I feel a hot wind, on my shoulder, coming in from south of the border

In Recipes on December 22, 2010 at 3:35 am

Ah, the old ‘Mexican Radio’ by Wall of Voodoo, it takes me back.  In the 1980s, when that song came out, we thought that Mexican food consisted of tacos, enchiladas and nachos drenched in cheese.  In the decades since I have discovered that there is much more to Mexican food (and Latin American food in general) than these Tex-Mex favourites.  Though cheese or queso is still used, it is not necessarily the stringy, molten mess that we know and many dishes are served with a healthy salsa or salad.  In Mexico, as in the rest of Latin America, the ingredients are a mixture of ‘old world’ (foods brought by the European conquerers) and ‘new world’ (foods indigenous to the Americas).  From the ‘old world’ came herbs like oregano and basil, onions, lettuce and meats like pork and beef.  From the ‘new world’ came tomatoes, avocados, chillies, maize, cocoa, beans and turkey.  Most meals are served with tortillas for scooping up the various stews and salsas.  Two of my favourite dishes are empanadas (little cheese or meat pastries) and corn salsa.

Queso empanadas



For cheese filling:

200g feta cheese

125g ricotta cheese

1 free range egg

1-2 jalapeno chillies (finely chopped)

finely chopped coriander

For meat filling:

1 large onion (finely chopped)

500g turkey or beef mince

1 tin diced tomatoes

2 cloves garlic (minced)

1 tsp each of cumin, coriander, basil, cocoa powder

1/2 tsp each of thyme, fennel powder, chilli flakes

1-2 jalapeno chillies (finely chopped)

chopped coriander

4 sheets frozen puff pastry (or you can make your own)


For the cheese filling: mash the two cheeses together, add the egg, chopped jalapenos and coriander.  Mix well, season with pepper.

For the meat filling: saute the onion in a pan, add garlic and spices, then meat and toss until well browned and separated.  Add tinned tomatoes and 1/2 cup water. Season well with salt and pepper.  Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer, cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is quite dry.  Allow to cool.  Chopped hard boiled eggs or chopped grilled chorizo sausage can also be added to the beef filling.

Cut each pastry sheet into four squares.  Moisten the edges of each square with ‘egg wash’ (beaten egg with a dash of milk).  Place a spoonful of the mixture on the pastry, crimp the edges together, making sure your pastry is well sealed.  Place filled empanadas on a tray lined with baking paper.  Bake at 200c for 25-30 mins. until puffed up and golden brown.

Corn salsa


3 cobs fresh sweetcorn (I prefer to buy it in the husk)

1 red onion (finely chopped)

1 jalapeno or long green chilli (finely chopped)

juice of 1 lime

good dash of olive oil

chopped coriander


Remove husks from corn and strip the kernels from the cob with a sharp knife.  Place in a saucepan with enough cold water to just cover.  Bring to the boil, remove from heat and drain corn.  Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.  Mix in a bowl with all the other ingredients.  Chopped tomato or drained and rinsed canned red kidney beans can be added to this salsa if so desired.

The perfect snack

  1. […] * see December archives for ‘Fire in the Mole‘ and ‘ I feel a hot wind on my shoulder…‘ […]

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