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Home / Culture / Food / Mouth-watering Mexikhana

Mouth-watering Mexikhana

This Central American cuisine is a satisfying fusion of the indigenous produce and the ingredients brought in by the Spanish migrants
VEGETARIAN BURRITOS

Durri Bhalla   |   Published 26.09.21, 03:37 AM

A few days back, on September 16, Mexico celebrated its National Day. The people of Mexico rarely miss an occasion to dance, eat and be merry. Of course, they are very passionate about their food too. Native Mexicans were primarily an agricultural community, whose staples were things like maize, beans, tomatoes, chillies, and so on. After the Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire and the rest of Mesoamerica, a number of other foods like pork, beef, goat, dairy products, rice, sugar and olive oil were introduced into their cuisine. Spanish influence is also noticeable in its sweets like churros, borrachitos and many others. Mexican cuisine is an important aspect of the culture, social structure and popular traditions of Mexico.

VEGETARIAN BURRITOS

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The word burrito means ‘little donkey’ in Spanish, being the diminutive form of burro, or donkey. The name burrito, as applied to the dish, possibly derives from the tendency for the burritos to contain a lot of different things similar to how a donkey would be able to carry load. A burrito is a rolled tortilla with guacamole, meat sauce, beans, rice with corn, vegetables, salsa and sour cream, among others. Here, I am showing you the vegetarian version.

INGREDIENTS

For the flour tortilla

Flour: 2 cups

Ghee or lard: 155g

Salt: 1 level tsp

Water: 1 cup lukewarm

For the guacamole

Avocado: 2

Coriander leaves: 1 cup

Salt: To taste

Tomato: 1

Lemon juice: Of ½ lemon (or to taste)

Cumin powder: ½tsp

For the salsa

Tomato: 3 chopped into small chunks, 2 whole

Onions: 2, chopped

Coriander: 1 cup, chopped

Lemon juice: Of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper: To taste

Red chilli powder: 1tsp

For the rice with corn

Onion: 1, sliced

Butter: 2tbsp

Garlic: 1tsp, minced

Rice: 2 cups, cooked rice

Corn: 1 cup (I used the canned ones.)

Salt: To taste

Mexican seasoning: 2tsp (or cumin powder 1tsp and red chilli powder ½tsp)

For the red kidney beans

Beans: 1 cup

Salt: To taste

Onion: 1 chopped

Oil: 2 tbsp

Garlic: 2tsp, minced

Red chilli powder or Mexican seasoning: 1tsp.

Cumin powder: 1tsp

For the vegetables

Capsicum: ½ red, ½ green and ½ yellow

Olive oil: 1tbsp

Salt: For seasoning

Pepper: For seasoning

For the sour cream

Cream: 1 cup

Lemon juice: Of ½ lemon

Salt: A pinch

Cheese: Grated as required

METHOD

For the flour tortilla

Knead all the ingredients to make a soft dough. Rest for 2 hours.

Make rounds and roll like chapatis. They should be soft and pliable.

For the guacamole

Take the avocados. Remove pulp and mash with fork.

Add coriander leaves, salt, very finely chopped tomato, lemon juice and cumin powder.

Mix well and keep covered.

For the salsa

Take the tomatoes, onions, coriander, lemon juice, salt, pepper and red chilli powder in a bowl. Toss everything.

Char 2 tomatoes on a tawa or pan. Then blend in a blender to make a puree. Mix with the tossed salsa. Check for seasoning.

For the rice with corn

Saute the sliced onion in butter. Add the minced garlic, cooked rice and corn.

Add salt and Mexican seasoning (or cumin powder and red chilli powder).

Mix everything well. Keep warm.

For the red kidney bean

Soak the beans overnight and add salt and pressure cook it till tender. Drain and keep aside.

Saute the chopped onion in oil. Add minced garlic, red chilli powder or Mexican seasoning, cumin powder and then the beans. Saute well.

Mash the beans slightly, not much. Check for seasoning.

For the vegetables

Cut the different coloured capsicum into fine strips and saute in 1tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Keep aside.

For the sour cream

To a cup of cream, add the juice of half a lemon and a pinch of salt.

After 5 minutes mix well. Check for seasoning.

To assemble

Warm a tortilla and lay flat on a plate. Spread the guacamole all over it. Then put a little rice in the middle.

Over it put the kidney beans. Then put the salsa, a little vegetable and then put a good amount of grated cheese and on top put sour cream. You can also drizzle some hot chilli sauce or Sriracha on top if you like a lot of heat. Then wrap the tortilla like a roll. Be careful of the amount you put in the tortilla, otherwise it will all spill out.

TACOS WITH MINCE MEAT FILLING

Tacos is an all-time favourite with adults as well as children. It is considered one of the most popular street foods and has become popular all over the world. You can fill the tacos with almost any kind of meat you like, or make it totally vegetarian. It is always topped with salsa, sour cream, lettuce, grated cheese, tomatoes and onions.

INGREDIENTS

For the mince meat

Mutton mince: 500g

Water: 1 cup

Tomatoes: 2, pureed

Taco seasoning: 3tbsp

Bay leaf: 1

Ketchup: 2tbsp

Vinegar: 1tbsp

Soya sauce: 1tbsp

Chicken bullion: 1

Black pepper powder: 1tsp

Flour: 1½tbsp

Sugar: ½tsp

Tomato: 1 fresh and 1 onion, blended

Toppings: Salsa, sour cream, lettuce, grated cheese and tomatoes

 For the taco shells

Maize flour: 200g

Wheat flour: 100g

Salt: 1tsp

Oil: 2tbsp

METHOD:

For the mince meat

In a pan heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil. Add meat and saute for 5 minutes.

Add the onion and tomato mixture. Saute for 2 minutes.

Add the flour. Mix well. Saute for few seconds.

Add taco seasoning, chicken bullion, black pepper and sugar. Mix well.

Add tomato puree, ketchup, soya sauce, water and bay leaf. Bring to a boil.

Cover and cook on low flame for 45 minutes. Stir in between. Do not forget to put salt (to taste).

The water should have dried out by now and the mince should be very tender.

For the taco shells

Knead the dough with hot water till it becomes smooth. Cut into 10 equal size pieces of 50g each.

Roll out into round circles thin and flat. Put a cereal bowl to cut out perfectly round sheets of dough. Now prick it all over so that it does not puff up when frying.

Heat oil for deep frying. Put the dough sheet into the oil. Then turn once. As soon s it floats on top fold 2 opposite sides of the taco with the help of two spatula and keep frying till it becomes crisp.

Now carefully lift the taco out and put on absorbent paper. Repeat with the other sheets.

Once you become a pro, then you can do two or three at a time.

For assembly

Take a taco shell. You can buy from the store. Available in Nature’s Basket or any super market. I will give an easy recipe towards the end if you would like to make them.

First put a little bit of mince meat. On top put some salsa, lettuce leaves, sour cream, cheese and finely chopped tomatoes. Drizzle some hot sauce if you like a bit of heat.

CHICKEN AND CHEESE QUESADILLAS

A quesadilla is a Mexican dish that dates back to the 16th century. Traditionally, quesadillas were tortillas made with corn and filled primarily with cheese, meats, spices and any other filling of your choice, and then cooked on a griddle or stove and folded over to be eaten by hand. You can use flour tortilla also.

INGREDIENTS

For the filling

Chicken breast: 2

Ham slices (optional)

Oregano: 2tbsp

Black pepper: 1tsp

Cheese: 200g, grated

Garlic: 4 cloves, minced

Olive oil: 1tbsp

Butter: 2tbsp

Dijon mustard: 2tsp

METHOD:

For the filling

Slice the chicken into strips and place in a bowl. Then add pepper and oregano and mix well.

Heat a pan. Add olive oil and butter. Then add the chicken pieces and salt to taste. Mix well and when the chicken is browned a little, add garlic and cook till chicken is tender. Keep aside.

To assemble

Take a tortilla and brush one side with oil. Flip it over and coat with little mustard sauce.

Now place a piece of ham on half the side of the tortilla. Over it place chicken. Then sprinkle cheese (as much as you like; more is always better).

Fold the tortilla in half and place on a greased pan on low heat for 3 minutes. Flip it over and cook till it is nicely browned and crisp.

Serve with salad or salsa. It is so yummy.

CHICKEN GORDITA

Gordita is a small Mexican corn cake that is fried, baked or grilled and stuffed with various ingredients. ‘Gordita’ in Spanish means fat. In Mexico, usually they joke about it. They will call a fat male ‘gordo’ and female ‘gordita’. This recipe is made with flour and a typical filling of cooked shredded chicken, cheese and a few toppings.

INGREDIENTS

For the chicken

Chicken breast: 2, cut into chunks

Oil: 3tbsp

Onion: 1 large, sliced

Salt: 1tsp

Black pepper: 1tsp

Cumin powder: 1tsp

Garam masala powder: ½tsp

Red chilli powder: 1tsp

Garlic: 1tsp, minced

Onions: 4tbsp, grated

Jalapeno pepper: 1, crushed (or paste of 2-3 green chillies)

Tomato: 2 large, pureed

Chicken stock: ½ cup

For the gorditas

Flour: 3 cups

Salt: 1tsp

Baking powder: 2tsp

Oil: 4tbsp

METHOD:

For the chicken

Heat oil in a pan. Add onions sliced. Saute for 2 minutes. Then add the garlic. Saute for few seconds.

Add the chicken and saute for a minute or so.

Now add all the other ingredients with the chicken stock and cover and cook on medium heat till nearly dry and chicken is tender.

Mash everything in the pan with a fork or potato masher. The chicken will be shredded easily. The gravy should be thick and dry and not runny.

For the gorditas

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Then knead the dough with lukewarm water. Don’t make the dough too soft or too hard. Portion it into rounds with greased palms and then cover and keep aside for 30 minutes to rest.

Roll each round into slightly thick disc, not thin like tortilla and it should be smaller, like a taco.

Roast on a thick pan or tawa on low flame without oil. When you see bubbles appear flip it over. There will be brown spots on it. Cook for another 3 minutes. The flame should be low so that the gordita cooks inside too. Remove when slightly brown on the other side too.

When it is cool, take a sharp knife and cut from the edge carefully to make a pocket. You could also put the filing and fold it over like a taco.

For assembly

Put the lettuce in the pocket, then the chicken, a little salsa, tomatoes, sour cream and chopped coriander. Sprinkle a little cheese.

Point to note: The Gordita should be cooked well yet it should be soft and fluffy.

Durri Bhalla is a cookery expert and author of Indian Bohra Cuisine and Inner Truth To Good Health And Weight Loss. You can find her at @DurriBhallaKitchen on Instagram, Durri’s Kitchen on Facebook and Durri Bhalla on YouTube



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