Tuesday, August 2, 2016


Mexican food has been a favourite at home for many years, with Bojjandi constantly trying to make a 'Tayco' our of every roti he eats, with mixed results. Having had a smorgasbord at Junkyard cafe on Thursday, I was eager to have a foodie weekend. In Bangalore on a recent vacation, I and the kids had eaten at a place called California Burrito, where the food was super-enjoyable. Since A had missed out on it, I decided to recreate the fun at home. The best part is, it's customisable, really easy, delicious and healthy and would be great fun for a party.

I replaced the soft shell tacos with rice, mainly because the neighbourhood grocery store was our of maize flour ( makai ka atta).

Burrito Bowl

Rice/ soft shell tacos
Refried beans
Salsa - any number and kind you like
Sour cream

For adult fun, serve with tequila or margaritas on the side!

Cook approximately 1/4th white rice per person, as the refried beans make it a filling meal. Keep aside for use, hot, just before eating.

Refried beans recipe
Rajma - uncooked and soaked for 6-7 hours, 1 cup
1 medium onion ( about an egg size), chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Chilli powder/ 1-2 green chillies ( hotness level adjusted to what you can handle)
1/2 tbsp oil
Water - approx 1.25 cups
Salt to taste

Put the oil on to heat. When hot ( 30 seconds), add the cumin seeds. Once they puff up, add the garlic and onion and saute until translucent. Then add the tomatoes and cook until soft. Add the bean, water, salt and chillies and let it simmer until the beans are soft and tender - you may need to add a touch more water but the overall consistency should not be watery. It could take about 30-45 minutes. You can also do this in a pressure cooker, cook for 2 whistles.
Once the beans are cooked through, mash them using a masher or a heavy ladle. Ideally don't put them through a mixie as it becomes glutinous in texture. You should have a chunky puree at the end of it; add a tad more water if you like is slightly flowy. Should be the consistency of chunky peanut butter but not as immobile. Check seasoning.

While the beans are soaking, you can make your sour cream and refrigerate. I made a cheat version, inspired by Tarla Dalal.
Fresh cream packet from Amul - 2
Juice of 1/2 - 1 lime
Touch of salt

Mix the three well in a bowl and put away to refrigerate till needed.

While the beans are cooking, get on with your salsas.
Corn salsa
Frozen corn - 2 cups...or you can get 4 roasted bhuttas and slice the pods off
Tomato - 1 large, chopped fine
Juice of 1/2-1 lemon, depending on tartness
Coriander leaves, chopped fine
2 spring onions, chopped fine
Dash of cumin powder
Salt to taste

Mix everything and refrigerate, letting the flavours develop.

Pico de Gallo
2-3 large tomatoes, chopped superfine
1 tomato, pulped/ grated
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2-3 chillies chopped fine, or chilli powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
Handful of coriander leaves, chopped fine
1/2 tbsp tomato ketchup - any brand
Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon, depending on the tartness
Salt to taste

Mix everything, taste for balance and refrigerate till needed

Mango salsa
1 mango, finely cubed
1 mango, pulped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped fine
1 medium onion, chopped fine
Handful coriander leaves, minced
2-3 green chillies, chopped fine
Salt to taste

Mix everything, taste for balance and refrigerate

Guacamole, our favourite
1-2 large avocados, mashed
1 medium tomato, chopped fine
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2-3 green chillies, chopped fine
Handful of coriander leaves, chopped fine
Juice of 1/2 - 1 lemon
Salt to taste

Mix everything together and refrigerate till the flavours develop. Tip - mash the avocados last and then mix quickly so they don't discolour.

Layer a large bowl with hot rice at the bottom, followed by warm refried beans. Top with a handful of lettuce leaves  - cut into ribbons, for once, for ease of maneuverability. Add whichever salsas take your fancy. Top with a dollop of salsa and enjoy!

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