Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Taco Dinner - Black Bean Spinach stuffed Tacos with Cilantro Lime Rice

I love Mexican food and this is one type of cuisine I instantly fell in love with when I first came to the US. Mexican cuisine is very close to Indian cooking what with the use of multiple spices and beans. This was the only food I could identify with then and could really enjoy. But over the years my taste buds have certainly evolved with exposure to so many different cuisines. In the past 10 years I have come to love my pastas, burgers/veggie patties, pitas/falafels yet my love for Mexican cuisine remains unchanged. I do like eating out at Mexican restaurants but more often than not the dishes come loaded with cheese which I actually find off putting. Fortunately cooking Mexican food at home is pretty simple and I love the fact that I can control the ingredients that go into it. I try to strike a good balance between using enough beans and vegetables with just enough cheese/sour cream to make a perfect Mexican dinner that suits our tastes.

I made corn tortilla from scratch and having a tortilla maker makes it very easy to roll out the tortillas. But if you dont have a tortilla maker, the dough can be rolled between two pieces of parchment. Feel free to use store bought ones if you are pressed for time (hard or soft shell tacos will work fine). This recipe is more of a method than a strict recipe you need to follow. Any kind of beans and greens can be used and you can vary the fixings (Salsa, sour cream, avocado etc) as you like. I have used chilli sauce that my cousin got for us from Mexico and I must say they were awesome and SPICY. I used green hot sauce and red hot sauce in place where I would normally use jalapenos.
Cilantro-Lime Rice -I normally dont make rice when I can get away with just tortillas but I wanted to try this cilantro lime rice that we had in one of the Mexican restaurants on our trip to Phoenix (the restaurant is Abuelos, in Chandler, AZ). This is a very simple rice to make, nothing too complicated with just 3 ingredients or so.Its a breeze to prepare and it makes this a complete Mexican dinner like the one you would eat if ordering in a restaurant!!

Corn Tortilla
11/2 cups Masa Harina (I used P.A.N pre-cooked white corn meal, available in the international section of most grocery stores)
11/2 - 2 cups warm water (or as needed)
Salt to taste

2 cups cooked black bean (can or fresh)
1 cup spinach, Kale or Swiss Chard, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp roasted cumin powder
1/2 tsp Mexican hot sauce or chopped jalapeno
Salt to taste
Garnish - Finely chopped tomatoes, onions (or salsa), avocado, cilantro, sour cream

  1. Mix masa harina and salt in a large bowl. Add one cup warm water and mix it well into the dough. Add more water as necessary to form a soft dough. 
  2. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 10 min.
  3. Pinch a lemon sized ball from the dough and roll it into a ball. Repeat with rest of the dough. 
  4. Line the two discs of the tortilla maker with plastic wrap. Place a lemon sized ball of the dough in the lower disc of the tortilla maker. Press the upper disc to form a flat round tortilla. 
  5. Heat a cast iron or a non-stick griddle on a medium flame. When the griddle is hot place the shaped tortilla on the griddle. Let it cook just until the bottom gets brown spots. Flip it over to cook the other side.
  6. Remove it on to a aluminum foil to keep it warm. 
  7. Repeat with the rest of the dough. 
  1. Heat oil in saute pan, add garlic, jalapeno (if using) and cut greens. Saute for a few minutes until the greens wilt. Cook a little longer if you like the greens to be soft. Add cumin powder, hot sauce and salt. Stir well.
  2. Mash half the quantity of the cooked black bean. Add this to the above mixture. Add about 1/4 cup water, lower the heat and close the pan. Let this cook for a minute or two until the spices sink into the beans and the greens. 
  3. Now add rest of the beans. Stir and cook for a few more minutes on a medium low flame. 
Take a corn tortilla, fill it with 2 -3 tbsp of the beans/greens mixture. Top it with any or all of the condiments listed under garnish. Serve with cilantro lime rice.

Cilantro-Lime Rice
  1. Cook 1 cup long grained rice (like Basmati) with 2 cups of water and 1/2 tsp salt. ( I used a microwave rice cooker but feel free to use any method you would normally cook rice). Set aside for 5 min or so, until the steam settles down. 
  2. Fluff the rice with a fork and transfer it into a shallow dish. Pour 2 tsp oil (canola, vegetable oil or light olive oil) over the rice, add 1 tbsp of finely chopped cilantro and juice from 1 lime. Stir to combine and take care not to break the rice grains. Taste and adjust salt and add more lime juice if need be. Serve as a side to tacos, burritos, fajitas etc.
Enjoy !!


simply.food said...

What a wonderful feast.

Priya said...

Omg, makes me hungry,incredible tacos and flavourful rice.

jumpnk kid said...

sounds tasty and looks yummy....

Jay said...

this looks so lovely & awesome..;)
Tasty Appetite