Mexican Cuisine (About)

Mexican Cuisine brings up images of beans, tortilla chips and spices, predominantly chilies in our mind. However, there is more to the story.  Today, Mexican cuisine is not just limited to the Latin and North America, but has gained popularity across the globe, albeit in different flavors depending on the region. Staple ingredients of Mexican cuisine include corn and chili peppers, while significant ingredients are influenced by Spanish diet such as meat and cheese. A noticeable aspect with Mexican cuisine is that UNESCO has added it to the list of world’s intangible cultural heritage.

Street food is a major contribution from the Mexican cuisine, as across the world we see hawkers selling tacos, nachos and quesadillas these days. In fact, it is estimated that within Mexico, about 50-60% of the population consume street food at least once a month. It is common to find street food vendors in the morning and evening time, and also till late in the night, but not during afternoon hours as that is considered the time to have a normal meal in Mexico. Sauces, known as “Mole” are used commonplace in Mexican cuisine. Moles are available in multiple flavors, with chili pepper as the basic ingredient. As a matter of fact, many dishes in the traditional Mexican cuisine are named by their sauces.

Tacos are the simplest food items in the Mexican cuisine that has crossed borders globally. Taco refers to a folded tortilla (flatbread) with a fair amount of fillings. The tortillas can be made from wheat or corn flour, but corn flour tortillas are more popular. Different ingredients are used in a variety of combinations to fill up tacos, including beans, cheese, meat, vegetables, onions and salsas.

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Day – 26 : Tomato Rice (Recipe)

Since the day I have start writing this blog, I’m talking about Tomato Rice. Here is my recipe for making amazing Tomato Rice or as they call in Southern part of India, Thakkali Sadham.

Ingredients:

3 cups cooked leftover rice(Or Freshly made and cooled down, I prefer Basmati Rice for this)

1 medium-large Onion

5-6 small-medium Tomatoes

1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds

1 tsp channa dal (Bengal Grams)

1 tsp split urad dal (Black lentils)

1 tsp Garlic Paste (Optional)

1/4 tsp Methi Daane (Fenugreek seeds)

1/4 tsp Turmeric

2 tsp Sambar Powder (I use MTR Sambhar Powder, if you make the powder at home, you can use that too)

1 Dried Red Chilli

2 tsp Cooking Oil

Pinch of Hing (Asafoetida)

Salt to taste

Few leaves of Curry Leaves

1 cup of water

Method:

  • Heat oil in a pan. When oil heats up, add mustard seeds.
  • When it starts popping, add hing and red chilli, followed by Urad Dal and Chana Dal.
  • Once Dals start changing color, add methi daane.
  • Add garlic paste and saute for few seconds.
  • Add chopped onions with salt  and saute, for 2-3 minutes.
  • Once onions are soft, add tomatoes in pan and increase the heat. Add Turmeric and stir. Cook on high heat until tomatoes are soft.
  • Add a cup of water, drop some curry leaves and add Sambhar Powder and stir.
  • Let it cook for 5 to 7 minutes with lid closed, on medium heat.
  • add the rice, a little at time to make sure there is enough gravy to cover the rice.
  • Close with a lid and cook for 5 more minutes on low flame.
  • Serve it hot with Papad, Curd/Raita or Spicy Chutney

Day -24 : Bean and Pasta Soup

Bean and Pasta soup is a dish with proud Mediterranean origins with an Italian Twist; this soup is a winter warmer to be served with warm crusty bread and if you like, a slice of cheese.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup baked beans (canned)

1 medium onion , sliced

2 garlic cloves , sliced

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1/4 cup macaroni or any small pasta

1 tbsp corn flour

1 tsp dried oregano

2 tbsp fresh cream

2 tbsp tomato ketchup

2 tbsp butter

salt and to taste

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Method:

  • Heat the butter in a pan; add the onion and garlic and sauté till the onion turns translucent.
  • Add the baked beans, tomatoes, macaroni, salt and 3 cups of hot water and bring to a boil. Simmer till the macaroni is cooked (aprrox. 8 to 10 minutes).
  • Dissolve the corn flour in 1 1/2 tablespoons of water and add to the soup.
  • Add the oregano, cream, tomato ketchup, salt and freshly ground pepper and mix well.
  • Serve hot, garnished with the cheese.

Day -23 : Bruscetta with Tomato and Basil

Bruscetta is one famous Appetizer (or Antipasti in Italian), served before meal in Italy. The recipe is very simple and easy to make, but it tastes really great!

Ingredients:

4 slices of rustic wheat bread

3 heirloom tomatoes

3-4 cloves of garlic

1/4 bunch basil

300 milliliters balsamic vinegar

152 milliliters extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Red chili flakes (optional)

 

Tomato_Bruschetta

 

Process:

  • Toast wheat bread and cut each slice into four pieces.
  • On a cutting board, dice the heirloom tomatoes and mince the garlic. Tear up the basil to release its flavor and add this, along with the heirloom tomatoes and garlic, to a bowl. Next, add balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt and black pepper. Lightly toss and let it sit for 20 minutes. Add chili flakes if you like it spicy!
  • Toss the bruschetta mixture lightly once more and then put a large spoon full on each wheat bread toast.