Flavour Cousins from Half Way Across the World!
Indian cuisine has some really, really striking similarities with another cuisine from half-way around the world- Mexican cuisine. Both include a lot of spices, share ingredients and have a similar style of cooking and serving. My sister pointed this out to me a few months back, when we were deciding the menu for a small get-together of friends we were hosting at home. Mexican food blended in perfectly well in an afternoon filled with Margaritas and Senoritas.
It took me about half a day to prepare a couple of dips, two starters, two main course dishes and a dessert which was more like a sweet accident (all recipes coming up soon). This was almost half the time I took to gather the ingredients. It’s a very demanding cuisine that ways.
Ingredients need to be fresh, and plenty. Right from the herbs to the seasoning. And yes, remember to get an extra hand in chopping stuff, even if it requires emotionally blackmailing someone, just what I did to get my sister to help!
The up-side is that you can do away with the time spent in cooking, if you choose the menu wisely.
Our friends loved the food and the menu by itself was an instant hit. They thought it took me a lot of effort to cook such a feast. And just couldn’t believe it when I mentioned that I was cooking anything Mexican for the first time. Well, that definitely won me extra brownie points! 🙂
But, I envy you Kanika for staying in America. Because that means you can lay your hands on authentic Mexican dishes, unlike us who think the improvised version or Tex-Mex is the real deal. It would actually be great if you could share something with us!
The past weekend, when I decided to watch the Batman trilogy (finally!), I chose to make Burritos to compliment the movie night. For an epic night like this, there are few dishes that do justice, the all-time favourite being the ever-faithful pizza!
Burritos are easy-to-make, can be enjoyed cold and are very filling.
There is really no one way to make Burritos, you can just about stuff them with anything (well, as long as there is plenty of cheese 🙂 And since I am a lover of fresh green veggies, I chose to add as many different veggies that could lend flavor and texture to the Burritos. Meat lovers can substitute the greens with chicken, perhaps? Kanika should advise better.
So, here’s my recipe for Salsa and my version of Burritos. For the completely uninitiated, this is my first attempt at writing a recipe (I have failed miserably at keeping a recipe book, and cooking for me is mostly by instinct). In case you need any clarifications, please drop a comment and I would be happy to help!
Garden fresh Mexican Burritos with beans
For the Salsa:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic (chopped or crushed)
5 tablespoons finely chopped onions
6-7 medium ripe tomatoes (peeled and finely chopped)
1 jalapeños (5-6 cut slices if you buy bottled jalapenos)
a dash of white wine vinegar (for a heady twang)
2-3 tablespoons chopped coriander (dhaniya)
a dash of lemon (as per taste)
pinch of salt and pepper
a few pinches of sugar (to make the tomatoes blush)
To make the Salsa:
To peel the skin off the tomatoes, put them in hot water (taken off the gas) for a few minutes until the skin starts coming off. Finely chop the tomatoes and drain off the liquid (if any).
If you like your Salsa to be quite chunky, add the onions, jalapeños, garlic, sugar, white wine vinegar or lemon and give it a good toss. Let it sit for about 45 mins to an hour until the flavours are soaked in the tomatoes.
Then, add salt, pepper and coriander and put your Salsa in the refrigerator to chill until you want to serve it.
I prefer a slightly more cooked Salsa. For this, chop the tomatoes and onions very finely (you can also blend them to form a chunky puree) and toss it in heated oil. Add the garlic, salt and sugar and cook for about 10-15 mins. Then, add jalapeños, pepper and white wine vinegar/ lemon and take it off the heat. Let it cool and refrigerate to use it as a dip.
For the Burritos:
5-6 wheat tortillas
1 cup Tomato Salsa
1 cup Kidney beans (soaked overnight, then boiled)
Finely chopped veggies like red/ yellow/ green Capsicum, Spring onions, jalapeños, olives, coriander
Corn kernels (boiled)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (for the want of better cheese available locally)
finely chopped cucumber, grated lettuce, (optional)
To assemble the Burritos:
Now for my favourite part.
Heat the Tortilla base as mentioned on the pack, or simply heat both sides for a few seconds on a hot pan.
Spread some Salsa on it. Then the beans. And then a choice of your favourite veggies. Followed by grated cheese and coriander. Fold it neatly and cut it in slices to serve.
Lime Mint Yoghurt Dip
Here’s a very simple but yummy dip that adds extra zing to Nachos and Burritos.
Churn together ½ a cup of yoghurt with a few sprigs of fresh mint leaves. Add a pinch of salt and a dash of lemon.
And voila! You have a creamy healthy dip ready to dive into.
My brother and me hogged on the Burritos through the film, and munched on some amazing Nacho chips called Cornitos, amongst the best (and cheapest) available in Mumbai right now. If you spot it somewhere, just grab as many flavours as you can, the best being the cheese flavour.
There are few dishes as versatile as Burritos. Make your own signature version and pass on the recipe!
Have a good appetite, Akkta 🙂
P.S.: Kanika, I have been wanting to make Hummus for a long time now but it always felt like one-of-those-things-I-can’t-do! Thanks for the post, I’m going to try it soon!
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