Around the World #2 : In search of Authentic Mexican


The decision to do Mexico after Spain was just a practical one. Our friends happened to visit us a couple weekends ago and since they are vegetarian, I thought why not do a ‘Mexican’ meal?. Plus ‘Cinco de Mayo’ is just around the corner ! Thus the destination choice for Around the world #2 was made!  I went and got all the different books on Mexican cuisine from our local library plus I already own a few books including the ones by Rick Bayless. So that’s how the journey to discover and make authentic Mexican has started.

DSC_1193Based on the enticing, spicy recipes that I have been reading about I think I will be exploring Mexico quite a bit. 🙂 The variety of techniques and ingredients – so many variety of cheeses and chillies!), regional variations etc make it very obvious that Mexican cuisine has so much to offer and has a special place in the global gastronomic world. And it is certainly not anything like the ‘americanized’, ‘full of cheese’ versions found here in fast food restaurants.  Don’t get me wrong – I don’t mean that I don’t like Tex Mex or other Mexican influenced dishes. – Nothing wrong with them. Its just that the increasing popularity of those may cause the authentic Mexican to fade away and that’s the piece I don’t like.

As I continue my exploration, I shall write more detailed posts talking about individual ingredients and techniques.  But for this introductory post, I have a simple yet fabulous vegetarian meal – Black Bean Enchiladas, Mexican Tomato Rice and easy sopaipillas for dessert! Although I have made chicken enchiladas in the past, I had never made black bean enchiladas even though that is the most common dish I order whenever we go Mexican! So now I was really motivated to make them.  I got the recipe from the book, “The Complete Mexican, South American and Carribean cookbook” that I had from a long time. I loved the recipe because there was not much cheese used and the enchilada sauce using chipotle chillies was spicy and so flavorful! Also I learned the technique of dipping the tortillas in the enchilada sauce first and toasting them slightly before rolling them with the filling. Now that makes perfect sense…why didn’t I think of that before!

The authentic tomato rice recipe I got from Tastesbetterfromscratch. What really intrigued me about this recipe is the use of whole halopenos while cooking the rice! I modified the recipe slightly but it ended up being indeed perfect and delicious!  I didn’t have too much time for making dessert and hence was looking for something quick and easy that I could make – Hence these easy version of Sopaipillas from Kitchenmeetsgirl seemed just perfect. A sopaipilla is traditionally made from leavened wheat dough (or a mixture of wheat flour and masa harina) to which some shortening or butter is added. After being allowed to rise, the dough is rolled into a sheet that is then cut into circular, square or triangular shapes. The shapes are then deep-fried in oil, sometimes after allowing them to rise further before frying: the frying causes the shapes to puff up, ideally forming a hollow pocket in the center. I made the easy version which uses frozen puff pastry dough but you could certainly make the dough from scratch too(I have the recipe and plan to do so one of these days!). For now, I was glad to be introduced to them 🙂 Oh my, they turned out just fabulous -warm, crunchy and sweet! Yum! Yum!

I am bringing all these Fiesta foods to a real (ahem..virtual) fiesta at Angie’s – Fiesta Friday! Have a happy weekend folks! 🙂

Black Bean Enchiladas

  • Servings: Makes about 6-8 servings
  • Time: about 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


For the enchilada sauce:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium size onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 chipotle chillies in adobe sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli pow
  • 3 cans tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup water

Cooking Black Beans:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 large clove of garlic crushed
  • 3 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup water(approximately)

For assembly:

  • 16 flour tortillas
  • 1 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 cup chopped tomato pieces
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese

For Guacomole:

  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled and mashed
  • 1 cup Freshly chopped onions, tomatoes and cilantro
  • halogens, finely chopped 1 tbsp (optional)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt


Take a medium size cooking pot and heat the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 2-3 minutes until soft.  add the chipotle chillies along with some of their sauce. Stir and add the tomato paste and the red chili powder. Stir for 1 more minute and add the tomato sauce. Stir and cook for about 2-3 minutes more. Turn heat off and let cool for a 5 minutes and then blend this sauce in a food processor to get a smooth sauce. Add the water little bit at a time to get the right consistency (the sauce should be thick and not too watery). Keep this sauce aside.

Next take another medium cooking pot and add the oil. Add the crushed garlic and stir for 30 seconds on medium heat. Immediately add the beans and the spices along with the water and stir. Cook for about 4 minutes on low heat until almost all the water is gone. Keep these beans aside.

Pre-heat oven to 350 deg F.

Take a large baking casserole dish or a deep tray and pour a little bit of the enchilada sauce to coat the bottom of the dish.  Then heat a pan and brush with oil. Take a tortilla, dip it in the enchilada sauce and then place on the pan to toast for about 1 minute. Flip the tortilla and toast the other side for another minute. Transfer this fried tortilla to a plate and place some of the prepared black beans, some of the onions, tomatoes and cheese (optional) and a little bit of the sour cream. Roll the tortilla and place on the dish. Repeat with all the other tortillas. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Sprinkle cheese over the top. Cover the dish with Al foil and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another extra 5 minutes. Serve with fresh guacamole.

For making guacamole:

Mix all the ingredients under Guacamole in a large mortar and pestle (or a large mixing bowl and use a masher).




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Mexican Tomato Rice

  • Servings: Makes about 6-8 servings as a side dish
  • Time: about 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 1 1/2 cup parboiled rice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 small cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 of a medium onion, chopped
  • 2 small tomatoes (or 1/4 cup tomato sauce)
  • *2 jalepeño peppers (whole, NOT chopped) Optional
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
    1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups water


Take the rice in a  large bowl and wash it with water thoroughly and drain the water. Keep aside.

In a large cooking pot (with a tight fitting lid), add the olive oil and heat it. Add the garlic and the onion and sauté for 2 minutes on medium heat. Add the rice and sauté for about 10 minutes.  Next add the tomatoes (or tomato sauce ), the halopenos, carrots, peas, red chili pow, tomato paste, cumin and the salt. Also add the water and stir well and bring to a boil.  Then turn heat to low and cover with a lid and cook for about 10-12 minutes or until all water is gone and the rice is cooked. Keep covered and serve warm with fresh guacamole, extra black beans and lettuce and cheese.!


Quick and Easy Sopaipillas

  • Servings: Makes 25 sopaipillas
  • Time: about 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print



  • 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tbsp honey to drizzle


Pre-heat oven to 400 deg F. Cut the puff pastry sheet into  25 small squares and place on a greased baking tray.  Bake at 450 F for 10 minutes. Then turn the pastries over to the other side and again bake for another 5 minutes.

While the puff pastries are baking, mix the sugar and cinnamon in a plate/tray and keep ready.

As soon as the pastries are out of the oven, roll them gently on the sugar cinnamon mixture. Place on a serving tray and drizzle with honey on top.



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0 thoughts on “Around the World #2 : In search of Authentic Mexican

  1. What a lovely meal you’ve prepared for your friends! And these recipes are a perfect introduction to Mexican cuisine. Thanks for sharing these lovely recipes with FF#65

  2. Since I live in New Mexico, Mexican food became my favorite. Your recipes sound totally great, I would make them immediately. Thanks for sharing and inspiring.

  3. How awesome, Indu! I just adore real Mexican food and have seen a number of really good cookbooks that focus on the authentic cuisine. I can’t wait to see more from this series! Very yummy! 😀

  4. You’ve selected another favorite cuisine Indus, everything looks just amazing! I’d be interested to follow you up on what you post next. Thanks for bringing it to the Fiesta, just in time for Cinco de Mayo coming up 🙂

    • HI Loretta, thanks for co-hosting FF! Yes Mexican is one of my favorites too! I can eat Mexican anytime and when we visited Mexico last year, I was surprised how different the authentic foods were from what we get here in the US. So I am definitely going to focus on making some of those ‘unheard of’ kind of dishes. thanks for the encouragement! 🙂

  5. Spanish cuisine has been long loved in the Philippines. And as what I knew, Mexican and Spanish foods don’t differ that much from each other. I am excited to know that you are doing this around the world thing, Indu. This would be so great for those who want to explore international cuisine. This looks really good and yummy. Thanks for sharing and happy FF. 🙂 xx

    • ha ha Yes actually as I typed Fiesta friday I had the same thought! That you love Mexican and hence the whole fiesta thing 🙂 yes I can eat Mexican every single day and every single meal – I must have been a Mexican in my previous life! LOL! 🙂

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