Taco Platter with Mexican Rice

BM #117 : Week 3, Day 3
Theme : Colorful Foods

I entered the world of tacos a little late, but it’s a meal that I prepare couple of times a month now. It’s so easy to put together and that’s such a selling point for me. It can be adjusted to everyone’s preferences – the toppings take care of whether it’s spicy or not, sweetish or not – so everyone is happy at the end of the meal. Add cheese and sour cream to the toppings and the kids are really happy!

I mostly stick to the same set of toppings, because its easy to stock those. Sour cream, cheese, couple of kinds of salsa, guacamole, corn salsa are regulars. I keep rotating a few of my favorite fillings. My choices are always between – cilantro lemon rice, black beans filling with salsa, Refried beans, spiced soya mince and Mexican rice. There are so many more fillings you can try, but these are what I usually make. I serve with soft tortillas and hard shell tacos, so everyone’s choice is covered.

The platter has :

  1. Taco shells
  2. Flour tortillas
  3. Refried beans
  4. Mexican rice
  5. Guacamole
  6. Shredded cheese
  7. Tomato salsa
  8. Street style corn
  9. Chopped tomatoes
  10. Sour cream
  11. Pineapple soda

Ingredients for Mexican Rice:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped optional
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika/ chili powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup tomato sauce/ purée
  • A handful of chopped cilantro
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Select sauté mode in Instant Pot and add the oil. Add the onions, jalapeños, garlic, peppers and sauté for a minute. Add the rice, salt, cumin, chili powder. Sauté for a minute.
  2. Add the water, stir it in. Now the add the tomato sauce/ purée. Don’t stir the sauce because sometimes instant pot throws up “burn” sign. So add the sauce on top and leave it there.
  3. Close the lid and change the program to Manual for 5 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. Open the lid and mix everything. Add the chopped cilantro and serve on its own or as a filling for tacos.

Linking this post to Kids Delight, event hosted by Vaishali this month.

Mint tomato rice thali

BM #116 : Week 4, Day 6
Theme : Simple everyday thali

It’s been awhile since I made tomato rice at home. So when I saw it in Narmada’s space, it reminded me to prepare it again. We usually serve it with yogurt/raita and/or with potato fry and chips, if we have it at home. At some point, I started adding a handful of mint leaves to tomato rice and I love that combination.

My son likes the curd rice- potato fry combination. He also likes curd rice with pomegranate seeds in it. So I added that too to our lunch menu.

This is a simple meal, easy to put together especially if you have some cooked rice ready. Tomato rice can be made in different ways and mine includes sautéing onions and tomatoes with all the masalas and then adding cooked rice to it. Sometimes I use sambar powder in place of all the spice powders. Adding mint leaves add its own taste, one which I like a lot.

Read on for the recipes and more pictures.

The thali has

  1. Tomato and mint rice
  2. Onion raita
  3. Potato fry
  4. Curd rice with pomegranate seeds
  5. Omelette
  6. Potato Chips

Tomato rice with mint leaves

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 3 big tomatoes, chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 green chilies, chopped finely
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped finely
  • Salt as needed

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pan. Add chopped onions along with chopped green chilies and ginger. Sauté until onions are done.
  2. Now add the chopped tomatoes along with the spice powders and salt. Cover and cook, stirring in between to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pan. If it’s dry, add a little water. Cook until the tomatoes are mushy and soft. Now add the chopped mint leaves. Mix and let it cook for a minute or two. Add the cooked rice and carefully mix to evenly distribute the tomato mix. Turn off the heat and serve with raita.

Omelette:

  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of herb of your choice, optional
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped green chilies
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • In a bowl, add the eggs along with herbs, onions, green chilies, salt and pepper. Beat well to mix evenly.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add the egg mixture and let it cook. When the bottom is done, Flip and cook the top as well. Take off the heat and serve as a side to rice.

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Taco platter

BM #116 : Week 2, Day 5
Theme : Platters

It’s only recently that we have started making tacos at home. For a vegetarian, it makes sense to make it at home as there aren’t a lot of vegetarian options to choose from. For this platter, I have made a simple lime cilantro rice and refried beans as fillings. Mexican rice, scrambled soya, black beans with salsa are some other excellent choices we have tried.

This was another platter I plan on repeating often. It’s so easy to serve yourself when all the options are laid in front of you. Even otherwise this is how we serve tacos, everything will be in a bowl and all in one place, but in platter is a lot more neater and easier to serve oneself. It would be tough to do this for a bigger crowd, but for the three of us, it would be a good choice.

A lot that goes into the platter are ready to eat toppings like cheese and sour cream or toppings that don’t need a lot of time to prepare. It takes only a couple of minutes to make guacamole and salsa. The corn also takes very little time to prepare. I usually make a corn salsa, but after giving this mayo recipe a try, this is going to be my go to recipe now onwards. If you have cooked beans and rice ready, even refried beans and lime rice take really little time to put together. Initially I was planning on the soya filling and a roasted vegetable filling too, but I decided against it to keep it really simple.

Read on for the recipes and more pictures.

The platter has

  1. Soft tortillas
  2. Hard taco shells
  3. Readymade hot sauce
  4. Sour cream
  5. Guacamole
  6. Fresh tomato salsa
  7. Cilantro
  8. Street style corn topping
  9. Shredded cheese
  10. Lemon wedges
  11. Serrano pepper/jalapeños
  12. Cilantro lime rice
  13. Refried beans

Refried beans :

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan. Sauté one medium onions and 2-3 cloves of garlic. Add 1 teaspoon chili powder (or per taste) and 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin. Mix it in.
  2. Add 3 cups of cooked pinto beans and 1/2 cups of water. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or so. Remove lid and mash the beans with a fork or a potato masher until it comes to the consistency you like. Add salt as needed. If it’s too thick add a little more water to bring it to the right consistency. Turn off the heat, add a handful of chopped cilantro leaves (about 2 tablespoons) and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Taste test, adjust seasonings if needed.

Cilantro rice

  1. Cook one cup of rice with 2 cups of water, 1 tablespoon butter and salt as needed. I do this in a pressure cooker / instant pot.
  2. At the time of serving, add half cup chopped cilantro leaves and juice from half of a small lemon. Taste test and add more lemon juice if needed.

Street style corn: I used frozen corn for this recipe. Thaw 1.5 cups of frozen corn in the microwave. Drain the water. I sautéed this in a pan with a little butter for a few minutes. Transfer this into a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons sour cream, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon chili powder and salt as needed. Stir to combine and add 2-3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro. Taste test and adjust seasonings if needed.

Fresh tomato salsa: In a bowl, add 2-3 finely chopped tomatoes, 1/2 of a medium onion – finely chopped, 1-2 green chilies – minced , juice of half a lime, handful of cilantro leaves and salt as needed. Mix well, taste test and add more lemon juice or other seasonings if needed. Refrigerate until it’s time to serve.

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