mexican food contains many of the flavours i love – the heat of chilli, the tang of lime, the complex layers of spices and the freshness of herbs.
despite this it’s not something i have often enough. london is sorely lacking in decent mexican restaurants (although there have been a few opened in the past year or so) and it’s not something i cook very often as i don’t really know that much about the cuisine.
however, i’ve been craving the mexican combination of flavours and a rummage through the spice routes by chris and carolyn caldicote provided me with a fabulous marinade for some chicken and peppers.
the flavours in the marinade are fantastically well balanced and if anyone who is reading this finds themselves resorting to pre-mixed spices for mexican food, please try this instead. or if you just fancy ringing the changes with a new chicken dish, this should be on your list as it’s definitely worth trying. let me know how you get on.
yucatan recado chicken (serves 2-3)
2-3 chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 red pepper, sliced
1 yellow pepper, sliced
for the marinade*:
1 red onion, finely sliced
6 garlic cloves, with the skin on
1 teaspoon mixed spice
3cm piece of a cinnamon stick
1 teapsoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lime
1 red chilli, seeded and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
under a pre-heated grill, roast the onion and garlic until brown. set aside.
in a small pan, dry fry the whole spices until you can start to smell them. grind to a powder and add the mixed spice.
put all the prepared marinade ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth. mix the marinade with the chicken strips and leave for at least one hour.
stir fry the chicken, adding the peppers towards the end so they remain crunchy.
serve with tacos/tortillas plus a combination of the clichéd (and no doubt entirely inauthentic) accompaniments of guacamole, salsa, sour cream, grated cheese, shredded lettuce and jalapenos.
* this marinade is based on a recipe from the spice routes by chris and carolyn caldicote