My last post made me hungry for more tortillas! I made quasi Mexican tortillaswith spicy chicken, flavored rice, beans, guacamole and grilled vegetables.
This spicy, marinated chicken is more Asian than Mexican, but the flavor goes very well with the other dishes. Use organic chicken meat for superior flavor, pound the following ingredients in your mortar (or chop finely and mix) and marinate the sliced chicken in them for about half an hour to a few hours.
Juice of 1½ lemon or 2 limes 2 cloves garlic 1 red pepper or 1 heaping teaspoon sambal A big dash of soy sauce A big dash of fish sauce A teaspoon of sugar or honey and/or some sweet chili sauce The stems of a bunch of cilantro
Drain the chicken (save the marinade) and add to a hot, hot oiled pan. The chicken will release more juice, drain if necessary and fry until nicely browned. Add the reserved marinade and boil down until the chicken is covered in sweet sticky brown juice. Serve with some fresh cilantro.
Grilled onions, zucchini and bell pepper
Saute a couple of big onions (as many as your pan will take, really, you can use them for anything in the next few days) in a heavy bottomed pan. The longer you give them, the more beautifully they will caramelize and brown. It can take from twenty minutes up to an hour. Cut up a bell pepper and grill it in a hot pan with barely any oil. Add a bit of water to the hot pan every now and then, the steam will cook it more quickly. Cook the zucchini in the same way, but with a bit more oil and add a clove of chopped garlic.
Simple tomato salsa
A can of tomatoes Two cloves of garlic ½ red chili pepper (or to taste, if you can find some crazy Mexican chili or smoked chili powder or a nice sambal, go for it) Some pickled jalapeños A bunch of cilantro Salt to taste Lime juice or rice vinegar to taste A dash of sugar
Blend it all with an immersion blender or in a food processor until smooth. I like to make it quite spicy to complement the other, softer flavors.
Quick half-mashed beans
Gently saute a minced clove of garlic. Add a handful of your caramelized onions (or saute an onion with the garlic), and add a big can of beans. Add about ½ teaspoon of ground cumin, coriander seed, cayenne pepper and paprika, plus salt and pepper to taste. Take an immersion blender (or potato masher) to the pan and puree about half the beans. Add some water if desired.
Simple guacamole and/or sour cream
Mash an avocado with some lime juice, salt and pepper. You could thin it with some sour cream or 10% fat yogurt if you like. Cilantro is always good in guacamole, or a touch of garlic or green onions, or some chopped red chili peper.
Warm a few tortillas in a dry frying pan. I smeared my tortillas with some grilled pepper-eggplant dip. To make this, steam a chopped eggplant until soft, add a grilled red pepper (from a jar works just fine) a few heaping spoons of the spicy tomato salsa, which will provide all the flavor you need. Blend until smooth, adding perhaps just an extra squeeze of lemon or lime and salt to taste.
I also added some steamed, flavored rice. Saute a clove of garlic and an onion (or use the caramelized onions, very nice), and add a cup of dry basmati rice to the oil. Stir over medium heat until the rice turns translucent. Add a cup and a half of boiling water with bouillon (vegetable bouillon powder, a bouillon cube or stock instead of water all work beautifully). Steam the rice in a covered pan for about ten minutes, just taste for doneness and serve.
So, smear your tortilla with the eggplant (this is very optional), spread some lettuce (also not very Mexican at all, I just wanted greens and had to put them somewhere), rice, beans, fresh diced tomatoes, grilled vegetables and plenty of chicken. The tricky part is not to over-stuff, or it won't close. Add some dollops of cream and/or guacamole, as much fresh cilantro as you can stand and enjoy!