I love the affinity Indian food has with Mexican food but I mean this only in terms of spiciness. Other than that Mexicans have a one up on us, their foods have lovely colours! Al dente peppers are a delight and since we overcook all our veggies, it is a welcome change. Also their spices are more pungent and less fragrant, making the dish full-on, hot! I try my best to not Indian-ize foods and that’s easiest to do with cuisines like Mexican, which is a Euro/South American mash up anyway. I also like Tex-Mex and Cajun for the same reasons. I love how they treat meat. They leave so much of the real flavour of the main meat ingredient in the dish without overpowering it with spices like bay leaf, star anise and worst of all onions, ginger and garlic roasted. These are all wonderful in Indian cooking but when it comes to international foods, it’s best to stick as close to the recipe as possible, after you have tried it, then you can improvise.
For the roll:
For the Filling:
500 gms boneless chicken, cut into 2” long strips, make them slim, not too chunky.
1 large white onion, thinly sliced, use red if you like, I like the mild potency of white onions and the fact that they don’t ‘colour’ my dish
4-5 pods of garlic, smashed!
200 gms of mushrooms, sliced
1/2 each of red, yellow and green peppers, sliced
½ pack of instant chicken soup (I like Maggi chicken)
2 tsp black pepper or 3 tsp white pepper powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper (use Deggi mirch instead)
1 ½ cups of warm water
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley or coriander will do.
For the Topping:
½ cup grated mozzarella
½ cup grated cheddar
Heat the olive oil and fry the sliced onions and garlic. Throw in the chicken and fry up well, season a bit with salt and pepper and keep the stir fry going. Add the mushrooms about 4-5 minutes in, once the dish gets more moist from the cooking mushrooms, you can add the ½ pack of chicken soup mixed well into the warm water. If it thickens too fast add a little more water. Throw in the peppers, season with cayenne and black pepper powders and check the salt. Since the soup is salted, its better you do this. Season accordingly and cover to cook for another 4-5 minutes.
Now, you can soften the tortilla’s on a tava or pan with a little olive oil or butter, I actually just sprinkle some water on a hot skillet and quickly do both sides. This will make them softer and more pliable, don’t let them get crispy. In the centre of each tortilla place forkfuls of the chicken and mushroom, try and avoid the gravy and peppers. Use up as much as you like, though don’t make the tortilla too heavy, rolling and transferring to a oven proof dish will be tough. Roll the tortilla and tuck in the sides to close it and gently place in a lightly greased baking dish. Pour the rest of the mix on top with the liberal spread of peppers and gravy. Top with a mixture of both the cheeses and bake on 250 for about 5-6 minutes or till the cheese melts. Serve hot with red wine and cherry tomato salsa.
Cherry Tomato Salsa
8-10 cherry tomatoes, pound once with a meat mallet or rolling pin so they burst open, keep the juices.
½ cup of red wine, its ok if it’s old. Just make sure it isn’t vinegar already, I like to use the fortified, fruity kinds, but dry ones will do too.
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
3-4 dry red chillies coarsely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbsp of finely chopped leek or spring onion greens
Heat the oil, add the chillies. Don’t let it smoke, add the wine and reduce to half (about 5 mins on low fire). Add all the rest of the ingredients and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and refrigerate. Serve cold with hot enchiladas.