In the second edition of our 'Travel with your Tastebuds' food series we're in Mexico. We want to inspire you to try cuisines and recipes from some of your dream destinations until we can return to them.
Lily Ramirez-Foran, Mexican cook, food writer and founder of Picado Mexican, a Mexican Grocer and Cooking School has shared some of her favourite Mexican recipes.
Agua de Pina (Pineapple Water)
· 250 grams fresh ripe pineapple, peeled and roughly chopped
· 40g granulated sugar (less or more to taste)
· 1 litre water
· Ice cubes to taste
Put the pineapple, sugar and water into the blender or food processor and blitz till it is liquidized. If your food processor is too small, you can do it in batches. Make sure you blend everything well as this is one of those drinks that will always have a bit of the fibre of the pineapple running through, but you don't want it too rough. Alternatively, if you don't want any bits, sieve it after blending it.
Add ice cubs to taste and get ready to enjoy it! Couldn't be simpler, could it?
This drink keeps well in the fridge covered. Just stir before serving.
Charred Salsa Roja
(Serves 4 to 6)
· 5 large Irish vine tomatoes, whole
· 1 red jalapeño chili, whole
· 1 garlic clove, peeled
· 25 grams onion, in one chunk
· 1 small bunch of coriander
· Salt & Pepper to taste
Wash all ingredients well and set them aside. Heat a cast iron pan or skillet using medium-high heat. Do not add any oil. Place the tomatoes and the jalapeño chilli on the hot, dried pan. After a couple of minutes, turn them on the pan to ensure they char evenly all around.
Cook them for about 12 minutes in this manner. After 12 minutes, add the onion and garlic to the pan and char it in a similar manner for about 5 minutes and then take them and the garlic out of the pan and set them aside.
Continue charring the tomatoes and chilli for further 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are fully cooked, charred in the outside and bursting. Transfer all charred ingredients to the blender or food processor and add the fresh coriander. Season with salt and pepper to taste and blend till smooth.
Serve this salsa slightly hot or at room temperature with tortilla chips or over your favourite taco.
(Serves 4 to 6)
· 4 lamb shanks
· 3 teaspoons dried Mexican Oregano
· 3 garlic cloves, peeled
· 1 medium onion, peeled & cut in half
· 200 mls water
· 1 tablespoon table salt
· Boiling water from the kettle
· 6 bay leaves, washed
· 16 corn tortillas
· 1 small onion, diced
· Small bunch fresh coriander, chopped
· Fresh radishes, thinly sliced (optional)
· Salsa of your choice
You can make this in a steamer or in your slow cooker, whichever is more convenient to you. If you are using a steamer, line the basket with tin foil making sure the pieces are large enough to overhang the sides of the basket, they will be used to wrap everything tightly into a parcel so give yourself plenty extra. If you are cooking it in the slow cooker, you don't need the tin foil.
Arrange the shanks in the bottom of your slow cooker or the lined steamer basket, they can be on top of each other. Make sure if you’re using a lined steamer basket not to pierce the tin foil with the bones.
Put the Mexican oregano, garlic cloves, onion, water and salt in a blender or food processor and blend until you have a uniform sauce. Make sure everything is liquidized properly, we don't want any lumps.
Pour the onion sauce mixture over the meat and place the bay leaves on top. If you are steaming it, gather the overhangs of tinfoil and close them tight, encasing meat and sauce in a tight sealed parcel. Fill the steamer pot with plenty of boiling water. Place the basket and the lid on the pot and steam the shanks at medium heat for 3.5 to 4 hours. Make sure to top up the water in the pot regularly so it does not run out. If you are using a slow cooker, add the sauce over the meat, followed by enough boiling water from the kettle to fill the slow cooker to its maximum capacity and top it up with the bay leaves. Cook it on high for 8 hours or in slow overnight.
Serve this barbacoa on warmed corn tortillas, topped with fresh coriander, radishes and a good salsa.
Roasted Chicken in Achiote
(Serves 4 to 6)
· 1 large free roaming chicken, whole
· 6 large potatoes, washed and cut in halves
· 4 large carrots, peeled and cut in big chunks
· 3 medium red onions, peeled and quartered
· 300 mls Irish pale ale craft beer
· 30g Achiote Paste
· 1 small tomato, washed
· 1 large orange, juiced
· 50 mls Irish apple cider vinegar
· ½ small onion, cut in half
· 2 garlic cloves, peeled
· 1 tsp flaky sea salt
Pre-heat your over at 180 Celsius fan.
Put the chicken in a large roasting tin and arrange the potatoes, carrots, red onion around it. set aside. Pour the beer over the chicken and veggies and set aside.
In the blender, add the achiote paste, the tomato, orange juice, cider vinegar, the small onion, the garlic and the salt. Blend until you have a ruby red sauce. Pour the sauce gently over the chicken and letting it run down.
Cook in the preheated oven for 2 hours or until the chicken is well cooked. If your chicken is very big it might need a little longer. Use a thermometer to take the internal temperature if you’re unsure. If it’s 75°c or above it is safe.
When the chicken is done, drain any juices left to use as gravy. Serve this delicious chicken with some warmed corn tortillas and some Mexican rice.
Sugar Wheat Gorditas
· 4 cups cream wheat flour
· 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
· 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
· 1/4 teaspoon table salt
· 3/4 cup caster sugar
· 150 grams Irish butter, cut in cubes and cold
· 1 egg
· 3/4 cup warm milk
Put the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar in a good size mixing bowl and mix them well using a spoon. Follow immediately by adding the cold butter cubes and using your fingers, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mix resembles bread crumbs.
Add the egg and incorporate it well using your fingers. Add the warm milk and knee well until you have a soft, pliable dough, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Heat a non-stick pan or a flat skillet on the hob at medium heat. Don't use any oil or butter, these sugar gorditas are cooked dry. While the pan heats, use your hands again to divide the dough into 24 balls about the size of a golf ball;
take care of digging your fingers in the bottom part of the ball, to make them a little hollow on the bottom; this will help them dry a little and prevent them from sticking to the surface while they're waiting to be cooked.
Roll the dough balls into a circle of about 5 cms in thickness. If the gorditas are too thin they will be crispy and the texture will be wrong. They need to be crisp on the outside and soft in the inside. The gorditas will rise a little bit when they cook but not much, so don't assume they'll rise at all when they're cooking.
Take a gordita and gently place it on the hot pan. Cook it for 40 seconds on that side before turning it with an egg lifter to cook on the other side. Cook the gordita on the second side for about two and a half minutes. Turn it again and cook it for another two minutes approximately to finish it off. Take it out of the heat into a plate. Depending on the size of your pan you can cook several at a time.
They keep well in an air tight container, just make sure that they are cold before storing them. To reheat them, simply place them in a dry, hot pan for a couple of minutes on each side. You will notice the gordita goes hard as it cools down, but they will regain their lovely soft biscuity texture when you reheat them. Eat them hot with a generous layer of butter; They are delicious!