live life, celebrate food, share both with those you love

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Mexiday! The basic ingredients

I am sooooo obsessed with REAL Mexican food at the moment! You may have realized this after reading my review of Mamasita a while back... still drooling! When I say REAL Mexican food, I'm not talking about heavy, fatty, dishes smothered in refried beans and melted cheese. I'm talking about beautiful, fresh dishes, full of flavor and a whole lot healthier then you might imagine.

So it only makes sense that I do a series of Mexican recipes but since the phrase "Taco Tuesday" is used everywhere... let's make today... Mexiday!! Hey, there has to be at least one tacky reference thrown in

Firstly, you need to find a few ingredients for that authentic taste, such as:

Corn tortillas - the type you get at the supermarkets here in Australia are ok, but they aren't the greatest. If you can, try to find the frozen ones - you won't regret the effort! I get mine from here: they are in Victoria and are very helpful, so maybe give them a call and see if they know where you can find them in your area. I usually buy a box and stack my freezer full or share with a friend or two. FYI, there are two kinds of tortillas, one for heating and eating (soft taco style) and the others are thinner for baking like enchiladas. If you're really keen on cooking from scratch, you could buy a grain called masa harina (fairly easy to find) and make your own, but I haven't had much luck doing this. To heat the soft taco tortillas, just heat in a dry pan for about a minute each side and then wrap in paper towel and place inside a container with a lid, or a tortilla warmer. The steam from each tortilla will keep the rest warm and soft.

Chipotle chillies - these are my favorite chillies! It a smoked Jalapeno and is finally getting more popular in Australia. You can buy them as a powder, dried or canned, and has the most beautiful smokey heat. I wouldn't classify them as super hot, but start with a little and work your way up.
Herbies sell the powdered and dried variety and I get my cans from Aztec, but some specialty supermarkets also have them. You can use smoked paprika if you can't find chipotles, but it won't be the same.

Other Mexican chillies include Ancho, Mulato, Pasilla, and there's many more. Again, Herbies is a
great place to find these in the dried varieties. I suggest you get a few and see what you like, some are mild, some will burn your mouth, get a few and have a play.

There's a bunch of herbs and spices that you'll also need and if you've followed my herb and spice recommendations, you should already have most of what you need in your pantry. You're going to need coriander, both powdered and fresh... in fact, start growing it as you'll need handfuls in lots of dishes, especially salsa's. Cumin is a another must have as well as dried oregano and paprika.

And don't forget... Limes!! And plenty of them!

Lastly, grab a bottle of tequila... for marinating... and let's get cooking... hiccup!