Mexican Memories

We love Mexican food, not only is it tasty and easy to make, it always takes us back to some of the happiest times my wife and I shared together. In December 2012 we got married and we were lucky enough to spend our honeymoon in Cancun over Christmas and New Year.

It was an amazing experience and we loved every second of it. Having been on quite strict diets leading up to the wedding, we did not hold back on the food and drink in Mexico. We stayed at an amazing resort in the Cancun hotel zone and it had 15 different restaurants and bars.

Within days we had found our favourites and after a few decent tips to the waiters at the a la carte Mexican we spent most lunchtimes enjoying delish, fresh, traditional Mexican food. It was quite obvious early on that the traditional Mexican cooking differed greatly from what we were eating back in England, it wasn’t as spicy or sweet as the fajita packet boxes we were used to.

But, none the less, we loved it. My personal favourite was the crab enchiladas that I ate most days, washed down with perfect margaritas (something we definitely took from Mexico!). Unfortunately, when making this feast last week for the family my local supermarket didn’t have crab meat available so we made some chicken enchiladas instead.

Over the years we have tried a lot of different dishes and recipes to recreate that authentic Mexican taste back at home and these are a few of the dishes we’ve settled on.

*** A little bit of preparation advice *** Prepare the fajitas and tacos first as the meat in both dishes needs to marinate for at least one hour.

Traditional Chicken Fajitas

Ingredients

  • 100 ml cooking oil plus 15ml extra for frying
  • 4 Limes – Juice squeezed
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp crushed chilli flakes
  • 2 Large chicken breasts 
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Peppers – sliced thinly
  • 1 Onion – sliced thinly
  • 1 Red chilli – sliced (add if you like a little more spice)
  • Tortillas (to serve)

Method

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the 120ml oil, lime juice, cumin, and chilli flakes. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper, then add to the bowl and stir well to marinade then leave covered in the fridge for at least half an hour, but the longer the better (2hrs is perfect). 

2. Once marinated, heat the remaining oil in a large pan or wok over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until golden and cooked through, then remove from pan.

3. Add the peppers, onion and chilli to the pan and cook until soft, then add the chicken back to the pan and mix well.

4. Serve with warm tortillas.

Beef Street Tacos

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil of choice (divide to use for cooking separately) 
  • 3 Garlic cloves – minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp oregano (dried or fresh)
  • 400g skirt steak, cut into small chunks
  • 1 Red onion – diced
  • Freshly chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 Lime – 4 wedges
  • Mini tortillas to serve

Method

1. In a mixing bowl add the soy sauce, lime juice, 1 tbsp cooking oil, garlic, chilli powder, cumin and oregano.

2. Add the steak once cut to size with the soy sauce mixture and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour, again the longer the better, stirring the bowl quite often.

3. Heat the rest of the oil in a large skillet/pan over medium heat. Add steak and cook, turning often, until the steak has browned, and the marinade has reduced. I like mine a little pink in the middle so 4-5 minutes normally does it perfectly (but cook to your liking). 

4. Heat a frying pan on a medium and dry toast the tortillas to warm them through and give them a slight char – about 30 seconds on each side works well.

5. Serve the cooked steak in the warmed tortillas, topped with onion, coriander and a squeeze of lime.

Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients

Enchilada Sauce

  • 2 garlic cloves – minced
  • 1 tbsp chipotle chilli sauce
  • 325ml passata
  • 1 tsp mild chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper (to season)

Chicken

  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • 2 Large chicken breasts
  • 1 onion – diced
  • 2 garlic cloves – minced
  • Handful fresh chopped coriander
  • Salt – pinch
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano (dried or fresh)
  • 1 tsp chipotle chilli powder
  • 100ml chicken stock
  • 100ml passata

To Serve

  • 8 tortillas
  • 200g grated cheese (I do use less cheese but that is personal preference)
  • Cooking oil
  • Fresh chopped coriander
  • 2 spring onions – chopped

Method

1. In a medium pan add the oil and sauté garlic, adding the chipotle sauce, chilli powder, cumin, chicken stock, passata, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.

2. Preheat oven to gas mark 6.

3. Heat the cooking oil in a skillet/pan over medium-high heat. Sauté onions and garlic on low until soft, about 2 minutes. Add chicken, salt, coriander, cumin, oregano, chilli powder, passata, chicken stock, and cook for 5 minutes, before removing from the heat.

4. Spray your baking dish with a little oil and add a decent size spoon of the chicken to each tortilla and top with a generous serving of the enchilada sauce then roll. Top with a good size serving of cheese (to your preference).

5. Cover with foil and bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes. Top with coriander and spring onions then serve on a warm plate.

Mexican Rice

Mexican Rice and Salsa Roja

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 Garlic cloves – minced
  • 1 Onion – diced
  • 1 1/2 cups white long grain or basmati rice
  • 1 Tin passata
  • 350ml vegetable stock
  • 150g sweetcorn
  • 100g carrots – diced
  • 150g peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Salt and ground black pepper (to season)
  • 2 tomatoes – diced
  • Handful chopped fresh coriander leaves

Method

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet/pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion, then sweat for about 3 minutes. Stir in rice and mix well, heating through for a couple of minutes until the rice is slightly toasted.

2. Stir in the passata and vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Stir in the sweetcorn, carrots, peas, chilli powder and cumin – season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover while reducing the heat to simmer until the rice is cooked through, about 15 mins stirring occasionally.

3. Once cooked stir in the tomatoes, then serve with coriander garnish.

Salsa Roja

Ingredients

  • 3 Tomatoes – cut
  • ½ Onion – diced
  • Handful of fresh coriander – chopped
  • 1 Garlic clove – minced
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt (to season)

Method

  1. Blend the tomato, garlic, and jalapeno in a blender.
  2. Separately, dice the onions and the cilantro.
  3. Add the tomato, garlic, jalapeno mixture to a frying pan with a small amount of olive oil.
  4. Heat over medium heat until it begins to boil, and then remove from heat.
  5. Put the salsa in a bowl, add the coriander and onion, and stir well, adding salt to season as preferred.

To finish off and give us the full flavour of Mexico we always serve with our favourite cocktail… Margaritas 🍸

Look out for our margarita cocktail recipe on a future post…

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