It was almost 6 years back in Bangalore, when I was first introduced to the Mexican cuisine, a cuisine which I later found to be so much in sync with the Indian taste, except the cheese part. It was in Bombay Blue, (not sure they are still in the business) a upmarket restaurant operating from Bangalore central mall on Mayo hall road, adjoining the noodle bar, where I get to taste this heavenly dish called enchilada, which I ordered on a whim. Burritos and quesadillas, makes sense to me but enchilada…had no idea..and the name too sounds to me cheeky then. Soft tortillas wrapped around the chicken and some vegetables, dunked in tomato cheesy salsa and served along with refried beans and some creamy cheese dip, which I later come to know it as sour cream dip. It was one heavenly dish and the taste, the flavour, the whole experience still lingers in my memory. It was the dish to die for…
Few years later, when Chilis opened its door, that too on old airport road, Bangalore, I was super excited, it was like something that you have longed for, some kind of dream, knocking right at your door. Initially Chilis got a lukewarm response form Bangaloreans, but it soon strike a chord with many after they slightly change their menu to adapt the Indian taste, chicken tikkas find their ways in fajitas and they introduced more options in vegetarian section.
I still remember when we first went to Chilis, just after 2-3 months of their opening, hardly any tables were occupied and that too on weekend nights ! But their warm welcome (they still greets their guest with a warm smile and their friendly attitude becomes their trademark) and nice chit chat makes us comfortable and … no..I again did that..I ordered enchilada without even glancing at their menu.. !!! “no, ma’m we dont serve that ” and more stupid question follows…”why ? its a Mexican restaurant and you dont serve enchilada..how can you do that”?
It was like some dream that shattered into thousands of pieces and I was fuming inside…”how can they do that?” The person at the table probably had sensed my displeasure, but very politely has asked me to go through the entire menu and in the meanwhile he went to fetch some drink for me..the one that he suggested.
OMG..it was a blue margarita in a sterotypical margarita glass with a big hibiscus flower..the cocktail was superb with lots of fresh fruity flavours and flowery scent..ooh ..la..la..it literally transformed me to the tropical sun kissed beaches…and that sets my mood for a Mexican night !
Later, we ordered a full plate of classic nachos (the best I had so far), every bite was bubbling with cheese, followed by scrumptious chicken quesadilla served along with rice and re-fried beans, salsa and sour cream dip, and vegetable tacos. It was one heavenly experience for us, food was extremely good, satiating to the core, ambience was good, service was too courteous, little pricey (dinner for two cost us 1200 INR) but the quality and quantity makes up for it and yes, they dont serve enchilada but for a taste of mexico, Chilis is the best.
And that means we will be frequenting this place more and we did. Though we hadn’t tried their Indianised entree but for a true and perfect bite of Mexican cuisine, you can rely on their nachos, quesadillas, fajitas (all the variations) including the sizzling one and off course margaritas.. you will find yourselves dancing to the rhythm of salsa. Read this review on Zomato - the leading portal for restaurant guides.
Salsa also reminds me of the wonderful sauce which is the core of any enchilada dish and in Mexican cuisine for that matter. You can prepare your own salsa recipe, but do not forget the jalapeno peppers which actually brings the flavour as well as the heat to the sauce or you can enhance the flavour of any store bought salsa. Enchilada is one versatile dish and very accomodative kind of, you can literally stuffed it with anything you are in mood for and it will never fails to amuse you, it will surprise you in every bite you take.
For filling : (you can stuff the tortillas with plain cheese or vegetables or beans or chickens or beefs anything)
I have used canned refried beans for it and they goes extremely well with the enchillada
For salsa : you can make your own, I have used a store bought thick and chunky salsa
Tortillas : 4 ; make your own corn tortillas or use the readymade, follow the package instructions and you will be all set.
Sour cream dip
For enchilada sauce:
Salsa : 1 cup
Crushed tomatoes (canned) : 1 cup tomatoes are usually fire roasted and that gives a hint of smoky flavour
Onion (chopped) : 1 medium
Garlic (minced) : 1 tbsp
Tomato paste / sauce : 1 tbsp
Cumin powder : 1 tsp
Salt and crushed black pepper to taste
Olive oil : 1 tbsp
Monetary jack or cheddar cheese or any yellow cheese (grated / shredded) : 1 cup
Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the minced garlic, let it fry for couple of minutes and add the chopped onion, fry for couple of minutes till the onion becomes translucent.
Lower the heat, and add the salsa, tomato paste and crushed canned tomatoes, mix them well, if requires add little water. Add some sugar if it taste too vinegary and season it with cumin powder, salt (check before adding) and crushed black pepper powder. Mix them well till they reached a thick sauce consistence.
Prepared the tortillas as per the packaged instructions.
Preheat the oven to 350 degree F.
Assembling the enchiladas:
Grease a 2 qt or 3 qt baking dish or a large casserole pan.
Take a tortilla in a separate plate and sprinkle lightly some cheese over it and filled it with the refried beans. Roll up the tortilla like a burrito and place it in the greased baking dish. Repeat it with the rest of the tortillas and arranged them neatly on a baking dish.
Pour the enchilada sauce over the tortillas, make sure it covers all, if requires add little water to dilute the sauce.
Spread a generous amount of shredded cheese over the enchilada sauce, and place the casserole in the oven.
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until the cheese melts.
Serve the warm enchiladas with a sour cream dip or guacamole.
Have a great weekend
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