World Cuisine (Mexico) : Chicken Enchiladas with Red Mole
Life is not painted in black and white, it celebrates the fusion of different hues. May be that is the reason we enjoy creations which embrace this spirit, be it fashion, art or food. And Mexican cuisine distinctly embodies this phenomenon. It is the unique combination of Mesoamerican and Spanish influences. If you ask me to name my favourite cuisines around the world, Mexican would most definitely make it to the top five. Being an Indian, I can personally relate to Mexican food because of its spicy flavour profile. I can never be bored with all the variety that it has to offer in the form of tacos, guacamole, pico de gallo, enchiladas, nachos, mole and so on. And that made it difficult for me to choose from when it came to cooking.
Finally, I decided to go with enchiladas. Enchiladas are corn tortillas (Mexican flatbread) rolled around a filling. For the filling I made chicken in red mole. Mole is the common name for a range of sauces used in Mexican cooking. There are regional variations to the recipe. Some of the traditional ones even use four to five varieties of authentic Mexican chili peppers and up to twenty other ingredients, making it quite complex. But, as always, I devised my own version with minimal and handy ingredients and yet managed to develop the flavours pretty well. The success of the recipe is a happy feeling because now I could satify my cravings whenever I feel like.
Chicken Enchiladas with Red Mole
Chicken (boneless): 1 lb/ 500 gms
Tomatoes (diced): 1 cup
Onions (diced): 1 cup
Garlic (chopped): 4 to 5 cloves
Almonds (blanched): 1/2 cup
Raisins: 1/4 cup
Dry red chilli: 5
Cumin powder: 2 tsp
Dried oregano: 1 tbsp
Cinnamon powder: 1 1/2 tsp
Dark chocolate: 40 gms/ 1.5 oz
Tortillas/Flour chapatis: 5
Oil: 1 1/2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Fresh coriander leaves and Slices of lime for garnishing
Soak the dry red chillies in hot water for about fifteen minutes.
Add water (about 3 cups) and chicken in a pan and boil. Take out the chicken when cooked and save the liquid. When the chicken is cold enough to handle, shred it with your hands or with the help of forks.
Heat oil in a pan. Saute the onions, garlic and tomatoes till the onions are soft. Add half of the raisins and blanched almonds (save a few for garnishing) and cook for a couple of minutes.
Transfer everything from the pan into a mixer or a blender. Add the soaked dry red chillies and a little of the chicken poaching liquid and blend until smooth.
Transfer the mixture back into the pan. Add the cumin powder, cinnamon powder, dried oregano, salt and cook for a couple of minutes.
Then add the rest of the poaching liquid and bring the sauce to a boil.
Finally, add in the shredded chicken and the dark chocolate and let it simmer for ten minutes or until the sauce is thick. Keep stirring in between.
Distribute the sauce over the tortillas or flour chapatis. Sprinkle some chopped almonds and raisins on it and squeeze some lime juice to add a little tang.
Roll the tortillas and serve them garnishing with fresh coriander leaves and lime slices.
Photographs by Swakshar Ghosh