I live in the United Kingdom and to be brutally honest, their food is not the best. They tend to lack the flavour that South Americans are used to. Most of the meals I tasted after moving to the country have been a bit bland to the taste. Even though I’ve been living here for almost 11 years, I still call my mum often asking her for recipes and food substitutes. Sometimes, finding the exact ingredients is a challenge.
But when it comes to cooking, you want to make sure it’s a party to your taste buds!! I often cook enchiladas for my friends, a very Latin American dish, full of flavour that you can’t help but smile, let alone the aroma that emanates out of the kitchen as you are cooking it.
If you want to experiment with new dishes and surprise your other half, friends or if you are just a person that enjoys good food like myself, I absolutely recommend that you cook Enchiladas.
Enchiladas as Latin American food
Today I will ask my special chef to join me in making enchiladas, my 9-year-old daughter Anika. Even though she was born here in the UK, she enjoys the flavoursome Latin American food.
If you want to get into the perfect mindset to cook Latin American food, I would recommend putting on some Latin American music in the background. I normally use Spotify and search for ‘Merengue-Mania’ and just shuffle to some good music whilst you cook. Merengue is a type of music and dance originating in the Dominican Republic, which has become a very popular genre throughout Latin America.
Enchilada filling recipe
So to cook the filling for 8 enchiladas you will need:
- 4 diced chicken breast fillets
- Diced smoked Ham
- Mozzarella cheese
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 medium size onion
- Green, Red and Yellow peppers
- 3 Chopped tomatoes
- Tomato Paste
- Vegetable Oil
- Laurel Leaf
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- Flour tortillas wraps
I usually cook 8 or more when I have friends over, but if you’re cooking for one or two adjust the measurements accordingly. Another thing, when I cook, I just go with it. There aren’t any fixed measurements to the ingredients. Just throw in everything and keep adding more till it tastes just perfect. We cook the centre and simmer the sauce at the same time. But let me tell you the recipe for the filling first.
Let’s begin! Chop the garlic and the onion and get them into a fry pan with just a dash of vegetable oil. Stir for 2 minutes and then add the diced chicken and ham with a teaspoon of honey until looking nicely golden. Then add a pinch of thyme, pepper and a couple of laurel leaves.
My little angel helps me by cutting the tomatoes. She’s shaped them into a heart this time. Lovely, innit? Next add in the mushrooms and chopped tomatoes and stir for 2 minutes, followed by tomato paste to give it some colour. Then add the chopped green, red or yellow peppers followed by some coriander to taste, and a bit of mozzarella cheese.
To make the sauce you will need:
- 4 tomatoes
- 3 garlic cloves
- Half onion
- Laurel Leaf
- A pinch of Sugar
- Half a carrot
- Half a red pepper
In a saucepan with about 300 mls of water, boil the tomatoes, onion, garlic, red pepper, carrot and laurel leaves for 15 minutes. Then take out the laurel leaves, run the sauce through a blender, and it’s back to the saucepan for another 20 minutes on a low heat, with a pinch of salt, pepper, and sugar. Sugar takes care of the sweet tooth and also sugar kills the acidity of the tomatoes.
Soften the tortilla wraps by heating in the microwave for 30 seconds. Butter a baking tray and keep it ready. Then wrap the enchilada filling inside the tortillas, roll them and place in the tray.
Cover the tortillas with the tomato sauce and the rest of the mozzarella cheese. Every inch, cover every inch of the tortillas. Make it saucy and cheesy. Put it in the oven until the cheese is all melted and looking nicely golden.
That’s about it. But wait, you truly cannot cook Latin American food without some tortilla nachos, Guacamole and a nice spicy Salsa. Tortilla nachos are easily available anywhere and a good snack to munch on while cooking.
Now on to the Guacamole. You will need:
- 4 or 5 ready to eat avocados
- Half a finely chopped onion (the other half of the onion that didn’t go into the sauce)
- Finely chopped coriander
- 1 finely chopped tomato
- 2 juicy lemons
Mash the avocados and add the fined chopped onions, tomatoes and coriander. Add a pinch of salt and squeeze the 2 juicy lemons and stir until the paste is perfectly mixed.
Spicy Salsa Recipe
To make the Spicy Salsa you will need:
- 4 chopped tomatoes
- 2 chopped onions
- Fined chopped coriander
- 6 juicy lemons
- 30 ml of water
- Green and red spicy chilly
Now this is pretty easy. All you have to do is chop the tomatoes, onions, coriander, and green and red chillies. Squeeze in the lemons, 30 ml of water and add salt to taste.
You’re done. Your Latin American enchiladas are ready. Yatusabes! My daughter and I are delighted with our cooking, as are our guests. Set the table, light the candles, stop the dancing for a bit and enjoy!!
Sara, a Guatemalan by birth, has made the United Kingdom her home for the last 11 years. She loves her new country, but sometimes misses the spiciness of Guatemalan home cooking. She loves cooking spicy food for friends, especially her to-die-for enchiladas, the recipe of which we’ve asked her to give us in this blog.