Vida means life in Spanish and that’s what we felt when we entered there, lively, inviting atmosphere and warm hospitality and they claims themselves to be evolved Mexican cuisine. In most of the places I had been to, Mexican cuisines are either Indianised (as in India) or Americanized (as in US) but Vida is very different. But that’s not what attracts to me, Vida charmed me with its handcrafted guacamole. I had avocado before but I fail to appreciate it, even the guacamole which I had from stores fails to impress me, but this one made me fell in love. I never thought I would come to like something so bland as avocado, and this guacamole impressed me to the core.
The charm of Vida does not ends there, it has more to offer and we soon discovered it until our next course arrived. We had one crab and shrimp enchilada in creamy pablano and tomatillo sauce and I must say enchilada never tasted so good before. The real surprise was the pablano tamatillo sauce, creamy, slightly tangy with undertones of heat, it made the enchilada more delicious. We even ordered a burritos (well how can we escape burittos ) we opted for a fried one and comes stuffed with chicken and raja in blackened tomato salsa. It was very filling and may be for that reason we did not enjoy it much as the enchilada. My eternal favourite dish , and if you ask me about Mexican cuisine I will tell you only and only about enchilada !
The story of Vida does not ends there, for the agave aficionado they have special tequila drinks, in-house special, but we sampled only Margarita, more like my kind of drink, though the mojito also looks very tempting, and I make it a point to sample tequila in my next trip to Charlotte. Yes, Vida is in Charlotte some 2 hr drive from Rayleigh (NC) and we travelled all the way to taste the authentic Mexican cuisine.
Inspired from our fabulous dining experience at Vida, we decided to try some mexican dish at home, chicken enchilada would be a perfect choice but wait this time I decided to go strictly by book. Just like the sliced chickens defines the South Asian cuisine, so as the shredded chicken defines the Mexican style. And we also added the chipotle in adobo sauce for a more pronounced flavour. I decided to make the enchilada sauce from scratch, mine was little chunky but that suits us perfectly.
Abundance of cheese in Mexican cuisine is perhaps gifted by America but then who complains ! Since I could not lay may hands on Queso Blanco so I decided to go with some sharp cheddar blended with monetary jack cheese, and we were all set for a Mexican spread (includes beer battered fish tacos, cabbage jicama apple slaw and Spanish rice with black beans and some homemade salsa, all cooked by my dear SIL on her visit to NC), shall we say ¡Buen apetito!
Recipe: Chicken enchilada with chipotle flavour
Summary: Shredded chicken were first simmered in a tomato sauce flavoured with chipotle and then stuffed inside soft tortillas with a sharp cheddar and monterey jack cheese spread
- Chicken breast : 1.5 lb (400 g approx)
- Tomato sauce mildly spiced with green chillies (any Mexican brand) : 1 can
- Red onions : 1 very large
- Garlic : 1 large
- Chipotle in adobo sauce : 1 can
- Jalapeno : 3-4
- Green pepper (capsicum) : 1 large
- Corn / flour tortilla : 4-6 as required
- Mexican cheese blend or sharp cheddar + monterey jack cheese : 1 pack each
- Olive oil : 3 tbsp
- Paprika : 1 tbsp
- Oregano (dried) : 3-4 tsp
- Cumin powder : 1 tbsp
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cilantro : 1 bunch
Shredded chicken stuffing :
- First poached the chicken in water for 10-15 minutes until the chicken is succulent, cooked thoroughly and ready for shredding.
- Let it cool slightly and shred the chicken with the help of fork, keep aside.
- Chopped the onions, capsicum and jalapeno to small cubes and minced the garlic.
- Heat some oil in a pan and add half of the onions. Fry them for few minutes but do not brown the onions.
- Add capsicum and half each of garlic, jalapeno and fry for few more minutes until they soften.
- Cut the chipotle (3-4) into small pieces and add it to the pan along with some adobo sauce.
- Fry for few more minutes and add the Mexican tomato sauce (1 1/2 cup), mix it well, add some water and let the sauce simmered for around 10 minutes.
- Add the cumin powder, paprika and check the salt and pepper.
- Add the shredded chicken and cover the pan, cook on low heat for 5 minutes until it thickens.
- Stir handful of the cheese and chopped cilantro and keep the stuffing aside.
Enchilada sauce :
- In a separate pan heat some oil and add the remaining onions and garlic, fry for few minutes.
- Add the remaining jalapeno and add 1 cup Mexican tomato sauce, stir it well.
- Add some chopped chipotle with adobo sauce and saute for few more minutes.
- Add the cumin powder, paprika, check for salt and pepper .
- Add 1 cup water and simmer the sauce for few minutes till it thickens slightly.
- Add some chopped cilantro too.
Assemble the enchilada :
- Prepare the tortillas as per the package instructions.
- Grease a 2 qt or 3 qt baking dish or a large casserole pan.
- Take a tortilla, dip it in the enchilada sauce in a separate plate and sprinkle lightly some cheese over it and filled it with the shredded chicken stuffing.
- 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 -15 minutes until the cheese melts.
- Serve the warm chicken enchilada with sour cream dip flavoured with adobo sauce.
Notes : Dipping the tortillas in sauce makes them soft, just melt in mouth kinda.
The left over shredded chicken will make a perfect sandwiches or just mix it with rice and enjoy it as chicken fried rice.
Preparation time: 30 minute(s)
Cooking time: 1 hour(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
Culinary tradition: Mexican
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