Category Archives: Mexican

Churros

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I love Mexican food, in fact the whole family loves it very much. Sometimes I wonder if I was Mexican in my previous birth, because just as much Indian food, Mexican food is a constant feature in my kitchen.

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It’s Cinco de Mayo and I love to celebrate it. I never need an excuse to make something tasty, but when it’s fiesta time, it’s so much more fun! Such celebrations remind us that we live in the land of the free where many cultures have blended so well.

Anytime I visit a new place, the first thing I do is visit the local markets. I feel like I can learn so much more about the culture and the people of that country. Sometimes, people outside a country get a very limited view of that country’s cuisine. There were so many things in this Mazatlán market that I had never seen in the US! I ate these amazing churros in that market. They were perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and the cinnamon sugar that they were dipped in was at the perfect level of sweetness to make you crave for just one more! Ever since I had those churros, I have been meaning to try them in my own kitchen.

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Most of the recipes for churro call for eggs, but the street vendor didn’t use eggs in his dough. So I am taking that vendor as inspiration and bringing you an eggless churro recipe. Seriously, this comes together in an hour from start to finish (including the cooldown time).

Today I am planning to pair these churros with something yummy. When you think of summer, the first thing that comes to mind is ice-cream, right? Today I am making an ice-cream to go with our churros. The contrast of crunchy churros with creamy ice-cream is just yummy.

I make a weekly trip to my local Mexican store and that’s where I picked up a can of ‘dulce de leche’ (which translates to sweetened milk). Dulce de leche is a smooth, gooey goodness that I can eat with a spoon directly from a can. It goes great on your ice-cream sundaes, you can make flan with it and so much more.

Today’s ice-cream is a Dulce de Leche Ice-cream. It is a super simple recipe. Also, just like the churro, this is also an egg-free recipe.

Back to our churros. Typically, churros are a straight stick but today, since I’m planning to use them to make my ice-cream sandwich, I am going to pipe them in a spiral. I have decided to use a gadget which is very common in a Indian household, a chakli/murukku maker. It is used to make many savory snacks as well as fresh rice noodles. I love it because it’s very easy to use and clean. It comes with many discs which help you make different shapes.  I have a video on youtube which show I made it.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 2  tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup  unbleached all-purpose flour

Oil for frying

For

  • 1/2 cup white sugar, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ancho chili powder

Directions

  1. In a small pot, heat  water, 2 tbsp sugar, salt and oil on a medium flame. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in flour until mixture forms a ball.
  2. Let the dough cool down till it’s ok to handle.
  3. While you are piping the churros, heat the oil on low heat. I have used regular vegetable oil for frying.
  4. Now it’s time to pipe out the churros. Since I am planning to make the cookies, I will be making churros with a smaller diameter. However, you can use a pastry bag with a large star tip if you are making big sized churros.
  5. Pipe out 3″ spirals onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (I like my ice-cream sandwiches to be bite-sized, so I won’t make them huge.)
  6. If the weather is hot, you can stick these piped spirals in the freezer for a few minutes. This helps the spirals stay together, or you might end up with a long churro in your pan.
  7. Fry the churros until golden brown. Make sure you don’t fry them on high heat, otherwise they will stay doughy inside and burnt outside.
  8. Combine 1/2 cup sugar, ancho chili powder and cinnamon. Roll drained churros in the mixture.

Notes:

  • I made the churros two ways:
    • The ones I fried right after I piped them were soft
    • The one I froze before I fried stayed much crispier

Shrimps in smoky chipotle sauce

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Shrimps in smoky chipotle sauce

Fancy Mexican- trio on a plate Jun 23, 2015, 7-15 PM

Last night’s meal was theme based and the theme was ‘Smoke’. All the dishes made had an element of ‘smoke’. It also had another common theme that the flavors were from Mexican/Latin cuisine. So I made three dishes, ‘Barley risotto’, Roasted corn and Mango Salad’ &  Chipotle shrimps. It was yummy. I loved the fact that it used the summer ingredients and was perfect for the warm weather.

I try to ensure that the meals are balanced so in this meal with have barley for the starch, shrimps for the protein and corn & mango for the vegetables.

Shrimps in smoky chipotle sauce

The recipes was based on many recipes I have read and eaten, so thank you to those folks for inspiring me. It is easy to make and you can play with the ingredients to get the right taste for your family.

Ingredients

1 1/2 lb of shrimps, peeled and deveined

1 tsp crushed garlic

2 tbsp flour

1 large tomato , quarterd

1/2 large white onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 chipotle chilies

2 tbsp cilantro

1 tbsp oil

1/2 tbsp molasses

1/2 tbsp worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp paprika

 
Method

Saute the onions and garlic until tender, dont let them burn. Grind the tomatoes, along with the sauted onions & garlic.

Take the shrimps in a bowl,add some salt, crushed garlic, chopped cilantro & mix it well. Add a couple of tbsp of flour and mix well.

Heat some more oil in a pan. Sauté the shrimps till then are a little under done. Remember they will cook more when we heat them up with the sauce. Take the shrimps out on a plate.

In the same pan, add some more oil or butter. Add the blended tomato paste to the pan and cook for a few minutes, add molasses and worchestire sauce to taste. Once the sauce comes together nicely, add back the shrimps.

Serve with a rice or potatoes on the side. Last night I served it with the Barley Risotto & Roasted Corn Salsa.

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Tres Leches ( or Quatro Leches) cake

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When I came to the US amongst other things I missed eating what we call ‘Pastries’ in India. Desserts like pineapple pastry, Black forest cake, they all tasted different than what I was used to. So when I my husband brought a piece of this cake, I was not to keen on trying it. He insisted and said, ” I guarantee you will love it”. He was right, very first bit and I fell in love with this cake. There was something in it that reminded of the Indian desserts I am very fond of, that cake was ‘Tres Leches cake’

Tres leches cake is a classic mexican dessert, which translates to ‘Three Milk Cake’. Here I share a recipe that is actually Quatro Leches Cake.I also make an Indian version of this cake, I love it. If you want to try here is a link for ‘Thandai Leches Cake’

Ingredients

For the sponge cake

4 eggs at room temperature separated

1 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 tsp Vanilla essence     1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup whole milk

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Sift flour with baking powder & salt.

Mix the Thandai Masala with the milk.

Separate the eggs. Beat the egg whites for 1min till they start becoming a but frothy.

Add sugar and beat till soft peaks form.

Add one yolk at a time and keep whisking.

Add the flour mixture and milk mixture alternatively.

So it will be something like- 1/3 cup flour

1/4 cup milk

1/3 cup flour

1/4 cup milk

1/3 cup flour

 

Take a baking pan and butter and flour it well. It is very important since that will ensure that the cake comes out of the pan in a clean way.

I also put a parchment paper for extra ease.

Now pour the batter in the prepared pan. Make sure the pan in at least 10 inches round or even 9x 13, if you take a smaller pan the cake is too tall and the liquid does not get absorbed very well.

Bake for about 30 mins until the knife comes out clean. 

Let the cake cool on a stand for about 30 mins.

Now the fun part…

Milk goodness mixture

1 14 oz can of condensed milk

1 can of evaporated milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Mix all the liquid ingredients.

Transfer the cake to a deeper dish, large enough to hold the cake and also hold all the liquid volume.

Poke a lot of holes in the cake

Now pour the milk mixture over the cake slowly paying extra attention to the edges.

Keep it in fridge ideally overnight. I feel that it allows the cake to take in all the liquid and develop some harmony.

As you can see the entire amount of liquid is all absorbed.

Frosting

1 cup of heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup of powdered sugar ( optional)

Whip the cream with or without the sugar until soft peaks form.

 

Now the bestest part

Serve yourself a nice big slice. Turn some nice music on. Sit down and enjoy the cake.

You can top the slice with fresh fruit. I like it with strawberries, I feel they add a nice tang that helps cut through the rich sweet, milky cake.

This recipe inspired by a couple of chefs on food network, Alton brown and Marcella.

 

Thandai  leches cake 

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I love deserts especially when they involve dairy :). So when I first ate ‘ Trés Leche Cake’, I fell in love with it. All this while I had eaten cakes that were that were like a pound cake so I could not get over the fact that this cake was so moist and yummy.

Usually I try to make something special for my close friends’s birthdays. This very good friend celebrates her birthday in April which is also the time when Indian celebrate ‘Holi’ , the festival of colors.

As you know I love to put an indian twist on dishes. As I was making this cake around Holi, I thought why not make this cake with  ‘Thandai flavors’!

Thandai is a milk based drink made on Holi. The literal meaning of the word is ‘ a cooler’, something that cools the body. It is perfect for Holi since that is summer time in India. To make Thandai, a paste is made with various spices and almonds etc and then mixed in sweetened milk.  It so served in small clay cups.

So back to my cake. It is a basic sponge cake soaked with goodness of the wonderfully flavored Thandai Milk.  It is actually ‘Quatro Leche Cake’, you will see how.

Ingredients

For the sponge cake

4 eggs at room temperature separated

1 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

2 tbsp Thandai Masala ( you can buy it in any store )

1/2 cup whole milk.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Sift flour with baking powder & salt.

Mix the Thandai Masala with the milk.

Separate the eggs. Beat the egg whites for 1min till they start becoming a but frothy.

Add sugar and beat till soft peaks form.

Add one yolk at a time and keep whisking.

Add the flour mixture and milk mixture alternatively.

So it will be something like-

1/3 cup flour

1/4 cup milk

1/3 cup flour

1/4 cup milk

1/3 cup flour

 

Take a baking pan and butter and flour it well. It is very important since that will ensure that the cake comes out of the pan in a clean way.

I also put a parchment paper for extra ease.

Now pour the batter in the prepared pan. Make sure the pan in at least 10 inches round or even 9x 13, if you take a smaller pan the cake is too tall and the liquid does not get absorbed very well.

Bake for about 30 mins until the knife comes out clean. 

Let the cake cool on a stand for about 30 mins.

Now the fun part.

Milk goodness mixture

1 14 oz can of condensed milk

1 can of evaporated milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 – 3/4 cup of ‘ Thandai Syrup’

 

Mix all the liquid ingredients.

Transfer the cake to a deeper dish, large enough to hold the cake and also hold all the liquid volume.

Poke a lot of holes in the cake

Now pour the milk mixture over the cake slowly paying extra attention to the edges.

Keep it in fridge ideally overnight. I feel that it allows the cake to take in all the liquid and develop some harmony.

As you can see the entire amount of liquid is all absorbed.

Frosting

1 cup of heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup of powdered sugar ( optional)

Whip the cream with or without the sugar until soft peaks form.

 

Now the bestest part

Serve yourself a nice big slice. Turn some nice music on.

Sit down and enjoy the cake.

I have made the cake toppers with brown edible clay. Filled it with the milk mixture and topped with the whipping cream.

Ceviche – a healthy, flavorful way to eat fish

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Tilapia Ceviche

 

Tilapia Ceviche

The weather is warmer and the family wants to eat fresh fruits, lighter meals. It is not easy to cook something which is fresh, healthy and tasty. And of course it has to be easy to make.
One such dish is Ceviche.

The first time I ate Ceviche in Cabo San Lucas. We were on our annual vacation. All of us are big foodies so invariably the first thing we do when we go to a new place is to find out good food joints. When we asked the person who cleaned our room what her favorite place to eat was, she told us about this small place near the beach. We got out of the resort, took a local bus and reached this small village. There was this cobble stone street that went all the way to the beach. The village center was a church and around that there were many vendors selling various things. We also had the best fish tacos there.
We found the small shop that lady had recommended, that is where I are Ceviche the first time.
Let me tell you, I am not a fish lover rather I eat only select kind of fish. So for someone like me the idea of eating raw( it does get cooked in the acid) was pretty tough to try. But am I glad I did. That fish was perfectly cooked and marinated in the lime juice and paired very beautifully with crunchy cucumbers, onion, creamy avocado and with a kick from Serrano pepper.
It was a perfect warm weather snack.

So here is my take on Ceviche.

Ingredients:

2 tilapia fillet, chopped in small pieces
1 cup lime juice

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1/4 onion finely chopped 2 Persian cucumbers chopped fine(you can also use equivalent English cucumber)
1 Serrano pepper chopped fine
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 tomato chopped ( don’t take the seeds)
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It is important to chop the vegetables in a uniform fashion, it looks pretty and you get a sample of all in one bite. 

Method:

Mix the lime juice and tilapia pieces. Make sure you use a shallow container so that all pieces are covered in the lime juice. Sometimes I like to use orange juice in addition to the limes you use. Here I have used a blood orange that has given nice pink hue to the fish.
Let it sit for at least 45 minutes in the fridge. Then you take it out, the fish would look white, very opaque. This is the sign that the fish is cooked in the acid.

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Drain the fish in the colander.

While the fish is in the fridge, chop all the vegetables and mix them in a bowl together. Add salt to taste.
Add the drained fish to the vegetable mixture and mix everything well but with the light hand. You don’t want the fish or the avocado to break and become mushy.

It has a very fresh crisp taste and goes really well with crostinis, pita chips, tortilla chips or even in lettuce cups. I serve it in empty avocado shells, it makes for a great presentation.

  

Chicken enchilada

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I am sure that my daughter was born in a hispanic or latin family in her previous birth. Anytime I ask her what she would like for dinner, the answer is either fajita, quesadilla, chili but her favorite is enchilada. So today’s recipe is enchilada.

I feel key to a good enchilada is the sauce, if you get the sauce right you got 70% dish right. I learnt to make this sauce from Iris ( pronounced as ‘ee-ra-is’), she comes from the Jalisco province of Mexico and this is how her mom makes the sauce.

Chicken Fajita Enchilada

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Ingredients:

Filling:

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1 lb chicken, I make it with minced chicken or the rotisserie chicken and both taste good

1/2 Green bell pepper cut in short strips

1/2 Red bell pepper cut in short strips

1/2 onion sliced

2 tbsp homemade mexcian seasoning

oil

2 cups of shredded mexican style cheese

Sauce:

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2 Roma tomatoes

8-10 Tomatillos

1 jalapeno

2 cloves of garlic

1/2 onion cut in big chunks

1-2 dried red chili , you can use chipotle, guajillo or ancho chili

2-3 tbsp cilantro

 

6-8 tortillas

 

Method:

Step 1:

Make the sauce

Preheat the oven 400F.

 

Clean the tomatillos. Arrange tomatoes, tomatillos, garlic, onion, jalapeno in a baking dish. Sprinkle with oil and salt.  Bake it in the oven till you see the tops of the vegetables browning. I like mine a little smoky so I leave them in till they get black spots. If you like your salsa smoky, add the dried guajillo chili to the roasting vegetables for the last 5 mins.

If you are not planning to roast the dried chili with the vegetables. soak it in warm water for 15-20 mins( longer is ok).

Grind the roasted vegetables with a cup of water( you can also use chicken stock) With chopped cilantro, soaked dried guajillo chili and salt.

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Step 2:

Prepare the filling

If you are using the rotisserie chicken, de-skin & de-bone the chicken, you should be left with cooked shredded chicken.

 

In a pan heat some oil. Add sliced onions and saute until nicely browned ( I like mine almost caramelized).

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Once the onion are done, add the shredded chicken and sliced bell peppers.

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Cook for a few mins, add ‘Fajita seasoning ( see note)’.  Cook until all the flavors come together. Add chopped cilantro and take it off the heat.

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Once the meat mixture is cooled to room temperature, mix in 1 of the the shredded cheese and keep the mixture aside.

Step 3:

Assembly

Take a baking dish. Cover the dish with a thin layer of the sauce to prevent the tortilla from sticking to the dish. Take a plate and pour the rest of the sauce in that plate.

Dip the tortilla in the sauce, flip over to coat both sides.

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Spoon heapful of the chicken & cheese mixture on the center.

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Roll it up and arrange the roll on the baking dish.

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Finish arranging the rest of the tortillas in the baking dish.

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Cover this with the remaining cup of shredded cheese.

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Bake it in a 350F oven till everything heats through and the cheese melts ( about 25-35 mins). If you think that the cheese is melting but the enchilada is n heating through, you can cover the dish with an aluminum foil while baking, take it off during the last 7-10 mins for the cheese to get golden brown.

Serve it with a dollop of ‘fresh crema’!

 

Notes:

Vegetarian option: You can make a vegetarian version very easily. I make mine with sliced portobello mushroom, zucchini, carrots. My mom is a pure vegetarian and she loves it.

Spice mix: I  make my own Mexican seasoning which I use in all mexican dishes like fajita, taco, enchilada and even chili.

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