My Enchilada Adventures

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Dearest Sultana,

In NZ, we don’t really get exposed to much Mexican food. I mean I often buy the Old El Paso kits and since I don’t know any better, they’re pretty good for me. Last few years though, it seems like there has been an emergence of Mexican culture and foods. One I have gone to quite often is Mexico nearby Britomart (they have a few more branches now), I don’t know if it’s authentic but to uneducated me, it seemed authentic enough and really good. The menu keeps changing and there is always something new and interesting to try. The ingredients are really fresh and the herbs and spices aromatic and memorable. In a way, it is like Indonesian food where the spices are strong and flavoursome too. Unfortunately the prices are a bit more than what I can afford on a regular basis, so it’s reserved for special date lunches with my sisters only.

So when I came across a recipe for homemade chicken enchiladas by Comfort Cooking Aboard, I was very interested to try it. The recipe didn’t seem too difficult, but it did call for dried chiles, which I have never even heard about before.

So when I asked her if it could be replaced with something else, she very kindly looked up some NZ websites that supplied Mexican food. (This is a little embarassing, why didn’t I think about that!)

One of those places is “Mexican Specialities” it seemed this place had what I was looking for. I also found out that they have cooked food every Thursday to Saturday. This was perfect! I get to buy my dried Chile and eat some authentic Mexican food at the same time.

So that’s where I went for lunch yesterday, the place is on the other side of Auckland, rather unfamiliar to me and I got a little.

The shop was unremarkable, it looked like it was there to do the business of selling their goods and food and decorating the place is only an afterthought. I like these kind of places. They feel cozy and honest.

When I went in the shop, the queue was five people deep, by the time I placed my order, the queue was snaking out the entrance. It seems like the place has generated word of mouth kind of buzz.

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Those empty seats were quickly occupied

The place was quite small and packed. Most of the shelves in the shop were dedicated to Chiles. I thought Indonesians were serious about chilli, but the Mexicans have taken it to a whole new level. But then chilli originated from South America, so I guess it’s to be expected.

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I ordered myself a Soft Beef Taco. A bit boring I guess, but I had no idea what to order, a lot of things on their menu I have never heard of before and I heard a guy behind me say that’s his favourite dish.

Sorry, you can't really see much in the picture

Sorry, you can’t really see much in the picture

It did not disappoint. The beef was good beef, tender and full of it’s own goodness and it had some whole cooked cherry tomatoes and avocado in it. It was simple but you could taste the quality of the ingredients. I’m definitely coming back here with my sister, my partner in crime when it comes to trying out new food. Next time I’ll be trying something with a name I can’t pronounce.

Of course I also bought the dried Chile that I came here for. If you’re reading this, Comfort Cooking Abroad, is this correct? It feels like the flesh is not very thick, and your recipe asked for the insides to be scraped for the sauce. Maybe it will expand once I soak it in water. In any case, I shall put up another post when I’ve cooked my homemade enchiladas.

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8 responses »

  1. Lol. Yeah, the chiles don’t seem like much when they’re dried and don’t really expand much, but the flesh you’ll get is powerful. Be careful of how many you use though. And be careful to wash your hands after you touch them. I’m so excited to hear how you adventure turns out.

  2. The dried chili peppers do look like them common dried chili we got here, except that the ones in your photo are really dark. How spicy are they?

  3. I loooooooooooooove Mexican food. Now you should try and make Gumbo for you and your sister, if you haven’t already tried it. Come to think of it, I don’t have a clue whether or not other countries make Gumbo. Only the southern states in America really do. Living up north, I wouldn’t have even tried it if it wasn’t for my dad’s now ex girlfriend who was from New Orleans and used to make it for us.

      • It can be made with any meat or any mix of meat. I only eat seafood now but before I used to like it with shrimp and sausage. Now I just make it with shrimp and or Tofurky, so I don’t know if you’d want my version. Haha. Then again mine was just adapted from the best rated ones I found on Food.com My dad’s girlfriend used to make it with sausage and chicken. The broth of her’s was also green where mine is a dark brown. I can’t seem to find the ingredient she used to make it green though in any store I look.

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