros you can find fresh.

There are a couple of El Salvadorean places in Kensington market that cater to a Latin American clientele (on Augusta, just north of Baldwin - there's one just south of there too). They do carry some Mexican-styled cheeses. I believe at least some of them are made here in Ontario in the K-W area. Might be worth a google to see if they might mail you some.

Cheers,
Geoff

Thanks Geoff. To get it straight: The fresh chiles you mention are available at the El Salvadorean places in Kensington, and also some Mexican-type cheeses.

What is the K-W area of Ontario???
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#7 Dianne

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 09:17 AM

Perola on Augusta Ave. in Kensington market will have everything on your list and much much more. Take lots of money and have fun.

#8 Darienne

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 09:42 AM

Perola on Augusta Ave. in Kensington market will have everything on your list and much much more. Take lots of money and have fun.

Will do. Thanks.
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#9 ElsieD

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 12:35 PM

No, the Mexican store does not carry fresh chiles but they have lots of dried ones. I have seen fresh poblanos in Loblaws. I do know of a place that carries fresh poblanos in Ottawa other than Loblaws - The Herb & Spice Shop on Wellington west of Holland. The Mexican store is likely to have the other ingredients and if I can help get that to you, I'd be happy to. This store is in a very little strip mall on Merivale Road, just south of Carling Avenue. I'd have to look up the address if you need it.

Elsie

#10 Darienne

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 01:07 PM

No, the Mexican store does not carry fresh chiles but they have lots of dried ones. I have seen fresh poblanos in Loblaws. I do know of a place that carries fresh poblanos in Ottawa other than Loblaws - The Herb & Spice Shop on Wellington west of Holland. The Mexican store is likely to have the other ingredients and if I can help get that to you, I'd be happy to. This store is in a very little strip mall on Merivale Road, just south of Carling Avenue. I'd have to look up the address if you need it.

Elsie

I think I can get dried chiles here. It's the fresh ones I want. Finding Poblanos once in a blue moon is not too much use.

Thanks for the offer of help. I think we may just grit our collective teeth and go to Toronto. :raz:
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#11 Pierogi

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 01:19 PM

....Fresh chiles: anjo, pasilla, poblano, arbol, cascabel, etc, etc.
...

Hi Darienne,

Let me clarify what some others have alluded to. These chiles, with the exception of the poblano, are only available dried. As a matter of fact, "ancho chile" is the name for a dried poblano. The pasilla, chile de arbol, cascabel are only ever offered, commercially at least, and widely used as dried chiles.

The recipes you've seen and are starting to use, are made with these chiles in the dry form, if they're called for under these names. Frequently they'll be rehydrated before use, and the soaking liquid will also be used in the dish.

Rick Bayless does a fabulous job of explaining Mexican chile nomenclature in his books, specifically "Mexican Kitchen" (which also has a wealth of fabulous recipes). I'd really suggest you lay your hands on a copy of it, and all this will become clear to you. It's confusing even for those of us who grew up with "Mexican" food.... :rolleyes:
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#12 Darienne

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 01:42 PM

Hi Darienne,

Let me clarify what some others have alluded to. These chiles, with the exception of the poblano, are only available dried. As a matter of fact, "ancho chile" is the name for a dried poblano. The pasilla, chile de arbol, cascabel are only ever offered, commercially at least, and widely used as dried chiles.

The recipes you've seen and are starting to use, are made with these chiles in the dry form, if they're called for under these names. Frequently they'll be rehydrated before use, and the soaking liquid will also be used in the dish.

Rick Bayless does a fabulous job of explaining Mexican chile nomenclature in his books, specifically "Mexican Kitchen" (which also has a wealth of fabulous recipes). I'd really suggest you lay your hands on a copy of it, and all this will become clear to you. It's confusing even for those of us who grew up with "Mexican" food.... :rolleyes:

Gotcha. Or beginning to 'getcha'. Haven't read the intro to Rick Bayless...which I now own thanks to our local 'Gently Read Books' store. But I have now downloaded a chile chart and see what you are talking about.

I guess I am wishing we could easily get Poblanos or Anaheims. I love Chile Rellenos and not even most of the restaurants have them on their menu hereabouts. One local store once had a case of canned mild chiles...can't recall which one...but one you could use for Rellenos...and we bought the entire stock. Never saw them again.

It's a whole new area of learning for me. And I do LOVE Mexican and Tex/Mex food both. (Years of traveling in the Southwest.)

Thanks for the information. :smile: I shall now sit down with Mr. Bayless and do some serious reading. :wink:
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#13 phoenikia

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 11:37 PM

Perola Supermarket on Augusta in Kensington Market http://www.torontoli...as-supermarket/ carries some fresh hot peppers, in addition to the dried. Haven't bought any Anaheim or Poblano peppers there, but I understand others have bought poblanos at Perola's in the past. Have bought Scotch Bonnet and Habanero at some of the produce shops in Kensington.

According to some older threads on another food site, poblanos can sometimes be found at Whole Foods in Yorkville, St. Lawrence Market, or Longo's.

You could always check with a premium produce shop like Harvest Wagon to see if they could source poblanos or anaheims for you. http://www.harvestwagon.com/

Edited by phoenikia, 06 June 2010 - 11:40 PM.


#14 phoenikia

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 11:44 PM




Poblanos, jalapenos, serranos and habaneros you can find fresh.

There are a couple of El Salvadorean places in Kensington market that cater to a Latin American clientele (on Augusta, just north of Baldwin - there's one just south of there too). They do carry some Mexican-styled cheeses. I believe at least some of them are made here in Ontario in the K-W area. Might be worth a google to see if they might mail you some.

Cheers,
Geoff

Thanks Geoff. To get it straight: The fresh chiles you mention are available at the El Salvadorean places in Kensington, and also some Mexican-type cheeses.

What is the K-W area of Ontario???


K-W is short for Kitchener Waterloo!

#15 Darienne

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 04:28 AM

Perola Supermarket on Augusta in Kensington Market http://www.torontoli...as-supermarket/ carries some fresh hot peppers, in addition to the dried. Haven't bought any Anaheim or Poblano peppers there, but I understand others have bought poblanos at Perola's in the past. Have bought Scotch Bonnet and Habanero at some of the produce shops in Kensington.

According to some older threads on another food site, poblanos can sometimes be found at Whole Foods in Yorkville, St. Lawrence Market, or Longo's.

You could always check with a premium produce shop like Harvest Wagon to see if they could source poblanos or anaheims for you. http://www.harvestwagon.com/

Thanks Phoenikia for all the help. And thanks to all the others for help also.

I've been to a Longo's only twice and found only Cubanelles...but then the two different Longo's had different produce also...but the two visits were a month apart. But then I've been told that the various Longo's carry different items according to their locations.

I'll phone Whole Foods...and the others...to find out what I can get.

There really are quite a number of eGulleters living in the lower part of Ontario. :smile:
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#16 rgruby

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 03:09 PM

Was in Kensington yesterday and had lunch at La Tortilleria (or something like that) - it's just outside the market proper beside the hospital. The sell some cheeses, Oaxacan mole, tortillas and salsas (which they make), but not chiles. Anyhow, the cheeses they carried came from Quebec, and Ingersoll, Ontario which is kinda in between K-W and London.

If you do venture down to Kensington, there's now three Mexican places to eat, in addition to the El Salvadorean places. El Trompo on Augusta a block south of College, another one a block or two down and the tortilla place I just mentioned.

Cheers,
Geoff

#17 Darienne

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 06:12 PM

Thanks Geoff,

Obviously a trip to Kensington market is in the future.
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#18 Pierogi

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 11:12 PM

Dariene (and interested others....)

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Upon further research (including consulting my *own* kitchen journal, oy.....) I realized I gave you some bum advice in my earlier response.

Pasilla chiles are, in fact, sold fresh. They are, apparently, an alternate name for poblanos. According to Bayless (and I also believe Diana Kennedy), the name used depends on the region in which the recipe was developed. Pasillas and poblanos are fresh, large and relatively mild chiles and used interchangeably. If there are any differences, they are subtle.

Dried, they are called "chile negros".

I *said* chile nomenclature was confusing ! :wacko:
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#19 Darienne

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 04:38 AM

Dariene (and interested others....)

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Dearest Pierogi,

Come home. All is forgiven.

Yes, the nomenclature is totally confusing. Like much of life. And so we carry on...

Yesterday I went to our local 'hot' emporium...98% bottled, boxed and canned...and bought my first whole dried chiles: Cascabel, Habanero, Chipotle and Mulato. They normally carry one or two others but were out.

I also bought a box of packets of Sazon Goya with cilantro and annatto (achiote). We can find cilantro of course, but not annatto. I was dismayed when I got around to reading the ingredients that numero uno was monosodium glutamate. Cilantro (coriander) was #7 and annatto #8. Back it goes.

That's a problem of shopping the way we do. Live in the country: go into town and do 6 dozen errands: be exhausted, errandwise, 3/4 of the way through: make mistakes.

Thanks for the help, Pierogi. :smile:

Edited by Darienne, 10 June 2010 - 04:41 AM.

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#20 Chris Birkett

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 10:59 PM

Perola on Augusta Ave. in Kensington market will have everything on your list and much much more. Take lots of money and have fun.


Now that I'm a posting member, I wanted to add to the recommendationss for Perola's. I was looking for Mexican ingredients in K-W as well as Toronto rather unsucessefully in the summer last year, and I came across this thread and the mention of Perola's. I'd actually gone to a different "Mexican" store just a couple blocks over at one point and been very disappointed by the poor selection, but completely managed to miss this area of Kensington. There are a few Latin ingredient places around here, and they had everything I could possibly want for Mexican cooking.

#21 nakji

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 01:05 AM

I've used them as well, and third your recommendation. Last summer when I was in Toronto, I stopped by and bought huge bags of dried chiles. Now they're all still in the bottom of my freezer drawer, waiting for me to use them. This whole neighbourhood is wonderful if you're a cook, as there are many shops and mini markets specializing in different cuisines from around the world. I was so excited to find fresh turmeric in one of them.

#22 Adam Protter

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 10:26 AM

Perola on Augusta Ave. in Kensington market will have everything on your list and much much more. Take lots of money and have fun.


It's been 16 years since I moved from Toronto to Whistler, in BC and I still have vivd memories of Perola Market on Baldwin. The closest thing we have to that magical place is Los Guerreros on the The Kingsway in Vancouver and El Comol, and Mexican and Central American food supply company.
There was always a huge array of great fresh and dried latin ingredients, plus the trays of crispy, greasy chunks of fresh Chicharron that I would buy by the sack full, damn the consequences. The magic there happened on Saturdays, when Irma and her adorable daughter (who has grown into a lovely young lady on my last visit) prepared Papusas from a little stand she set-up in the middle of the store. Oh my! They were the best, crispy hot, never dry, chicharron, beans and cheese oozing out the cracks and that delicious lime slaw on top, contrasting the hot savoury with cool and crispy. It's a good day when I can make a batch of Papusas half as tasty.
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#23 Darienne

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 03:45 PM

Sobey's in Peterborough has been carrying Poblanos, mislabeled as 'hot peppers' for a while now. Smallish. Really smallish.

Imagine my surprise today when I went to get some more poblanos, hoping that Sobey's still had them and was met with these giant beauties:
P1030001.JPG 7 1/4" long
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#24 Pierogi

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 12:29 AM

YAY, Darienne ! SCORE.
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#25 Darienne

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 04:43 PM

Ended up today in Kensington Market at Perola's and went mad. Spent over $100 in 10 minutes with my eyes darting here and there madly, not able to concentrate really, barraged by too many new products.

Bought some tomatillos (which are never in Peterpatch), three kinds of cheese, real chorizo, banana leaves, corn husks, canela, crema, chicharones (boy did the pups love these) and assorted stuff. Wot larks!

Bought some fried before my eyes churros stuffed with dulce de leche which we scarfed as we made our way north and out of the big TO.

There were some other Hispanic stores which I didn't hit...not enough time, no where to park, currently unable to walk much, etc. Next time...
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#26 Trev

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 06:27 PM

Awesome, Darienne. Perola's is packed to the rafters with stuff. Spent way too much money there, although I haven't been there in several months now.
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#27 Darienne

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 10:49 AM

Just thought I would add for anyone living near Peterborough, that the Firehouse Gourmet is now carrying some Mexican cheeses, both hard and soft, and fresh made tortillas, both corn and wheat and a few other ingredients (which have slipped my mind), on an irregular basis. I have signed up for their newsletter which announced two days ago of an upcoming trip (today) to Toronto to pick up special orders of cheese and so on.

Hooray for the Firehouse Gourmet! :smile:
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#28 Tri2Cook

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 08:36 AM

Anybody know of a place that might be willing to ship banana leaves? I'm assuming most Ontario sources will be frozen but they seem to survive refreezing well so I can live with the shipping-time thaw.
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#29 Darienne

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 08:40 AM

Anybody know of a place that might be willing to ship banana leaves? I'm assuming most Ontario sources will be frozen but they seem to survive refreezing well so I can live with the shipping-time thaw.

Don't quite get what you mean. I can get frozen banana leaves in Peterborough and would mail them to you if that is what you are asking.

I can find out where my local Asian grocery gets their leaves. At least I can try.

Oh, the owner of a local Mexican restaurant uses frozen banana leaves. I know she would tell me how they get them.

Do let me know if I can be of any help.
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#30 Tri2Cook

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 09:45 AM

I'm just wanting them for personal use at home so I don't really need a wholesale/food service source. I was hoping there might be a web business or a store that ships that somebody knew about where I can order a few packages.
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