It is the month end and it is time for the Shh Cooking Secretly Challenge, that is hosted by Mayuriji – did you have the chance to check out her latest guest post yet? If not, then please do. 🙂 We have been doing some pretty interesting themes of late in this challenge, and I have been looking forward to participating in them, provided they were what I could cook for the family than myself. Hehe…
This month, the theme is “Mexican cuisine” and it was suggested by Narmadha, who blogs at Nams Corner. She has been doing some amazing thalis this month and this special non-veg thali made me feel like I could get married again and be invited to her home. *No offense, HD* 😀 Coincidentally, she ended up being my partner for this month too. Double whammy! Hehe… We have been chatted over messenger a few times and also keep in touch through the BM posts. I must say I had such a generous partner who was keeping it nice and simple for me, so I decided to be nice and simple to her too.
Now if we talk about Mexican cuisine, what comes to our mind are the salsas, the guacs, the tortillas, the tacos and what not! This cuisine is meant to be one of the oldest cuisines in the world, with some really complex flavors. Wikepedia tells me that my favorite ingredient, chocolate originated in Mexico. Oh wow! Due to historical invasions, there are some Spanish influences on this cuisine. Corn, chillies, tomatoes and meat form a very important part of their eating habits. I have tried very few recipes from this cuisine and this challenge has actually made me bookmark a few more to try in due course. Sharing some of the recipes below:
Mexican Flan – needs an update for sure!
Tres Leches – how can we forget this amazing contribution!
Narmadha gave me the ingredients of corn and garlic. Now corn is something that gets used a lot in quesadillas and salsas. I was struggling a bit to find an interesting recipe with corn and I was almost going to give up, when magically Google ended up throwing a dish called Pozole. Read as “poh-so-lay”, this is a filling broth usually made with pork and dehydrated corn called as “hominy”. The meat is easy to replace, but I was really worried about where I will find hominy. I searched across the aisles in a few supermarkets and mostly Mexican food here is about salsa, guacamole and loads of tortillas. There was no sight of hominy and when I searched online, the options were so expensive that I wasn’t ready to burn my pocket, especially during this time!
Then I read this link that ended up being a Eureka moment for me. It said that I could use chickpeas and corn as a substitute and garlic was anyway a part of the ingredients to make a Pozole. I was really excited about making this, knowing how much the men really enjoy it. The same can’t be said about the girls, but sometimes you just drag them into it. 😉 My search on Google gave me a lot of different variations, so I went with what worked best with me. Most of the recipes used shredded meat, but I took the easy way and used mince, so that I could avoid the shredding. Hehe… I love that it is an easy, soul comforting soup that is so filling that you don’t need anything to go with it.
The specialty of this soup is that it is served with toppings that are sprinkled in as per your requirement. It adds a lot of character to the already delicious soup. I used radishes, Parmesan and coriander as our toppings, but as you may see in other recipes, they use thinly sliced cabbage, onions, Mexican style cheese, parsley, lime and even Nachos. Hehe… Vegetarians could replace the meat with soya kheema, I feel, but even without the meat element, this soup is totally a must make. Just apt for the cozy nights… Meanwhile, do check out what Narmadha cooked with the secret ingredients I gave her…
- 500 gm lamb mince thawed
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 4-6 cloves of garlic
- 1 onion minced
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 2-4 stock cubes
- 400 gm tin chopped tomatoes
- 400 gm tin chickpeas drained
- 400 gm tin sweet corn drained
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- FOR TOPPING: refer notes for more options
- Grated parmesan cheese
- Radishes sliced
- Coriander leaves minced
- Heat the oil in a pan. Fry the garlic slightly. Add the onion, cumin and red chili powder and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add the mince meat, break it as you saute. Let it fry on low flame till almost done. Keep breaking in between to avoid lumps.
- Add the canned tomato in, and top with two can of water. Add the stock cubes. Allow the soup to simmer till slightly thickened.
- Add the drained chickpeas and corn and cook for further five minutes. Add the oregano and adjust seasonsings.
- Switch off and serve hot with the toppings sprinkled as per liking.
Add more water depending on how much liquid you would need.
You can replace the meat mince with meat pieces or chicken pieces. Just make sure to cook them properly and shred them before adding into soup.