My culinary world exploded when my family moved to Arizona back in 1994. I still remember the first time I ate chips and salsa as my parents sipped a well deserved margarita with fajitas and chile relleno. To this day, whenever I crave a little color and freshness in my life, I’ll whip up some salsa or add a dash of lime, chilli and cilantro to a dish.
Few people have spent enough time with Mexican food to realize that it goes far beyond cheese-filled quesadillas and meaty tacos. In fact, its dishes range from culinary masterpieces like mole sauce (which is made up of more than 40 different spices and tastes like chocolate!) to simple, healthy, every day dishes like calabacitas.
A staple in every Mexican home, calabacitas is a hit with the kids, even once they know what’s in it! The combination of beans and rice are packed with protein, and serve as a great alternative to meat. For a long time, calabacitas were a “go to” dish in our home, along with shredded salsa chicken, made my mom – to whom I dedicate this piece.
Shredded Salsa Chicken
2 to 3 large chicken breasts
One jar of salsa (Note: Pre-made salsa is recommended, but if you use fresh salsa, be sure to add tomato paste and sugar.)
Brown your chicken in a large, heavy pan. Add the salsa to the pan and simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside to cool. Keep the sauce simmering until it reduces by about half. Shred the cooled chicken using two forks, and toss it back in with the sauce. Serve over white or brown rice.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped into small to medium pieces
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium zucchini, diced
2 fresh green chilli pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup of yellow corn, fresh or canned
15oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
Salt, pepper and butter to season
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a pan. Add the onions, garlic and chilli pepper and corn, and sauté for five minutes. If you’re using fresh corn, you’ll want to cook that for an additional five minutes first. Add the zucchini and sauté for about five minutes, until zucchini starts to soften. Next, add the beans and cook long enough to heat them through. Season with salt, pepper, and if you’re feeling decadent, a pad of butter.
Below is the recipe in Chinese. Share it with your ayi, or a Chinese-speaking friend.