First Mexican Dinner in Zambia
Remember in my first post about food blogging how I said I miss Mexican food? Well, I decided to conquer that feeling by making a whole dinner with Mexican style beans, rice, and tacos!! And it turned out GOOD.
In Ndola, Zambia (and really all of Zambia) I have yet to see or hear of any Mexican Restaurants, food products, or anyone who cooks or really has much experience trying Mexican food. So, I had to get somewhat creative and I made everything from what I already had at home. I will warn you, I was probably cooking off and on for 3 hours on a Sunday afternoon to make this work, but that's partially because I was taking my time and enjoying it. I think it could be done quicker or spaced out if you don't have that much consecutive time on hand.
Spanish/Mexican tomato rice
Sautéd peppers and onions
Disclaimer - I made everything loosely following recipes and mainly just going with my instincts. I'm going to try as best as I can to remember the seasonings and ingredients!
Ingredients: T Oil 2-3 garlic cloves 1/3 onion Beans (dark Zambian beans or pinto) Cumin Paprika Chili powder 1/2 lime or lemon White cheese (optional)
Sauté garlic cloves in oil. (I used 4 and it was fla-vor-FUL!) Smash them once they are golden brown on both sides. Sauté chopped onion, add in the beans! I already had Zambian dark beans cooked, on hand so I used those (no canned beans!) Otherwise, use pinto beans. Let cook over medium for about 5 minutes and then mash them. Feel free to add half a lime fruit juice (I used lemon) and add white cheese to serve (we didn't have any).
Ingredients: 2-3 garlic cloves 1/2 onion 2 tablespoons oil 5 cups plain rice 1 cube (2 cups) chicken broth 3 tomatoes or 1/2 cup tomato sauce 1 chopped tomato Cumin Chili powder Paprika
Sauté minced garlic and minced onion in 1/2 stick butter and 1-2 tablespoons of oil. Add in about 5 cups cooked white rice (if you don't have cooked rice on hand, you can add in uncooked and still follow the recipe). For chicken broth, place 1 cube of chicken flavor in boiling water to melt it, then poor into rice. This is where most people would add tomato sauce... with a cheese grater, grate 3 tomatoes until you have all the juice, it will appear more pink! Discard the skins. Pour in tomato sauce, stir. Chop up 1 tomato and add to rice. Season to taste with cumin, paprika, and chili powder.
I followed the most simple and first recipe I found online! So these amounts are fully accurate, though I had some left over flour.
Ingredients: 2 cups flour Teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons oils 3/4 cup water
Combine ingredients in bowl. Kneed 10-12 times. Let sit for 10 minutes. Cut into 8 parts. Role each part into balls and then roll out the ball into a tortilla. Grill in non stick pan on medium heat. Yields 8 delicious tortillas. I kept them warm in the oven as I made them all. (And of course I made the tortillas last)
The ground beef and veggies were super easy and simple! Just sauté meat alone, add salt, cumin and pepper to taste. Fajita style peppers and onions, we only had one color of pepper, green, so I just sliced up equal amounts of onion and green pepper in strips and sautéd in oil. Yellow, orange and red peppers and/or zucchini would be great vegetable additions.
The homemade refried beans and tortillas really make a difference! The rice also was so different with fresh tomatoes. I would have loved to make my favorite homemade salsa and guacamole and have cheese for toppings... but like I said, I went with what was on hand and really what is already common in Zambian cuisine and just made everything from scratch! Even if you have canned beans and tomatoes sauce and tortillas from the store and it would take half the time... I recommend taking the time when you have it to make it all from the beginning.