It’s been a Mexican spree last week for me…. Actually, I have a soft spot for Mexican cuisine…..their food, all the snackish stuff, salsas, avocados, meat and especially the chillies J
The thing about Mexican food is that it has got so much of variety. Right from the north to south, there are so many dishes that vary with the local ingredients available. And then we have the international and americanised versions of Mexican dishes, which also are just as tasty.
Lets talk about some interesting Mexican food facts…there would definitely be at least one you dint know.
Did you know that traditionally in Mexico, tacos are soft breads served with meat fillings? And not the crispy kind served in the modernized version!
Enchiladas usually don’t have cheese in them. If they do, then it’s the traditional Mexican cheese varieties called Queso fresco, Requesón, Queso Oaxaca (which is kind of similar to mozzarella and used in quesadilla) etc. In fact none of the authentic Mexican dishes have Monterey Jack or Colby…J
Mexican Empanadas are usually served with sweet fillings.
Maya civilization (that existed in southern Mexico historically) discovered the cacao tree.
Aztecs civilization (central Mexican historically) used cacao beans as money for buying goods! Trading using chocolate….wow! I like the sound of that. J
Maybe, we should talk more about the chocolate facts in my upcoming chocolate post… Hehehe…yup, I have something very, very chocolaty and comfortingly healthy too coming up soon…so watch out J
Back to enchiladas…I made them with corn tortillas, minced beef and freshly made chipotle chilli tomato sauce filling. Instead of rolling them, I felt they were more pretty when stacked and topped with cheese (we don’t get authentic Mexican here, so I had to do with Monterey Jack and Cheddar) These were soooo soft, spicy and of course cheesy J and a dash of freshness from the cilantro and scallions….oohhhh, so good…..
At home, I did a serving for 2 people, but the recipe below is for a serving of 3-4 persons.
Lets go get the recipe now J
Ingredients: (serves 3- 4 persons)
Medium size corn tortillas - 8
Minced beef – 1kg
Monterey Jack Cheese- 1 cup freshly grated
Mild Cheddar cheese- ½ cup freshly grated
Black olives chopped – 2tbsp
Cilantro – 2 tbsp. chopped
Scallions- 2tpsn chopped
Jalapeno peppers- 1 tbsp chopped
Fresh thyme leaves- 4-5 for garnish (optional)
For the sauce:
Tomatoes – 4 large
Onion – 1 large chopped very finely
Garlic- 2 cloves minced
Cumin powder – 1tbsp freshly ground
Dried parsley – ½ tsp
Chipotle chilli powder- 1 heaped tsp. (can be substituted; refer tips)
Cilantro – 3 tbsp. chopped
Olive oil- 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
1. Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water. Remove skin, discard seeds and chop the tomatoes
2. Heat oil in a deep pan.
3. Add the minced beef when the oil is hot and fry for 1 min on a high heat stirring vigorously. Let some of the water come out. Then remove the beef into a plate and set aside. No need to cook fully.
4. Now, let water from the beef evaporate completely. Then add garlic and sauté for few seconds.
5. Throw in the onions and sauté till translucent.
6. Next the chilli powder and sauté for a minute.
7. Add tomatoes, cover and cook till mushy and liquidy.
8. Add parsley and season with salt.
9. Now transfer half of the sauce into a shallow pan, in which we can lightly dip the tortillas.
10. Into rest of the sauce add the beef and jalapenos. Let it simmer till fully cooked and mixture is sort of a batter consistence.
11. Check salt and season.
12. Remove and let cool slightly.
13. Preheat oven to 180°C (355°F).
14. Time to assemble, ready the sauce, beef mix, cheese, chopped herbs and olives.
15. Spread a bit of the sauce in a lightly oiled baking dish.
16. In a pan, heat a tortilla on each side till soft.
17. Dip it in the sauce and place in baking tray.
18. Add a layer of beef mixture, some grated monterey jack and cheddar.
19. Sprinkle with little cilantro, scallions and olives.
20. Repeat steps 16 to 19 till the last tortilla. For the last one, add the leftover sauce into the baking dish, top with all the left over cheese, olives and herbs.
21. Cover dish with foil and place in oven.
22. Bake for 20mins.
23. Garnish with thyme leaves and serve hot.
Tips n Tricks:
· You don’t have chipotle! No problem…use 1/2tbsp cayenne pepper plus 1 tbsp of chopped jalapeno in the sauce. Or just use a tbsp. of cayenne pepper (chilli powder) after sautéing it in a dry pan on a low heat for 2mins.
· Please use corn tortillas. I beg you! They make the best enchiladas. Now lets say you don’t have them, cant find them in stores etc…etc...you can use wheat flour or maize flour(bhajra) and make your own tortillas J Sorry but I hate the store bought wheat tortillas L