Many stores now stock a much wider variety of Mexican ingredients for the home chef than in the past. Ask at your local market for these tipico ingredients:

Epazote / A pungent herb used widely in Mexican cooking, especially in bean dishes. Sometimes hard to find fresh, but more commonly found in dried form.

Queso Fresco / A mild, spongy white cheese. Mild feta is an acceptable substitute. Many excellent Mexican cheeses can now be purchased in U.S. stores, including queso blanco—an enchilada filling—and queso asadero—a melting cheese perfect for quesadillas.

Mexican Crema / A thinner, less sour variety of sour cream. Sour cream or crème fraîche may be substituted.

Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce / These smoked, dried and reconstituted peppers are commonly available in cans under the brand name Herdez.

Poblano Peppers / A dark green, flavorful pepper ranging from mild to medium. They can often be found fresh, but canned poblanos are also readily available in many supermarkets.