Friday, 25 September 2009

Chilli Cucumbers and Chimichangas

Many of the towns and cities in parts of the U.S of A have their own Canteena Mexicana. The way Indian and Chinese food is popular in the UK, I guess in the USA it is the same with Mexican food. In Scotland, there have been a couple of attempts to open a Mexican restaurant, but have been disappointing and extremely expensive, for ingredients that were relatively cheap such as the tortillas and rice.
I know in London, the first British MasterChef winner 2005 Thomasina Miers has successfully opened Wahaca (correct spelling Oaxaca - it has been changed to make it easier to pronounce) aims to offer authentic Mexican food to Londoners. I really like her approach to food, there is no pretense or nonsense. I am so envious of those of you who can easily access the Oaxaca restaurant or even a decent Mexican eatery where you are. If I lived near one I would have worked my way through every veggie friendly dish there was.
There is one excellent Mexican-American shop in Glasgow, the West of Scotland, Lupe Pintos which I frequent now and again for specialist ingredients, but otherwise spice heads like me, have to make our own Mexican dishes, inauthentic as they are, they serve our fiery appetites well. So here is one of the most popular ones: Chimichangas.
One of the great things about Chimichangas is that once you’ve assembled the main components, you can put them in the fridge and forget about them till it’s time for cooking. Oh yeah, chimichangas are traditionally deep fried, but these are oven baked.

Make the refried beans and the red hot sauce
Make the chive sour cream sauce, which is real simple: 1 pint of sour cream, a small handful of chives, thinly sliced and optional 100g cooked sweetcorn. Simply stir all the ingredients and season. Then chill until ready to use.
Make your own favourite guacamole recipe.
I wanted a vegetable accompaniment, and with cucumbers being in season and at their best right now, I thought why not some chilli cucumbers. I grew up eating spiced cucumbers and spiced tomatoes this way, so this combination was quite acceptable to me, but was a new one for D. He did enjoy it, saying it was both spicy and refreshing!
Chilli cucumbers
1 large cucumber, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon of salt
1 generous teaspoon of chilli powder
Simply mix the the salt and chilli powder together and scatter evenly over the sliced cucumbers.
To assemble the chimichangas You will need
4 large Tortillas
225g Mozzarella cheese, grated
Optional Lime wedges to garnish
Refried beans
Take a tortilla and fill with refried beans. Fold over. Place on a well oiled tray. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Cook in the oven Gas mark 5 for 30 minutes or until the cheese is brown and bubbly. Serve on plates along with sauces and accompaniments as desired.


  1. Yum! What a delicious meal. I love Mexican food.

  2. another recipe that's taking me a step closer to braving chillis abit more in my cooking. Cool cucumber and hot chillis, what a great combo.

  3. I love mexican food. We have an all you can eat mexican place about 40 minutes away which is excellent! And a couple of average ones closer by, but to be honest I profer to make my own burritos, tacos and mexican salad. I will have to make the recipe salad and post the recipe soon.
    Its suprising that you dont really have mexican eaterys. Weve got many many chinese and a few indian eatery places around where I live.

    Your mexican recipe looks yummy! I feel like burritos now :)


  4. I love Mexican food as well and my first real experience of it was in the USA as well.

    In Maidstone, Kent we have a restaurant Mexxa Mexxa that specialise some what in Mexican food, my eldest absolutely love there spice and all. They are really accommodating and have been known to alter some of their dishes to suit our dietary habits on asking.

    Your refried beans recipe is so simple I think I will try it during the winter with my harvested dry borlotti/ ying yang beans.

  5. Thanks Michele.

    Thanks Nic.

    Thanks Rose.
    Your lucky to have some mexican eatieries nearby, but I agree with you, its nice to make your own too, as you can make it according to your taste.

    I think the reason in the U.K there are not many Mexican eateries, is because we don't have much of a Mexican community here, but there is a large South Asian and South East Asian here, hence the popularity of 'Indian' and 'Chinese' food.

    Hello Kella,
    Going to the USofA, I think is the way many people get introduced to Mexican food.

    Thanks for the link to mexxa-mexxa, I will check it out for insipration. It is good to read that they will cater to your diet, as many places still snug at those committed to a vegan diet. Its also good to read that your eldest loves those spicy flavours - the real spice girl. I love reading when children experiment with new food and flavorus.

    I like the cheats refried beans recipe too, those tinned ones can be so, so expensive - I have also made it with tinned borlotti beans, which turned out just as good, so I am sure with your own home-grown borlotti beans they will sure be a hit.

  6. We lived in the Southwest for several years, most of it about 20 miles from the border, now we're back on the east coast....your recipe tingled my taste buds....I miss the rich, robust fiery flavors of Mexico...I knew it was good when it was so hot it gave me hiccups...LOL

  7. This is one of the things I like about the blog, it gets you thinking about world geography and other places in a particular country. My knowledge is contantly widening.

    You made me smile, when you wrote good Mexian food gave you hiccups, it reminded me a bit of my Dad, when good spicy food gave him a runny nose.

  8. Great recipes and photos, mangocheeks. I love Mexican food too and it is surprisingly difficult to buy Mexican cookery books in shops. It is great to see a recipe for Chimichangas that does not require a deep fat fryer.

    I've not been to Mexico but on a week-long trip to Santa Fe a few years back I got a bit addicted to chilli and craved it at every meal, especially for breakfast. Is that normal?

  9. Oh wow FlowerPowerGirl,
    It's been such a long time. I hope you are well, it is so good to hear from you. Thank you so much for the lovely comments.

    I share your experience of trying to get Mexican books at cookshops, I struggled for years to find such books, but recently some have started appearing on the shelves. I came across a really good one recently (at the Oxfam bookstore) called Mexican Kitchen by Rick Bayliss. It won the Julia Child cookbook award.

    Eating spicy dishes or chillies for breakfast, you asked is it normal. I guess it is what you get accustomed too. As someone who grew up eating spicy dishes for all three meals, I would certainly say Yes!


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