Mexican Food for the Small Kitchen

A friend asked me today to share my recipe for ceviche. I got to thinking about some of my time spent in Mexico. I really missed the foods from there so when I arrived here I started trying to find the ingredients needed. I have found everything I need for my favorites so I thought I would share some of the more popular ones.
Mexican food is quick and easy to make since it is mostly made of meats commonly found here and fresh fruits and vegetable also common here. A few items that you might need but are difficult to find are:

Tortillas - Costco

Salsa - home made or Costco. Home made is much better

Refried beans - Neihu Costco used to have them but my local store in Yonghe doesn’t carry them so I just boil the hell out of a pound of pinto beans found at my local traditional market and mash them with some garlic, salt and pepper.

Tobasco - Found in most local grocery outlets but the local red sauces all work and each has their unique flavor.

Chedder cheese - I use the Costco shredded Mexican Shred. I like goat cheese and I know it’s available here but I have kind of worked around it because I’m lazy.

I may think of some others so I will edit this if I can but I want to get on to posting the ceviche recipe which follows. Please add your favorites too.

Ceviche is simply chunks of raw white fish mrinated in lemon and lime juice until it is cooked with citric acid. The fish is then added to a salad of vegetables. There are many variations. Here is one.

If you use the traditional white fish, just get a pound or two of any fresh white fish from your local market. Ideally it should have the large flaky kind of flesh.

You will need:
1-2 pounds fresh white fish
4 red tomatoes
about 4 lemons
about 4 large limes (not the grape size found in some markets)
1 large bunch of coriander (cilantro)
1 bunch of green onions
1 medium yellow onion
1 sweet red pepper
1 sweet green pepper
1 sweet yellow pepper
1/2 jalepeno choped very very fine - seeds and all
pepper ( a note about salt - these vegetables contain a high water content and if you add ANY salt while making this, it will draw the water from the vegetables and create a mess. If you want salt, add it after it is on the plate.

Tear or cut the fish into small pieces. Immerse and soak the fish in the juice of 50/50 lemon and lime juice overnight. NO SALT. If you like to soak your fish in saltwater to reduce the fish taste, do this before the acid soak. Soak the chunks of fish in enough lemon lime juice to cover the chunks. You will eventually discard the juice so don’t worry about pulp and seeds. I soak at least overnight but in a pinch have reduced it 4 hours but I lose some of the lime flavor.
Chop all the vegetable into very fine pieces. I often use a food processor for the chopping but you have to be quick on the “pulse” button because you dont want to juice the whole lot. Chopping is much better but . . . Damn.
Just mix all the vegetable together, add the drained fish and the juice of 2 more limes and 2 more lemons and some pepper.
It is ready to eat.

I like mine several ways.
Try browning a flat tortilla on low heat in a skillet, flip it over and sprinkle shredded cheese on it. brown on the second side. The cheese will melt. Put it on a plate and heap a pile of cevich on it.

Use the ceviche as a chip dip or for tortilla chips - purchased or deep fried from tortilla peices.

My kids refused to eat raw fish and they have spent enough time in Mexico to know that that is exactly what ceviche is. I had to implement. I use pre-cooked shrimp. Don’t marinate the shrimp as the lime juice will make the shrimp tough.

You can find the refried beans at Wellcome.

Now if you could do that chocolate covered chicken dish for the small kitchen, you’ll be a god in my book :smiley:

City Super also carries refried beans.

That sounds like a great ceviche recipe. One note, people please be careful what kind of white fish you get. Most fish now is high in mercury and only a few like salmon and tuna andhake and cod and halibat are considered safe to eat.

I firmly believe that, if offered, I would gladly accept a position of deity much lower than that of a god as I have never considered polluting either of these wonderful foods by introducing them one to the other. To do so would be much like slathering mustard on peanut butter cookies. But, hell, what do I know. Chocolate chicken? Throttle me with a sturdy ladle. :help:

do you have a recipe for cheese enchilada using safe edible stuff found in taiwan?

Coming to the Small Kitchen soon. I have my team of (1) working on it. Stay tuned.

Nama, I’ll do you a recipe for mole as soon as I have time (I believ that’s what you mean by “chocolate-covered”).


These are much like chili. Everyone has their own favorites. Here is one for chicken.

Enchilada Sauce:

4 medium size red tomatoes. If you use the Romana tomatoes, (the egg shapped ones) use about 6.
1/2 finely chopped medium yellow onion
4 jalapeno peppers finely diced with seeds.
a large handful of chopped fresh cilantro

Boil a pot of water. Use a ladle and hold the tomatoes in the boiling water for about a minute or until the skin starts to peel.

Pull the tomatoes out and peel them under cold running water. The skin should peel easily away.
Add a teaspoon of salt to the water and pop the tomatoes back in and let them boil for about 10 minutes.
While the tomatoes are cooking mince the peppers and onion.
When the tomatoes are done, blend them in a blender or processor.
Add the pureed tomatoes, onions and peppers to a saucepan and cook on very low heat for about 30 minutes.
Add the chopped cilantro and let it cook on low for a few more minutes

Use a baking dish that will fit easily into your toaster oven.
Pour a small layer of sauce into the bottom and spread it evenly.
Layer enough tortilla pieces or whole ones to cover the bottom of the pan. You can let the edges cover the sides but not above the lip of the pan. They will burn.
Layer in any meat that you like. I like chicken but it must be cooked first. In a pinch, try the canned chicken breast from Costco. Easy and quick. I need two cans for my recipe but I suppose you could get by with less.
Pour about 1/2 of the sauce over the chicken. Add more tortillas and pieces to cover the chicken. Overlapping is fine but no more that one overlap.
Pour the rest of the sauce over the top.
Top this off with a layer of shredded cheese. I like chedder but you can use Jack or Pepper cheese from Costco.
Bake for about 30 minutes at 170 C.
If the cheese starts to burn, put some foil over the top.
To serve, Put a bed of leaf lettuce on a plate. Ladle out some filled tortilla pieces. Add a big dollup of sour cream and another of guacamole.

My ex used to like to add the cheese after baking and let it melt from the heat of the enchiladas. Either way works fine.

If I use ground pork or hamburger for the meat, I usually like to sprinkle some crushed garlic onto the meat. However, I don’t think it works well with the chicken.

wow that was fast. can’t wait to try it. and it only requires a toaster oven, totally radical!

Hey - I should have mentioned that I haven’t tried this with the flour tortillas available at Costco and I can’t find the corn tortillas. I’m going to try it anyway. If you try, let me know of any adjustments you might suggest.

:notworthy: :notworthy: :bravo: :bravo: MOLE that’s it. Thanks My soul scot brother

Don’t they sell Corn tortillas at Florida Bakery?

This Mexican food thing has got me hungry for Burritos

These are always a hit.

Put a stack of tortilla shells on a plate.

Fry up some ground pork or beef with some garlic, salt and pepper. Mix in some refried beans and stir it all together. Put some in a bowl.
Chop some tomatoes, some onions and shred some lettuce.

I like to set all the ingredients out in bowls on my coffee table.
Include a bowl of shredded cheese, sour cream and guacamole.

Put a dab of meat on the tortilla and add whatever other topping you want. Roll it into a roll with the edges tucked in.
Damn good for an evening of West Wing, The Series, around my house.

Fresh Salsa
You will need a blender
4 fresh tomatoes
1/2 yellow onion
tobasco or other hot sauce
about 3/4 cup minced celery The tender top part is the best for this (strip as many strings as you can before chopping) Use the leaves too.
1 jalepeno finely hand minced

salt and pepper

Chop everything one kind of vegetable at a time.
Use your blender to chop the tomatoes (pieces - not all juice)
Mince the other vegetables and finely hand chop the cilantro.
Dump everything into a bowl as you go.
Mix in enough hot sauce to suit your taste or use some chili paste.

Cheese Sauce

Get a pack of the yellow plastic cheese slices found everywhere.
Cut the whole pack into 4-8 cubes.
Put some water in a large pan and float a smaller pan in the water. (double boiler)
Drop the cheese into the smaller pan and let the water boil around the smaller pan. The cheese will melt with any luck at all.
Slowly dribble condensed milk into the melted cheese. Keep adding until the cheese forms a sauce similar to that used for nachos. (about the consistancy of gravy)
Now add any flovoring you might like. Maybe some minced jalepeno, tobasco, minced fried bacon - whatever - or just use it plain. I tried the Asian chili paste and it was awesome.


Doritos are ok but too expensive even in the large bags at Costco. If I have time, I just cut the Costco tortillas into wedges of about 8 per tortilla (like a pie) and deep fry them about 20 at a time. Make sure your oil is VERY hot. (Word from the wise? - WEAR A SHIRT)
If you like the spicy coating on the Doritoes try mixing some green can parmesean cheese, salt, garlic powder and chili powder. Drege the chips in the mix after they are pulled from the oil.

Add the chips to a plate, pour on some cheese sauce and top with sour cream, guacamole and/or some minced jalepeno. Some refried beans on the side are nice too.

Here’s a slow but tasty one-pot dish, perfect for warming your apartment up on a cold day: Frijoles a la Charra (5.5 hours cooking time means a warm, fragrant apartment). I’ve got a pot on now…

These are an excellent side dish to accompany tacos. The beans end up a bit similar to refried beans and can be used in lieu thereof in burritos, tacos, etc., or as a dip for tortilla chips.

1 pound dry pinto beans (widely available in dry goods stores in Taiwan; I bought some at my local Donghu wet market the other day)
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt (and more later to taste)
1/2 pound bacon, diced (To make it healthier and just as tasty, I substituted relatively lean smoked sausages from Costco, chopped, and I made up for the reduced oil by adding olive oil)
1 onion, chopped
2 fresh tomatoes, diced (I use canned Italian tomatoes from Costco)
1 (3.5 ounce) can sliced jalapeno peppers (I substitute hot little bird’s heart peppers and garlic with chili sauce)
1 (12 fluid ounce) can beer
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (aka coriander)


Place bacon or sausages (or a lean meat) in a large stockpot over medium high heat until evenly brown, but still tender. If bacon, drain about half the fat; if lean sausages or lean meat, add generous olive oil. Place onion in the pot, and cook until tender. Mix in tomatoes and jalapenos or other hot peppers, and cook until heated through. Add pinto beans, and completely cover with water. This will boil for hours so add plenty of extra water. Mix in garlic and salt. Cover, and cook 1 hour on High.

Reduce heat, and continue cooking 4 hours on Low, stirring occasionally and adding water as needed to prevent burning. Mix in the beer and cilantro about 30 minutes before the end of the cook time. Taste, and add seasonings to taste: cumin, salt, black pepper, cilantro, more hot peppers, garlic paste, etc. as you wish. You can also toss in other extras from the kitchen like basil, chopped carrots etc. for variety, but the above is traditional.

Serve alongside tacos, enchiladas etc. (esp. ones without beans).

Freezes and reheats well, so make extra. The recipe doubles or triples well if you have a large enough pot.

Dragonbones, that one sounds good enough to make up for Enigma’s horrendous faux pas in introducing the concept of actually putting processed cheese slices into one’s mouth!
It’s just as well he’s normally such a stalwart or he’d be getting flamed mercilessly for that. Mercilessly! :wink:
Butter, cream, grated jack or cheddar, jalapenos, a tiny splash of vinegar and a little of your preferred hot sauce slowly melted in a pan is cheese sauce.

I was on the verge of chastizing him for that myself! :laughing: I couldn’t believe it when I saw that, but was busy typing my recipe.

You don’t need to try to replicate the liquid nature of the crappy fake cheese sauce available in US malls; instead, just sprinkle grated cheese (e.g., the Mexican blend from Costco) on tortilla chips, top with jalape

i like the liquid cheese. the shredded kind gets hard too quickly, especially in my cold unheated apartment. hmmm, cheesynesssss

That’s why you use butter & cream. Melt the butter gently, stir in the cream and add grated cheese until the desired thickness is reached. Simple and good.