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how can mexican oregano add more aroma to your food?
Oregano is one of the commonest herbs used in Italian, Greek, and other Mediterranean cuisines, and it is also used in a wide range of other food items. It is a staple herb used in pizzas and pasta and is also used as a part of other dry rubs for some barbeques. It has a mint-based flavor.
On the other hand, Mexican oregano belongs to the Verbenaceae family of plants, unlike the traditional oregano, which belongs to the Lamiaceae family. Mexican oregano has a lemony flavor, and the two types are not interchangeable. There is an ongoing debate about oregano vs Mexican oregano. Here is how Mexican oregano may add more aromas to your food, depending on how you use it.
- Adding it to the Right Dishes
Mexican oregano is predominantly used in Mexican, South-American, and Texas-Mexican dishes. Using them alongside traditional Italian recipes is not a good idea because of the other ingredients used in the cuisine and a plethora of cheese variants that do not always complement the flavor of Mexican oregano.
You can, however, use it on dishes like burritos, salsa sauce, tacos, and enchiladas. Its citrusy, lemony flavor makes it completely different from its Mediterranean counterpart. So, it would help if you used them in complementary recipes to make the most of them.
- Methods of Use
How you are using Mexican oregano in your food plays a huge role in releasing its aroma. While traditional oregano can be crushed and introduced to the food, whether the herb is fresh or dried, you must always rub Mexican oregano between your fingertips to release its fragrant oils.
Unlike traditional oregano, you also do not need to use much of the Mexican variety. A pinch is more than enough for an entire bowl of tortilla soup, while you might be used to putting a generous sprinkling of traditional oregano on most dishes.
The best way to use Mexican oregano is to let the flavor infuse into the dish while it is slowly cooked so that the citrusy aroma does not overpower the dish. You can also use it in a crushed form in dry rubs and use it while making barbeque or smoked meat.
Marinating the meat with the rub, whether dry or wet, is also a great way to infuse the flavor, and you will enjoy the aroma when the meat starts roasting. Its fresh, clean aroma requires very little if any other vital ingredient makes your dish taste good. It is best not to add too much chili or hot spices to overpower the citrusy aroma.
- Using it for Dips
If you want the aroma of the Mexican oregano to take center stage, you should use it in dips and sauces. Your taste buds are sure to thank you for it. It is one of the best ingredients for traditional chimichurri Mexican sauce.
You can also use it in Mexican soups. Any dip used for enchiladas, mussels, baked beans, or chicken will also work great. You can also use it for making Mexican chili, which is a staple for almost all kinds of Mexican sandwiches, hot dogs, or burritos.
The idea is not to overcook it. However, when you sprinkle it over any dip when it is slightly warm, you can get many flavors emanating from it. The citrusy, peppery, and slightly sweet aroma of licorice - all come together to give the dish a very distinctive aroma.
Mexican oregano, like its traditional Italian counterpart, can stay potent for quite some time. However, it is crucial to keep them in airtight containers and in a dry and dark place. They retain their properties for longer this way.
However, if you want to use fresh Mexican oregano, you should not store them for long, or else the leaves could lose their lemony flavor. It also has a sub-taste of pepper, with a slight hint of licorice, and it could become pungent if you put too much of it in a dish when it starts losing its potency.
Try to store them in glass jars instead of using plastics as it preserves the aroma better.
While the Mediterranean variety of oregano is widely available, you can avail Mexican oregano only from specialty stores and reputed online sites. You should also check the label correctly before purchasing to make sure you are buying the suitable variety. If you were thinking about oregano vs. Mexican oregano too much and wondering which was best for your dishes, then try out both of them and make your choice based on the recipes.