Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Whole Enchilada

Tex-Mex is quite the favourite with most people and the same is true for us. We first sampled the fare at Chennai's Don Pepe restaurant and it was finger lickin' good! The quality was consistent and the taste was just fabulous.

Its been a couple of years now since we moved to Delhi but the only two places that I have had Tex Mex is at Sanchos in South Extension- average at best - and Rodeo in Gurgaon - terrible! . Amigos touts itself as a fine dining (read expensive) Mexican restaurant but I haven't eaten there yet (frankly the concept of Mexican fine dining doesn't really make much sense to me); we did go one night for a promotional event but it was so crowded and noisy that we fled and took refuge at the Steakhouse Grill next door.

One afternoon last month, we hopped across to a mall in Noida to check out an electronics store and since it was almost lunch time decided to have a quick lunch at TGIF. Now, its been a long time since I have eaten at TGIF and the last thing I remember is that the food was usually good whenever we had eaten there. We decided to order from their Tex Mex menu and chose the Chimichangas and Tacos (both dishes were to be served with black beans on the side). When the food came we were taken aback.

The tacos were cold and stuffed with some rubbery batter fried chicken; the chimichangas were cold too and had a smear of congealed cheese on top. But what really annoyed me was that the "black beans" which was served to us was nothing but black lentils!!! When I protested to the serving staff, the person in charge insisted that they were black beans and even brought the uncooked version for us to check - that really sealed the deal because they were so obviously black lentils! I was really annoyed by then and sent the dish back and we left really soon.

I did get a call from the manager the next day (in response to an email from me) offering us a meal on the house at our convenience and I thanked him for atleast responding. But I was disappointed that a well known chain of restaurants would attempt to pass off something as generic as lentils as black beans! I mean do people think that the customer of today doesn't know much about international food? Or that she won't bother about what she is being served. And we are not talking about a cheap joint here, but one where a meal for two won't cost anything less than Rs. 1,500.

Which is how I came about cooking enchiladas at home. Helped by the fact that I found a pack of burritos and enchilada sauce in the local "gourmet" store. I have made sauce for enchiladas from scratch before and it really isn't difficult but this time I went with some outside help because I was pressed for time. (you can increase the quantity of chopped tomatoes and add a cup of salsa)

I did two fillings one with chicken and the other with vegetables and tofu. I added kidney beans (rajma) to the sauce and this turned out as one satisfying dinner. DH in fact asked whether he could have a third portion - sheer greed considering each one was so filling!!


Boneless Chicken - 200gm, marinated with lemon juice and salt) OR
Tofu - 200gm, cut into cubes and marinated with lemon juice & salt

Mexican seasoning - 1/2 tsp
1 tsp oil
Bell pepper - 1, sliced thinly

Onion - 1 chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves minced
3 tomatoes - peeled and chopped
red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
green chillies - 1-2 chopped
1 tin enchilada sauce

Kidney beans - 1 cup, soaked overnight and cooked till soft (reserve water)
Ice berg lettuce, washed
1 tbsp oil

1 cup grated mozarella cheese (jack cheese is best if you have it available)

1. Heat oil in a pan and saute the onion, green chillies and garlic till the onion is translucent.
2. Add the chopped tomatoes and saute till pulpy, add the red chilli powder, cumin powder, salt and saute for 3 minutes
3. Add 1/2 the tin of enchilada sauce and cooked kidney beans (rajma); pour in about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of the the reserved water and bring to boil.
4. Reduce flame, cover and cook for about 10-12 minutes till the sauce reduces to as thick consistency. Cool
5. Meanwhile, cook the marinated chicken and shred it (I usually pressure cook it for 5 minutes).
6. Heat 1 tsp oil in another pan and saute the shredded chicken or cubed tofu along with the sliced bell peppers for about 5 minutes on high; add the mexican seasoning to this and some salt if needed. Remove and cool.
7. Pre heat the oven to 180 C, grease the bottom of an oven proof dish with oil and pour about 1/2 of the remaining enchilada sauce on the bottom.
8. Microwave the tortillas for about 20 seconds on each side till they are just soft.
9. Spoon the kidney bean enchilada sauce on the centre of each tortilla, top with the shredded chicken or tofu and roll. Secure with a toothpick and place seam side down on the prepared dish.
10. Once all the tortillas are prepared (filling should be enough for 6-7) pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the tortillas. Sprinkle the grated cheese all over.
11. Bake for 15-20 minutes till the cheese melts and the top browns slightly.
12. Serve immediately with lettuce on the side.


Arch said...

Nice enchilada there...Am really surprised at what happened at TGIF. Whenever we have eaten at their Bangalore branch, I have loved the food - the food has been consistently good. But good thing that it inspired you to make this delicious one :)

indosungod said...

Home made any time Miri. They look so good. Flee the chains.

Miri said...

I agree Arch, the Bangalore one and the Vasant Vihar one in New Delhi have never given me cause for complaint - but again that was 2 years ago. We almost never eat at chains when we go out now...

The knife said...

So the best place to have Tex mex at Delhi is to go to your place? :)

Don't worry I felt like that too when I make some Hakka noodles last night. I am yet to come across a hakka noodles in Mumbai which I like as much as I like my own.

Your recipe looks very interesting and might try it for a party.

Sad that an expensive place like TGIF had the gall to pass of such nonsense. Why not go to Nirulas then eh?

Miri said...

@knife - you bet - welcome anytime :)

And yes, thats exactly what I thought - I could have gone to any of the counters in the food court in the same mall and not given a thought to what I was eating...

Cham said...

I never experienced Intern food in India, whenever we visit, we just go wild with local food. The food price tag is very expensive!
Mexi food is the cheapest u get in California! I bet ur enchilada looks tasty!

Bong Mom said...

I had never seen tex-mex food when In India, guess things have changed a lot. When we go, like Cham only eat local food :)

Love your enchilada. Even here I don't think I have ever had Mexican food that I really liked a whole lot. Maybe I should come to your place too :-D

PJ said...

your enchiladas look delicious! Having stayed in San Diego for a long time I was so pampered with good mexican food that when we moved out of there, one of the first things I had to learn to cook was make a good enchilada and a good quessadilla! yours looks very yummy.. thanks for sharing!

Rajani said...

yes the best (vegetarian) mexican i had was in chennai... a long long time ago. next was in delhi - there's a joint near janpath or CP. more recently tried a place here in dubai, it was horrendous, maybe cos it was at a food court!! so completely off even trying mexican food now. enchiladas look yummy, now i am curious to try out mexican at home!

Miri said...

Sandeepa - welcome anytime :)

Thanks PJ, Cham and Rajani!

s said...

oh wow..i have all the ingredients at home.wanna try this..looks so GOOD!!

Anita said...

So you were able to find good burritos at the store? Hmm - I should look out for them. The enchilada looks really sinful and I haven't eaten Mexican in a while.

I tried a Mexican place at Noida a year ago. It was quite disappointing since they do 'substitute' a bit too much while still charging an arm and a leg! We were served fresh whipped cream instead of sour cream on the side!!

Miri said...

Yes Anita - Le March carries them and I'm sure INA market and the like too have stores which carry them.

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sangeeta said...

lovely blog it many great recipes and you write so well about food..

i never like eating outside so never experieced eating mexican or tex mex anywhere , but i loved this i love home cooked food as you are in charge of the finest ingredients...n the results are always better !!