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Mexican food wave

Mexican food undergoes a transformation as Chefs try to make it lighter.

india Updated: May 29, 2011 02:32 IST

A restaurant serving Mexican cuisine has been named among the world’s top 50 eateries. The Pujol joins another restaurant, also in an upscale district of Mexico City, which serves up Basque fusion cuisine that made it onto the list last year.

Since pre-Hispanic times, Mexican dishes have drawn on a wealth of ingredients, including corn, beans, chili peppers, as well as native tomatoes, avocados or cocoa. But top chefs are increasingly mixing up traditional recipes to give them a modern twist.

“People think that Mexican food is heavy, that you have to go on a diet of lettuce three days before you eat it,” said Enrique Olvera, owner of Pujol, which made the S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in April.

Attitudes to Mexican food "have changed a little," said Yuri de Gotari, who opened the small School of Mexican Gastronomy in Mexico City in 2007. Key to great Mexican cooking are fresh ingredients — prickly pear cacti, yellow zucchini flowers, dark red hibiscus flowers and tropical fruit including the endemic mamey. Closer home too, chefs are giving a healthy spin to Mexican dishes. Chef S .N. Malhotra of Omnia restaurant says, "We are creating healthy versions of Mexican dishes by using lots of green vegetables and cutting down on cream.

Mexican cuisine has become popular in the chicken tikka loving capital because we are able to relate to Mexican flavours well. There’s a generous use of garlic and chilies, making the dishes quite spicy,” he says.

Chicken & roasted potato salad

200gm diced chicken
03gm chopped garlic
100 gm roasted potato cut into 1 inch cube
10ml cider vinegar 50 gm diced onion
10ml Olive oil
10gm chopped jalapeno chilies
50gm avocado diced
Salt to taste

Boil 1 quart of water in a medium saucepan. Add chicken, garlic and salt. When the water returns to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low. Skim off the foam that rises during the first few minutes of simmering. Partially cover and simmer until the chicken is fall apart tender. Remove the chicken to a plate; let cool. Mix boiled chicken and potatoes into a medium bowl. Sprinkle vinegar, onion, oil, chilies and salt, mix it nicely Keep it in refrigerator for 15 minutes. Mix the salad with avocado. Let it cool and serve.

Recipe by Chef S. N. Malhotra, Omnia Restaurant

Veg Quesadillas

02 pc flour tortilla 20gm cheddar american cheese 20gm gruyère cheese 20 gm parmesan cheese
40 gm red pepper
40gm green pepper 40 gm yellow pepper
80 gm sliced onion
10 gm jalapenos
70 gm pico di galo
30 gm sour cream
50 gm guacamole
5 gm chopped garlic
5 gm chopped coriander
30 ml oil
30 gm asst. lettuce

Heat oil on a griddle and sauté all the vegetables with garlic, and add seasoning. On the other hand put some olive oil on hot plate and heat tortilla bread and spread cheese and allow it to melt. Place half of the mixture on each half of the tortilla and fold into ‘D’ shape. Make crisp, cut each bread into four triangles and arrange with lettuce on plate as shown in the picture. Garnish with chopped coriander. Serve with sour cream.

Recipe by Chef Subhash Rawat, Jaypee Vasant Continental

First Published: May 28, 2011 18:23 IST