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Mexican Cuisine

Published: 
Saturday, August 23, 2014

Mexican food is enticing, spicy and a little bit calorie-laden if I may say so myself. However we don’t have to make it part of our routine weekly menu, but save the recipes for special occasions. Authentic Mexican food is steeped in mystery and tradition, evident by the mole sauces and the array of peppers that are roasted, and used to create flavor. It is as a complex cuisine as any of the great world cuisines like Chinese, Indian, French, Italian, and Mediterranean.

Staples such as corn, chili peppers, tomatoes, squashes, avocadoes, cocoa and vanilla are used. These are mixed in with other ingredients not common in other cuisines and which are indigenous to Mexico like various types of edible flowers and some vegetables.

The Mexican cuisine that we have become familiar with parallels the fast food Mexican chains and Mexican fine dining restaurants. Foods such as fajitas, empanadas, tacos, salsas, churros, enchiladas and chimichangas are a few that come to mind. These popular foods are easily duplicated in your kitchen but with a much higher flavor profile, enjoy!

CHICKEN FAJITAS
4 to 6 flour tortillas
4 boneless chicken breasts

Marinade
2 tbsp minced chives
1 onion, cut into strips
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt and black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 red onion, cut into strips

Garnishes
Shredded lettuce
Tomato salsa
Sour cream 
Freshly chopped 
Chadon beni 
Grated cheddar cheese

METHOD
Blend all the ingredients for the marinade and place into a large bowl.
Place chicken into marinade and turn once.
Marinade for one hour or overnight.
Preheat grill.
Grill chicken for 10 minutes per side or until cooked on a stovetop grill pan.
Heat olive oil in a sauté pan, add pepper and onion strips.
Sauté for 1 minute, remove.

To assemble fajitas lay tortilla flat, place some lettuce on top, add chicken, add peppers and onions, garnish with shadow beni, sour cream, cheese and salsa. Roll up and serve.

CINNAMON SCENTED CHURROS
1 cup water
2 tbsp  granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
Vegetable oil to fry

Coating
Combine 1cup granulated sugar with 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Method
Place water, sugar, salt, oil, nutmeg and butter into a medium sized saucepan.
Bring to a rolling boil.
Meanwhile beat eggs.
Remove pot from heat and stir in flour, blend well.
Now add eggs and stir well to combine, or use an electric beater.
Cool a little.
Fill a decorator's bag with a large star tip, with churro mixture.
Preheat vegetable oil in a frying pan or wok.
Test oil; place a small piece of dough into oil, if it bubbles up its ready.
Squeeze dough into hot oil to about 4 inch lengths.
Cook for about one minute, turn if necessary and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Drain and then roll in cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Makes about 24.

CHIMICHANGAS
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 pimento peppers, seeded and chopped or
1 small bell pepper, seeded and chopped
8 ozs lean ground beef or chicken
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp cumin, (geera)
1 14 oz tin red beans, rinsed
2 tbsp chopped chadon beni
4 ozs cheddar cheese, grated
Vegetable oil
6, 10-inch flour tortillas
1 tbs all purpose flour
1 tsp water
Mix flour and water to a paste and set aside.

METHOD
Warm oil in a medium sized sauté pan.
Add garlic, onion, peppers and stir and cook until fragrant.
Add ground beef and stir ell.
Add chili and cumin powders, season with salt.
Add beans and stir, simmer for about 15 minutes until all flavours develop.
Cool mixture.
Spoon some filling onto the flour tortilla, sprinkle on some cheese.
Roll up burrito style and use the flour paste to seal the edges.
Heat oil in a shallow frying pan, and pan fry chimichangas until golden.
Serve with salsa and additional cheese and guacamole.

Makes six