>OK you will know the answer to this: What ingredients & where to buy Mexican stuff? I'm no cook, and Mexican food is all new to my wife. She likes it, and we've taken a stab at trying to prepare it. But we are missing the chile powder or salsa, or whatever it is that needs to go in it.<
Sorry, but I have not figured out how to quote a message from one topic to another... But there is what you asked me...
So, Marvin... you are interested in Tex-Mex cooking?
I think I can also do true Mexican cooking, (or close to it) but most people prefer the Tex-Mex version - much more flavour for westerners...
Mexican cooking is actually not very difficult. L absolutely loves my burritos and claims them to be her favourite food... But adobo? pancit? kinilow? RICE? I am not going there now...
Most ingredients are available in most stores. I noted where I find some of the more esoteric items in my list of ingredients...
So here you go. You will need these ingredients for burritos. Most quantities can be modified to taste and appetite:
.75 kg. - lean ground beef, cooked, shredded chicken (I prefer breast meat), cooked, shredded pork, cooked, shredded bariles (or any cooked, shredded fish you like). L prefers the ground beef and it is easiest to work with.
1 - large yellow (or white) onion - chopped coarsely
5-8 more or less - garlic cloves - crushed then minced not finely, just smaller than shopped more if you like garlic, less if you don't...
The bell peppers below do not have to be included or can be included in any quantity you prefer - up to availability and your taste:
1/2 - green bell pepper - chopped sort of coarsely
1/2 - red bell pepper - chopped sort of coarsely
1/2 - yellow bell pepper - chopped sort of coarsely
Cheddar cheese - grated - I use a lot. Parmesan or Roma are even better cheeses, but a bit pricey for many here - including me. So, the sharper the cheese, the better - in my opinion. Mexican cheese, as I remember, was close to Parmesan in sharpness and flavour - but that's 30 years ago...
Lettuce - shredded - a bunch
Tomatoes - several chopped coarsely depending on number of burritos.
Salsa - I find several Mexican salsas available here in Davao at Gaisano - La Victoria, Pace and sometimes others. Find the heat you want - mild or medium is all I see there...they don't seem to carry hot.
Refried beans - one can. Again, Gaisano here in Davao carries Rosarita, Old El Paso and some others, depending on when I go there. "Traditional" version tastes best to me and has the best consistency.
Cumin powder - L is not so fond of this, and not all Mexicans use it...but I love it...so experiment and see if it will fly. It is also commonly used in many Indian curries. So try it and see... Gaisano carries it here.
Cilantro leaves - chopped a bit - so very hard to find most of the time. But Gaisano tends to carry them. It is a very aromatic herb that some hate and L and I love. It is also used in some curries. To me, it really makes Mexican foods taste and smell fresh... Try it if you can find it and give it a try? For us, the more, the better!
Chili powder - I don't use it in my burritos, but you can try it if you like spicy or prefer the chili powder flavour...
Chipotle version of Tabasco - to taste
Sour cream - to taste
Salt - to taste
Pepper - to taste
Flour Tortillas - I am attaching a photo of the package of some that are very nice, but all you need to find is flour (not whole wheat) tortillas. I find these at SM in the freeze section, but they are not always available. I snatch up two or three packages whenever I see them...
1. I start by chopping up the onion, garlic, peppers
2. It's a good idea to also wash and shred the lettuce up front and also wash the tomatoes and chop them too.
3. Grate a bunch of cheese too while you are preparing.
4. Have your salsa, sour cream, Tabasco available too.
5. Open a can of the refried beans and dump that into a small cooking pot. Sprinkle on some cumin powder (if you wish) cover and place on the lowest heat. Monitor it often so it just gets hot without burning. Sir often.. Once it is sort of bubbling hot, then turn off the fire, and let it sit.
Heat your large frying pan and before cooking the meat filling, take your tortillas, one at a time and and place them in the pan to heat. Watch them carefully because they can easily burn. You want to see each one expand and bubble up from the bottom. It should get browned somewhat - then flip and repeat on the other side. Depending on the heat, maybe only 1-2 minutes on each side. After each one is ready, place on a plate and cover with a paper towel and a "tea towel" or other cloth to preserve heat. I stack all the serving plates under this plate so they all get a bit of pre-heat.
Repeat and heat however many tortillas you may want to make - usually the one's pictured are good for two per person - 3 if they are super hungry. Just keep stacking them on that plate...
6. Heat your sauce-pan and dump in the ground beef. (If you will use already-cooked other meats, then put them in later, when I suggest). Fry until browned, then drain off the excess fat and any water/blood.
7. Best to remove the cooked meat to another plate or bowl.
8. Heat a small amount of olive (preferably) or other oil in the big frying pan, then put in the onions.
9. Fry, stirring, at a medium-low heat for a few minutes, then add in the garlic.
10. Very soon after (a few minutes only), add the chopped chili peppers (capsicum) and then whatever cooked meat you will be using. Season with a fair amount of salt and pepper (it can take a lot) and cumin powder - if okay with everyone.
11. Stir fry for only a few minutes so you don't really cook the peppers but leave them aldente - a bit crispy - not everyone will like that...warning! If you like and find cilantro leaves, add them in right at the end of this cooking and stir them in lightly.
12. When you reckon it's done, cut the heat on everything and now the fun begins!!!
13. Take a tortilla and put it on a plate. Then take some of the hot refried beans and spread that in a line on the center of the tortilla - about three tablespoons will do it.
14. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the grated cheese right onto the beans so it will melt a bit.
15. Put several tablespoons of the cooked meat mixture on top of the bean/cheese combo. Don't get too crazy or you get a much-too-big burrito!
16. Ladle on some of the bottled salsa - 2-3 tablespoons should do.
17. Squirt on as much of the Chipotle Tabasco as you think you can manage. Also add any other hot chili sauce you might prefer like Srirachi or habanero - this is the time! You can also add sliced jalapeno if you like - wonderful taste but too hot for some people. You can find that in jars in many grocery stores...
18. Place several chunks of the chopped tomato on one side or the other - as it fits.
19. Add shredded lettuce on top or one side or the other.
20. Spoon on some sour cream and drizzle along the top - see my photo from yesterday!
21. Fold up the bottom (you have to decide which end seems less likely to leak) then one side and then the other, into a sort of roll...
Eat! Good luck, they almost always make a mess when we eat them because we always make them too big. But they taste great and we just mop up the dribs with our fingers anyway.
They go really great with beer or red wine.
Note: this is just my way of making Tex-Mex burritos and I know there are many other versions out there that are probably better than mine. So feel free to alter, criticize, amend, improve (highly possible!) what I posted here. Now, you realize that I have to kill you all!!!(kidding, kidding...)