There are a lot of flavours in common when it comes to Mexican and Indian cuisine. Yes the extensive use of cumin, coriander, chilli and tomato come to mind but there are some lesser known ones like tamarind that feature regularly in both the cuisines. I was fascinated and looked into this and learnt that when the Spanish colonized Mexico, they introduced flavours like tamarind, sesame through the Moorish / African influence.
For the filling
400 grams paneer, grated
1 x 400 grams tin of black beans, drained, rinsed and mashed lightly
½ large red pepper, finely diced
2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
2-3 green chillies, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ajwain seeds (available in Indian stores)
Salt to taste
For the enchiladas
12 corn tortillas (6 inch)
1 and a half cups of grated cheddar cheese
1 batch of tomato sauce (recipe below)
4-5 tablespoons of spicy green chutney (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
Mix all the ingredients for the filling in a large bowl and set aside.
Halve three of the tortillas.
Spray a 33 x 22cm glass baking dish with a non-stick spray. Spread half a cup of the sauce into the bottom of the dish.
Lay three whole tortillas (overlapping) plus two halves (cut side lined up to the wall of the baking dish). Top this with half the filling and half the sauce. Sprinkle some cheese lightly on top of the sauce. Repeat the layering so that you finish up with the sauce and cheese on top.
Cover with foil and bake in oven for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly on top.
Just before serving, spread the spicy green chutney. Serve immediately. Serves 4 -6.
2 x 400g tin of Italian plum tomatoes
8 -10 dried red chillies, rinsed and soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
200 grams onion, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
1 teaspoon tamarind puree
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon ajwain
Salt to taste
Heat oil in a deep, large saucepan and fry onions and garlic till soft (about five minutes).
Add the tomatoes (break them up with your hands as you add them to the pan) and the soaked chillies along with half a cup of water.
Mix in the tamarind puree, ajwain, salt and sugar. Allow it to come up to the boil and let simmer gently uncovered for half an hour. At the end of the cooking time, the contents of the pot should be thick and jammy. Remove from heat.
Using an immersion blender, blitz to make a smooth sauce.
FOR THE GREEN CHUTNEY
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 cup tightly packed coriander stalk, root and leaves
3-4 green chillies
1 tablespoon tamarind puree
2 teaspoons cumin powder
Salt to taste
Blitz all ingredients for sauce in a food processor. Taste and adjust seasoning.