Scrumptious mexican meal

The Asian Age.

Authentic mexican recipes from the southern state, and pit cooking go back in time. Chef Vikas Seth takes you on a culinary feast of both.



Mexican pit cooking eventually came to be known as Barbacoa! But it is not limited to just the creation of a pit over green apple wood which makes Barbacoa unique, it’s the whole process. For instance, in the Lamb Barbacoa, meat is marinated with exotic spices and then barbequed before being served with special salsas de barbacoa infused with beer or tequila. Traditional Mexican Barbacoa cooking is a mix of both pit-smoking and steaming. The technique though is said to have originated in West Indies, where it was used to grill meat, poultry, and seafood over wood or charcoal. It was the Mexicans who added the steaming twist to keep the meat tender, rich in flavour and aromatic. It is commonly believed that the West Indies native Taino people first used green, fire-resistant bearded fig branches for cooking. They marinated foods in tropical herbs and spices to enhance natural flavours and preserve them after cooking. The Tainos called their preparations barabicu, or sacred firepit, which over time came to be known as “barbeque.”

In this recipe, the meat is slow-cooked for eight hours wrapped in a banana leaf with guajillo chillies and then pulled. The pulled lamb meat is topped with chopped onions and dressed with the juice of a lime. This is served with the usual fare of refried beans, Mexican red rice and mini corn tortillas.

Portions 4, preparation time 30 minutes, cooking time six hours

Lamb chunks (boneless) 400 gm
Guajillo Chilli base* 120 gm
Chipotle in adobo sauce 1 tbsp
Oil 1 tbsp
Tomato puree 3 tbsp
Mexican Oregano ½ tsp
A pinch of cinnamon powder
Salt to taste
Beer(optional) 165 ml (half a bottle)
Banana leaf 1 piece

Onion (chopped) 2 tbsp
Cilantro (chopped) 2 tbsp
Lemon juice 2 tsp

Mini Corn Tortillas 6 pieces        
Red Mexican rice 100 gm
Refried beans 60 gm

In a pan, heat half oil and sear lamb chunks with a little sprinkle of salt.
Transfer to a mixing bowl and add in guajillo base, chipotle in adobo sauce, tomato puree, Mexican oregano, cinnamon powder, salt and beer. Mix well.
Transfer onto a baking dish and cover it with a piece of banana.
Bake it in a slow oven for six hours at 125 C, by that time, the lamb becomes super soft in texture and tasteful with a subtle guajillo chili flavour.
Coarsely shred lamb and keep it warm in a baking dish.
Plate it topped with chopped onion, cilantro and a squeeze of lemon. Serve along with Mexican rice, corn tortillas and refried beans.

Guajillo Chilli base
Guajillo chilli 20 gm
Onion (chopped) 1 tbsp
Garlic (chopped) 1 tsp
Tomato (roughly sliced) 1 medium sized piece
Water 250 ml

Boil water, add ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.
Take it off the heat and let it cool off.
Blend to a puree, and use as a guajillo base

Mini Corn Tortillas Ingredients
Masa Harina 225 gm
A pinch of salt
Warm water 150 ml

Mix masa harina, salt and warm water to form a dough. Knead for about a minute, adding more water if necessary. Divide dough into small 20 gm balls. They should be about 1 inch in diameter. Press each tortilla in a tortilla press or roll out between two pieces of plastic sheets until it is about two to three inches across, and thin. Carefully place tortilla on a hot griddle and cook for 30 seconds to a minute on each side. Tortillas cool quickly, so keep them warm in a tortilla warmer.
Note## Masa harina is the traditional flour used to make tortillas, tamales, and other Mexican dishes. Literally translated, it means “dough flour” because the flour is made from dried masa, a dough from specially treated corn.

Refried Beans
(Same recipe can be used for Refried Black Beans as well)

Kidney beans (soaked)
Overnight and drained 75 gm
Bay leaf 1 piece
Refined oil 2 tbsp
Chipotle paste 1 tsp
Jalapeno (chopped) 1 tsp
Onion (chopped) 2 tbsp
Garlic (chopped) 1tsp
Salt to taste

In a medium, heavy pot, combine beans, bay leaf, salt and enough water to cover in 1 to 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are very tender, 1-1/2 to 2 hours, adding more water as required to keep covered. When the beans are cooked and soft, drain, and keep cooking liquid separate. Mash in a pot with a potato masher. For finishing, in a small heavy bottom pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until soft; add garlic, jalapenos, chipotle paste, and cook, stirring, 45 seconds to a minute. Add beans and cooking liquid from the pot, and stir to combine. Cook, stirring with a heavy wooden spoon, until the mixture forms a thick paste, adding cooking liquid 1 tablespoon at a time to keep from getting dry.
Remove from heat and keep warm.

Red Mexican rice

Long grain rice 100 gm
Refined oil 1 tbsp
Onion (chopped) 1 tbsp
Garlic (chopped) 2 tsp
Tomato puree 50 gm
Cilantro ¼ bunch
Stock or water 170 ml
Salt to taste
Lemon juice 2 tsp

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat; add onion, garlic, rice and sauté.
Add tomato puree, stirring constantly, add lamb stock or water, salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add cilantro. Cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until done.

Discard cilantro after the rice is cooked. Squeeze lemon juice on top, and fluff the rice with a fork.

Scrumptious mexican meal


An iconic Oaxacan street snack, the tlayuda journey begins with a very large, thin, crispy corn tortilla that is baked on a comal or wood grill. The tortilla is covered with refried or pureed beans and other toppings. The most common version Oaxaca has is asiento (unrefined pork lard), shredded lettuce or cabbage, avocado, strips of meat (tasajo or cecina are most common), quesillo (Oaxacan string cheese) and salsa. Served both pan-cooked and grilled, the beauty of this traditional dish that usually serves two is its bold flavours and generous toppings of good quality Mexican produce. Though the origin of the dish is hard to crack — older folk believe it dates to the pre-Hispanic times — the word tlayuda traditionally refers to a very large tortilla, which it is. Usually hand-made (till date), the dish looks simple yet is a delicacy that needs hours of back-bending work of grinding corn, lot of hand-slapping and patience. An authentic tlayuda is placed in a basket encased with palm leaves and steamed. Steaming lends the tlayuda its unique texture: crunchy but pliable, with a distinct char. Such was the addiction of this Mexican food mascot that over time, it became synonymous with delicious, artisanal street food.
Tlayuda in all its simplistic glory is the preferred way to taste some of the best Mexican produce like the black bean. A good one is always baked on a hot plate and finished in live charcoal. Some are folded into half, like calzones and cooked. Any topping from pulled chicken or Mexican chorizo or charred corn works well. It is more like Mexican Pizza!

Charred Corn & Jalapenos Tlayudas with green tomato salsa, chilli lime avocado and sour cream
Preparation time 10 minutes, cooking time 20 minutes, serves 2 portions

Corn Tortillas 8” 2 pieces
Refried Black Beans 4 tbsp
Olive oil 1 tbsp
Charred Corn 2 tbsp
Bell peppers (chopped) 2 tbsp
Fresh jalapenos (sliced) 1 piece
Quesillo/Mozzarella 4 tbsp
Pico de gallo, for garnish 2 tbsp
Green tomato salsa 2 tbsp
Chilli lime avocado 2 tbsp
Lettuce *(shredded) for garnish 2 tbsp n Sour cream, for garnish 2 tbsp
Cilantro leaves, ac handful, for garnish ¼ bunch

Place 1 tortilla on a medium hot plate, broil to make it crispy, and spread with a couple of tablespoons mashed refried black beans, leave ½ inch gap from the edge (like a pizza).
Add half cheese, top with a tbsp charred corn, bell peppers and sliced jalapenos. Place in oven @ 180 C for a couple of minutes, until cheese melts and edges get little brown and crispy.
Take it out, apply olive oil on the edges (the tortilla sould be crispy).
Garnish tortilla with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, chilli lime avocado, green tomato salsa, cilantro leaves and drizzle of sour cream.
Cut into 8 slices using a pizza cutter.
Eat open-faced or fold in half and enjoy!


Refined flour 150 gm n Salt a pinch
Butter 20 gm n Warm water 75 ml

Blend flour, salt and butter until it resembles a coarse meal. Slowly add warm water until soft dough forms. Add additional warm water as required. Knead for five minutes and rest for an hour before separating into four portions for large tortillas.
Heat a griddle over medium heat.
Roll each ball of dough out into a round shape, approx. 1/8 inch thick and 8” in diameter.
Place each raw tortilla on the hot griddle and cook on each side for about 1 to 2 minutes. If it puffs up at all, you can poke a hole in the puffed area to release steam. Cook it until it is no longer doughy. Remove from the griddle and place onto a plate covered by a kitchen towel.

Refried Black Beans
Same recipe as Refried Beans
Black beans, soaked overnight and drained 75 gm and no jalapenos.

Charred Corn

 Corn on cob 1 piece n Butter 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

Brush corn with butter on all sides.
Place corn on medium hot grill and cook until charred on all sides. Season with salt.
Remove from grill, baste with a little more butter. Cut kernels off the cob with a sharp knife. Reserve the charred corn till required.

Pico De Gallo

Tomatoes (seeds and pulp removed and diced) 80 gm
Jalapenos (chopped) 1 tsp
Onion (chopped) 2 tbsp
Cilantro (chopped) 1 tsp
Lemon juice 1 tsp
Olive oil 1 tsp
Salt to taste

Combine ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for 20 minutes before using.

Green Tomato Salsa

Fresh green tomatoes 2 nos (medium sized) n Garlic (peeled) 2 cloves n Onion chunks ½ piece medium sized n Fresh jalapeno 1 piece n Cilantro puree 1 tbsp n Olive oil 1 tsp
Salt to taste

Place tomatoes, garlic, onion and jalapenos on a small baking dish, drizzle with little oil and roast for 20 minutes in a preheated 180 c oven or grill vegetables on a heavy bottom pan till charred, around 20 minutes.
Coarsely chop charred vegetables in a food processor or Molcajete, add salt to taste. Chill salsa before serving.

Chilli Lime Avocado
n Avocado (cubes) 2 tbsp n Chipotle Chilli powder a pinch n Lime juice 1 tsp
n Salt a pinch n Olive Oil ½ tsp

Blend all ingredients together lightly just before garnishing.

Sour cream
Cream 100 ml
Lemon juice 1 tbsp
A pinch of salt

Chill cream along with lemon juice.
Whisk over an ice bowl, till thick.
Add a pinch of salt. Keep chilled.

(The milky moo)

Also called Orxata, Horchata is a delicious milky beverage made of ground almonds, rice, tigernuts and varies in name and flavour from one region to another. In Guatamala, it is made with rice and cinnamon; while in Nicaragua, it is made from jicaro seeds ground with rice and spices. I follow the Mexican style of using soaked rice that is blended with blanched almonds, evaporated milk and spiced with a hint of cinnamon for the sweet, festive, aromatic, rich mouth feel.

(aN Aztec superfood)

Chia seeds’ association with Mexican culture dates back to 3500 BC. Aztecs and Mayans would regularly consume chia as a power food. Ancient warriors were made to drink chia for extra stamina and strength. I use the traditional style of soaking chia, which is mixed with sugared lemon juice to make a Warrior Style Lemonade with lots of ice.

Agua de Jamaica
(Mexico’s favourite coolant)

A non-alcoholic Mexican beverage made from the flowers of a Jamaica plant, this is a concoction of hibiscus, sugar and water. Loved for its rich, crimson colour and tart, flowery taste notes, the drink which seems quintessentially Mexican today isn’t Mexican in origin. Folklore has it that the drink came to Mexico with the Silk Route and is more likely African-Indian by origin. The contested genealogy aside, what makes Agua De Jamaica an absolute delight is its lightness which complements all Mexican food.
The thing about classics is that they are hard to change, just like Agua De Jamaica. We use the traditional method of infusing hot water with dried hibiscus flowers before adding sugar and lime juice for that extra refreshing punch.