Tomatillos, encased in papery husks, bring tart, fruity flavor to salsa verde and the sauce for enchiladas suizas. Smaller ones, about the size of a walnut in the shell, have more concentrated flavor. Available at Todd Coleman

As we visited markets and kitchens across Mexico while putting together our Mexico issue, we received an invaluable education in the ingredients and equipment that give Mexican cooking its singular intensity and depth of flavor. When we began to test recipes back in the SAVEUR kitchen, we found that all these workhorses of the Mexican kitchen are readily available in the United States, at Latin American markets and through mail order. Get to know these basic elements, and you’ll be well on your way to grasping the art and ingenuity behind one of the world’s great cuisines.

See all the ingredients in the gallery »

See the guide to Mexican grocery stores in the United States »