Mexican

Vegetarian Chili


According to Wiki
Chili con carne (literally “Chili with meat”, often known simply as chili) is a spicy stew made from chili peppers, meat, garlic, onions, and cumin. Traditional chili is made with chopped or ground beef. Variations, either geographic or by personal preference, may substitute different types of meat and may also include tomatoes, beans, or other ingredients.

I have been watching different chili recipes on TV and blogs for a long time now, but somehow never tried to make one at home. There is no question of eating it out, as I haven’t seen a vegetarian or chicken only version in restaurants here. I was very interested when my colleague Tracy told me he has a very good vegetarian chili recipe that he will share with me. As soon as he gave it to me, I tried it. We both enjoyed the sweetish spicy chili on a very cold day. V had a weired way of eating it, he added some sev on top and claimed it tasted a lot like chaat. I loved it as it is.

I did not have some of the ingredients in my pantry, so I used whatever I had. I will mention my changes in brackets.

Ingredients:
1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes (1 acorn squash)
2 medium sized carrots, diced (3/4 cup chopped carrots)
1 medium sized onion, diced (3/4 cup chopped onion)
3 tbl spn chili powder (1 tea spn chilli powder)
28oz can plum tomatoes (8 oz can tomato sauce)
4oz can chopped mild green chiles (1 tea spn chilli flakes)
1 cup vegetable broth or water
3/4 tsp. salt or to taste
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained (1/2 cup black beans soaked overnight and pressure cooked)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Low-fat sour cream for garnish (Did not use this)
Olive oil

Method:
In a large pot over medium high heat, heat olive oil. Add squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, remove. In same pan, heat remaining olive oil and cook carrots and onion until well browned. Add tomato sauce, chilies, vegetable broth(or water), and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, stir in black beans and butternut squash and cook on a medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer another 15 minutes or until squash is tender and chili thickens. Stir in cilantro. Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top.

Serves : 4-5
Preparation time : 30mins

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Quesadilla and Peach-corn salsa

quesadilla and salsa
Now, the authenticity police may beat me down for this recipe here. This is not a authentic recipe, but inspired by my Mexican favorites. Quesadilla – pronounced as kisadia, is made of melted cheese between folded corn tortilla. While I try it sometimes, V does not go anywhere near this.

Salsa is kind of condiment served with many Mexican dishes. We get salsas made of tomato, corn, fruit etc. I think it goes very well with Quesadilla.

Now, let’s see how this recipe was born. On one of those grocery shopping sprees, I brought home a pack of jalapeño jack cheese – which I was pretty sure would be very hot. I spent more than 30 minutes in the cheese aisle that day. I was in a mood to try a new cheese. We see so many varieties here and I have no clue about most of them. So I wanted to give a try. (Did I say, I tried two more new cheeses that day and didn’t like their taste at all).

Then, on one of my farmer’s market visits, I bought peaches. I had my eyes on them for a while, but never bought them. That day when I was passing infront of one of the vegetable/fruit stalls there, the lady asked me to taste one. And there I was, walking with 5 peaches in next couple of minutes. The one I tasted there was extremely sweet. The ones I brought home, not so much.

So now I had to think of something to do with the cheese and the peach. I made a bread using that cheese(but forgot to write down recipe). Now, next I wanted something extremely simple. So I thought of making Quesadilla – salsa combo. I am not a big fan of tortilla – the smell puts me off every time. So I decided to make my own wheat tortillas – in other words, I made huge, thin phulkas. I roasted them half and stacked them till I was ready to make the Quesadilla. The salsa was quick one too.

We enjoyed this so much that, I have already made it more than 2 times in last 2 weeks. I think it will be a regular from now on.

In the picture above, I didn’t use corn in salsa and jalapeño in Quisadilla. The second time when I used them, we thought these two enhanced the taste to a large extent. So I am writing them down in the recipe.

Quisadilla
Tortillas or big, thinly phulkas
Pepper jack or jalapeño jack cheese
Few jalapeños(optional)
Olive oil

Method:
Spread olive oil on a heated frying pan/tava.
Keep a tortilla on it.
quesadilla1

After few seconds, turn it upside down and spread a handful of cheese and jalapeño pieces on half portion.
quesadilla2

Fold the other half over it. Press it down a bit. Turn upside down, till the cheese melts and the tortilla is crisped up.
quesadilla3

Cut into pieces and serve hot.

Peach-corn salsa
1/2 cup peaches(or mangoes) finely chopped
1/2 cup corn cooked till done
2 tbl spns tender capsicum finely chopped
2 tbl spns onion finely chopped
1-2 tea spns lemon juice
Salt
Pepper
1 tea spns coriander leaves finely chopped

Method:
Take all the ingredients in a bowl. Be careful while adding lemon juice, if peaches are too sour, add less amount. Mix everything with a spoon and serve.

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