As someone who loves a good meal, cooking one, came to me as a natural passion. I belong to a family where meal times consisted of not just food, but also noisy conversation centered around the events of the day and discussing the menu for the next. (ah yes, we are a greedy lot! )

For the most part of my life so far, my contribution in the kitchen was assisting mom and my duties were limited, to chopping veggies and laying the table. Then along came the great Indian wedding, and I was suddenly the queen of my very own kingdom. My curiosity about this magical world, coupled with an enthusiastic sous-chef (my husband, Vineet), led me to take on the challenge of preparing meals on a daily basis, and not succumbing to the convenience of hiring a cook.

This blog is a product of my experiments with food (not all are life threatening :D) for my fellow culinary enthusiasts - especially the newly weds and hungry bachelors and is dedicated to the women who've inspired me in the kitchen;
Aji (s),Ma and Nigella Lawson.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

KP's Sopa Mexicana

So, for this weeks weekly-food-exploration, I was keen to try something different & delicious, yet healthy. I was wondering which part of the world we'd explore on our plates this week, when I remembered a recipe that Krithika (my sister from another mother, and probably the most loyal reader of my blog) had passed on to me a couple of months ago. She ofcourse had access to the most authentic ingredients, and since I could'nt find them here easily (i.e. at the store next-door!) I decided to substitute a few of the ingredients. The result was a healthy, supremely-delicious and filling, one-bowl-meal, that was perfect at the end of a lazy Sunday evening. 
The list of ingredients is a little exhaustive, but trust me, its worth it! Although the original recipe calls for Taco seasoning, I used dried Oregano since I couldn't find any. This version uses boiled chicken, and chicken stock as a base, but can easily be made vegetarian by using vegetable stock instead and enjoyed with some toasted bread. 
Comer bien a mis amigos! :)

200g Boneless Chicken (2 lbs)
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 Large onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup Celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup Carrot, finely chopped
1/2 Green capsicum, finely chopped
1 cup Rajma beans (soaked,cooked)
7-8 Cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Avocado, cubed (1/2" pieces)
4-5 tbsp Oregano flakes
2-3 tsp Black peppercorns, cracked
1-1/2 tsp Red chilli powder 
Salt, to taste
4-5 tbsp Coriander leaves, chopped 
1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, grated

Method, if Using Chicken:
1.) Cut the chicken into curry sized pieces. Put into a microwave-safe container. Pour about 1-1/2 cups of water, and microwave for about 5-6 mins till chicken is cooked. Remove the boiled chicken and set aside to cool. Store the broth (the water) as this will be the base for your soup.
2.) While the chicken boils, Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the chopped Onion & Garlic. Saute till the onion is golden and softens. At this point, add the chopped Celery, Carrots & Capsicum. Cook till soft.
3.) While the contents of the pan are still cooking, shred the chicken pieces using a fork. Add the shredded chicken to the pan and stir to mix well. Add the cooked Rajma beans (black beans) and mix well. 
4.) Add the chicken broth and allow the soup to simmer for a few minutes. Add the chopped Avocado & cherry tomatoes. Add the cracked Black pepper, dried Oregano leaves, Red chilli powder and salt.
5.) Add the chopped Coriander leaves, and let the soup bubble away for a few minutes.
6.) Squeeze the juice of about 1-1/2 limes into the soup. Serve hot garnished with shredded Cheddar cheese. Yum!

To make this Vegetarian:
Leave out step 01. Begin with step 02 and follow through Step 03. Dissolve 1-1/2 cubes of Vegetable stock in 1-1/2 cups of warm water. Add in place of chicken broth in step 04. Proceed with the rest of the recipe as usual.

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