Tuesday, July 19, 2011
A Little Taste of Mexico
I've been to Mexico for almost 4-5 times now. Every time I go there, I look for mango & pomegranate trees, bougainvillea & Plumeria(Champa) flowers and of course, great Mexican food. There we don't get hard shell tacos! It's only for Americans & Canadians. Their tacos are tortillas, with the plateful of different beans, meat and potatoes that they either fill and roll up or eat just like we Indians do!
Empanadas are Mexican samosas! Literally! Our Indian samosas are puff pastry filled with either minced meat or potato mixture or cooked lentils. Empanadas are also puff pastry filled with minced meat, bean and potato mixture or anything. When I first saw empanada moulds here in North America, which was almost 2 decades ago, I thought why Indians here are making samosas in this shape?! Silly me! It didn't take me long to figure out that those moulds are not for samosas, they are for empanadas. This dish was on my to-do list for a long time. Only last month I got a chance to make empanadas at home. They were delicious. With sour cream and home made salsa, those empanadas were melt-in-your-mouth treat. I served it with my famous caramelized onions and mushrooms quesadillas. That transported us back to Mexico in no time.
1 cup AP flour
1/4 cup butter
1 lb ground chicken
1 onion, finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Mexican chili powder
1 tbsp dry oregano
Red chili powder to taste
For pastry: mix flour, butter and salt till it is crumbly. Slowly add a tbsp of cold water till the dough forms. Gather the dough bits and place it in a plastic wrap. Keep it in the refrigerator for about an hour.
In the mean time, prepare filling. Cook everything till the mixture is nice and dry. Cool.
Roll out the dough in a big sheet, about 1/4" thick. With the rim of the glass or a cookie cutter, cut rounds of the sheet. Place the round in the empanada mould, fill with a couple of tablespoons of filling mixture and fold it over. If you don't have the mould, just fill half of the round, fold over, seal tightly with fingers and then make the criss cross design with fork.
Beat the egg. Brush all the empanadas with egg mixture and bake them in the 400°F hot oven till golden brown.
Serve with salsa, guacamole and sour cream.
Caramelized Onions & Mushroom Quesadillas
2 big onions, sliced
1 lb mushrooms
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp taco spice mix
1 cup cheddar cheese
10 medium tortillas
Cook onions in the oil on medium slow heat till caramelized, for about 15 minutes. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper, taco spice mix and stir well. Cool down.
Take one tortilla, fill with the onion & mushroom mixture(about 2 tbsp), sprinkle with a tbsp of cheese, fold over. Prepare the rest of the tortillas this way. Place them on a baking sheet.
Spray all the tortillas with Pam. Either grill them or place another baking sheet on top of the prepared tortillas and bake in the 400°F oven for about 10 minutes.
Serve with salsa, sour cream and guac.