15 Hispanic recipe ingredients you can find at your local grocery store

Central Florida is home to many Latin, Hispanic markets, but you can find many ingredients at Publix, too

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ORLANDO, Fla. – If you want to make some traditional Hispanic dishes for your family to enjoy this Hispanic Heritage Month, your best bet is to bypass your local regular grocery store and head straight to a Latin one.

Here in Central Florida, we have plenty of options for Hispanic grocery stores. Some of the names you may recognize include Sedano’s, Bravo Supermarkets, Compare Supermarket, Unidos Supermarket and there are plenty of smaller, locally owned markets and bodegas where you can get authentic foods and ingredients you won’t find on regular shelves.

But our large chains have gotten a little bit better at stocking some items you may need for popular recipes. We all know what tortillas and salsa are, but do you know what some of the items on the shelves are? Here’s a list of some of what you can find at your local Publix.

Guava Paste

Guava paste is a very thick, purée of guava fruit. It’s often used in pastries, cookies, tarts or even empanadas. It’s also enjoyed on top of cheese, like a cream cheese or cheddar.

Iberia Guava Paste (Iberia Foods Corp.)

Plantain Chips

They’re a popular snack, crispy-fried and made out of thinly sliced plantains, which look like bananas but are not. They’re not as sweet as bananas and have a bit more of a nuttier taste, definitely more starchy, more like a potato. They have to be cooked to be enjoyed.

Goya Plantain Chips (Goya Foods Inc.)

Sweetened Condensed Milk

This is a staple in many recipes around the world. But when it comes to Hispanic recipes, we’re talking awesome desserts like flan, tres leches, cheesecakes and more.

Iberia Sweetened Condensed Milk (Iberia Foods Corp.)

Milk Caramel Spread

Also called dulce de leche, it’s like a caramel you can put on all kinds of desserts or on ice cream, or even over pancakes or toasts. You can buy it already made or make your own using sweetened condensed milk.

Conchita Dulce de Leche Milk Caramel Spread (Conchita Foods)

Sofrito

Sofrito is a Spanish-seasoning sauce that consists of onions, peppers, garlic, olive oil and herbs like cilantro. Some also include tomatoes. It’s a base for many recipes in Spanish, Latin American and Portuguese cooking.

Goya Sofrito Tomato Cookng Base (Goya Foods Inc.)

Sazon

It’s a basic seasoning used in many recipes that’s a blend consisting of things like coriander, cumin, achiote, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper. You can mix your own or buy it pre-mixed, with or without salt depending on your dietary needs.

Sazón Goya (Goya Foods Inc.)

Tostones

Tostones are a staple throughout Caribbean and Latin American dishes. They’re crispy flattened discs that are more savory than sweet in nature. You can make your own tostones out of unripe green plantains, or you can buy them already made out of plantains, or like these, which are actually made out of breadfruit.

Goya Tostones (Goya Foods Inc.)

Malta

There are many brands and versions of this beverage. It’s a lightly carbonated, non-alcoholic malt beverage that’s very sweet. Some say it tastes like molasses and it’s recommend to enjoy chilled.

Malta Goya (Goya Foods Inc.)

Kola Champagne

Kola Champagne is a very sweet soda, often described as similar to a cream soda. It was invented in Puerto Rico more than 100 years ago.

Good O Kola Champagne Soda (Good-O Beverage Company)

Ham Croquettes

Croquettes are often described as a fried snack made of leftover foods. They’re held together with something like mashed potatoes and rolled in breadcrumbs. Cubans typically make these with ground ham and you can buy them ready-to-cook from the freezer section.

Goya Ham Croquettes (Goya Foods Inc.)

Empanada Dough

Empanadas are baked or fried turnovers that are usually filled with things like cheese, beef, chicken, veggies, or whatever you like. You can buy the dough already prepared and stuff them with your favorite filling. You can even try making a dessert pastry with the guava paste and cheese!

Goya Discos (Goya Foods Inc.)

Mojo Criollo Marinade

This is great pre-made marinade. In Cuban cooking, mojo applies to marinades made with garlic, olive oil, and citrus with herbs. It’s most often used to marinate roast pork, but can be used for chicken or beef as well.

Goya Mojo Criollo Marinade (Goya Foods Inc.)

Pan de Yuca

These are pre-made ready-to-cook small cheesy bread bites made with yuca flour. It’s often enjoyed for breakfast, but goes well on the dinner table, as well. You can also make your own.

El Sembrador Pan de Yuca (Oliva International Foods)

Crema Mexicana Table Cream

This is a rich and creamy table cream that’s similar to a crème fraiche, but it doesn’t whip. You can pour or drizzle it straight from the container, it’s great drizzled over enchiladas, tacos or to balance out the spice in many Latin American dishes.

Crema Mexicana Table Cream (Cacique Inc.)

Queso Fresco

This is a soft, moist cheese that’s curd-like, light and fresh. It’s a little tangier than mozzarella but smoother than a goat cheese. It’s often used as a finished on top of many dishes.

Queso Fresco (Cacique Inc.)

About the Author:

Tara Evans is an executive producer and has been with News 6 since January 2013. She currently spearheads News 6 at Nine and specializes in stories with messages of inspiration, hope and that make a difference for people -- with a few hard-hitting investigations thrown in from time to time.