When I think of Mexico, I think of hot chillies, corn, tortillas, beans, tomatoes, avocados, cactus, Mayan empire… When the Spanish conquered Mexico in the 16th century, they added to the culinary evolution and what we have is a cuisine that is as rich and varied as the county itself. Here is my very basic elements to create a vegan burrito bowl. You can add a fajita to this or mix and match in any way you wish.
POT of BEANS
This is so simple but so delicious. Be sure to get good quality dry black beans and when you soak them, they are a deep claret coloured. It is worth the effort to make from scratch and recommend resisting the urge to use tinned ones as the end result with dried black beans is just so much nicer tasting.
Vepudus are fried (but not deep
fried) or stir fried dishes from the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Crisp, fried foods are a basic part of the meal and add a textural element when
served alongside a plain tadka dhal. In Andhra or Telangana, vepudu is made
using vegetables such as okra or small tender brinjals and I have used the same
technique for zucchini.
4 plump zucchini
3 tablespoons chick pea flour
1 tablespoon ground cashew nut
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 clove garlic finely chopped
1 teaspoon chilli powder (mild or
Salt to taste
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
Wash, top and tail the zucchini.
Depending on how big your zucchini is, cut in half or thirds. Put the zucchini
piece upright on your cutting board and make a slit of about 3 centimetres down
towards the centre. Do the same on the other side but in the opposite direction
to the top end slit. So if you do one left to right, then make the other one
north to south so if the slits were to meet they would make quarters of the
piece of zucchini. However you do not want them in quarters and do not want the
slits to meet.
In a bowl mix the chick pea
flour, ground cashew nut, cumin seeds, garlic, chilli powder and salt. Add a
couple of teaspoons of oil and mix with your fingers. It should look like bread
crumbs. Use your fingers to stuff the zucchini pieces with the chick pea flour
mix in the slits being careful not to break the piece in half. If there is any
leftover mix, reserve this to sprinkle on top of the fried zucchini in the end.
Heat a heavy based fry pan and
add the remaining oil. When hot enough add all the zucchini pieces and set your
pan on high heat. Cover with a lid for 3 to 4 minutes. Using two spoons or
tongs gently turn them over and reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook for a
further 3 -4 minutes. Remove lid, reduce heat to low sprinkle a tablespoon of
water and let cook until everything is evenly roasted. About 12-15 minutes.
Serve hot as a side dish to your Indian meal.