Shabbat here in Israel comes in Friday night and goes out Saturday night at sundown, meaning during this time the supermarkets and shops are closed. Whilst arguably I should be soaking up the rays on the beach, I enjoy a certain type of challenge: making something scrumptious using the ingredients I already have. It isn't planned, it's a dish created in the making. Spontaneous Saturdays.
Inspired by the street food at the Shuk, I originally set out to make Arepas; a corn flour pitta/pocket which is then stuffed with whatever you like, supposedly savoury fillings, except I'm already dreaming of red meat, mixed spices, cranberries, currents and dates. Arepas are prominent in Venezuelan and Colombian cuisine. OH and they are most certainly GLUTEN FREE. HOORAH! OK but enough of these for now...because the cornflour I had bought was in actual fact, cornstarch. HMMM....have any of you mixed cornstarch and water? It is just the weirdest and coolest thing ever. It basically creates both a liquid and a solid...it is more or less quick sand. OK, so now I know, cornflour in Israel is CORNSTARCH. Noted. If any of you haven't done this science experiment at home, I highly recommend it. Besides, science is fun!
All you need is:
- 2 cups Corn Starch
- 1 cup water
- Food colouring (optional)
DO NOT PUT THIS DOWN THE DRAIN. YOU WILL REGRET IT. SAVE THE PIPES AND THROW THE CEMENT LIKE LIQOID IN THE BIN. PHEW!!!
This was my first time making Gluten Free tortilla's and I can't say that they looked, nor felt like the fluffy discovery ones that I remember from growing up. They were a staple in my cupboard, it was only when I realised that I was gluten intolerant that I stopped eating them. Before that..mmm fajitas. I haven't had them in years, nor have I had the chance to enjoy proper Mexican food; seeing as the gluten free alternative at restaurants is a completely different dish. OH CUTE. That is NOT the gluten free alternative I was looking for. Which is why science and cooking is so friggin incredible. Nothing is impossible. At home, you can have everything you always wanted, not a completely different dish but the same one, better or more authentic than the original.
So...What was different?
- Firstly, they are not the perfect tortilla. In order to create tortilla's suitable for rolling fajitas and wraps, I need to carry out more experimentation to create a thinner tortilla with a lighter, fluffier texture:
1. They are too thick
2. They tore slightly when folding inwards for the Enchiladas making them not so suitable for wraps or rolling
- Arguably, I created a different texture with a delicious taste. Seasoned with cumin and cinnamon, they were chewy in texture. Sweet and aromatic, with nutty undertones, the tortilla was earthy, and a perfect home for the VERY spicy black bean chilli.
Sally described them as a 'new' creation of tortilla. So I guess I just created my very own style of tortilla for Enchilada's, who said everything has to be by the book. This is the whole beauty of experimenting and being creative in the kitchen! You create and play around with flavours and textures, and sometimes what seemed like a failure at first ends up being a pleasant surprise. Exhibit A. We ate every mouthful, they were ever so scrumptious. The dish altogether was VERY spicy. WARNING: NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED. Both sally and I are lovers of spice...and all things nice. (It had to be done...it rhymes). It was earthy, filled us right up and was wonderfully accentuated by the fresh guacamole.
In conclusion, this gluten free tortilla recipe is for Enchiladas only, however made thinner you may find they are suitable for wraps. If you are looking for a fajita/wrap style fluffy tortilla...the kitchen is calling me but I don't have the answers for you just yet my darling dolls. After more experimentation I will be sure to get back to you. Next up...smokey fajita's!
Gluten Free Enchiladas with Black Bean Chilli & Guacamole with a Kick
(Yield = 2)
- 1 1/3 cup Gluten Free all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 25g butter
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cornstarch mixed with water (optional)
Make the Magic Happen
1. Place in a bowl and mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, cumin and cinnamon.
2. Knead in the softened butter using your fixers to really bring it together, it should look a bit like cornmeal, and kind of lumpy!
3. Add the water bit by bit, no one wants a sticky dough that can't even be handled. It's a nightmare, it will be stuck in your fingers!
4. Mix it all together, kneading with your hands to ensure that all the lumps are out, until you have a wonderful smooth and not-too-sticky ball of dough. You don't want it to be too dry or too wet, so if you notice there is something irregular about your dough, balance it out with more water/gluten free flour.
5. Ensuring you have a clean surface to work on, sprinkle it generously with gluten free flour. Placing the dough on the surface, using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough to create a surface about 3mm thick, you can go thinner if you like, but be careful not to break the tortilla! We really enjoyed the chewiness of the tortilla which is achieved by being slightly thicker. Nom nom nom!
6. Now you need to cut out the shape of the tortilla, I used the lid of a small-medium saucepan to perfectly cut a circle. Pat with gluten free flour, to prevent sticking and place on a plate.
7. Gather the remaining dough and repeat process.
8. Heat either a griddle, skillet (I used a skillet) on a medium-high heat and place the tortilla's in one at a time. No need for oil or anything, you just place it on the hot surface and cook for 3 minutes on each side. Make sure to ensure you aren't burning the tortilla by checking the underside. Oh and don't forget to flip it!
9. VOILA...If you aren't eating them straight away, you can re-heat on the skillet for 1 minute on each side before preparing the Enchiladas or pop them straight in the oven.
|I did cook them further on the skillet... here they were a bit undercooked. But the half-by-half cooking process made them chewier.|
Vegetarian Black Bean Chili
- 2 cups black beans
- 1 red onion
- 1 can tinned tomato's
- 5 cherry/plum tomato's (variation of red, yellow, green)
- 1/2 tsp sezchuan chilli powder (this is a very spicy chilli powder I picked up at a spice store, if you don't have access to one you can replace with chilli powder or cayenne pepper, increase quantity depending on spiciness and personal palette)
- 1/2 tsp dark brown sugar
- 2 cloves fresh garlic (coarsely chopped)
- 1 red chilli (sliced)
- 5 slices of green chilli
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- sprinkle of cinnamon
- season with salt/pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Cheddar Cheese, or cheese of your choice
Make the Magic Happen
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan oven)
2. Drizzle the olive oil in the pan, toss in the sliced chilli's and coarsely chopped garlic, allowing the pungency of the chilli's and garlic to infuse the oil for 2-3 minutes.
3. Remove his skin, then chop the red onion semi-finely. Toss in the chopped onion, dark brown sugar, chopped red pepper and fresh tomato's, stirring occasionally until the onions are browned.
4. Pour in the chopped tomato's, black beans, cumin, cinnamon and chilli powder. Stir and leave to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Taste, and season with salt and pepper
6. Serve inside Enchilada
7. Place in the oven for 5 minutes
8. Take out and cover with cheddar cheese, or cheese of your choice and place back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.
|LOL..this one might be the ugly duckling...I increased my gluten free flour quantity as I was lacking a tiny bit hence the scraggly edges. It might not look as pretty as the first one, but it was just as delicious.! The updated quantities are in the recipe so you should have the right amount of dough to make 2 tortilla's like the other one.|
Guacamole with a Kick TSSS
- 1 avocado
- 5 mixed cherry tomato's
- 4 slices of red onion
- 1/2 red chilli
- 2 wedges of lime SQUEEEEZED
- Sea Salt
- Handful of fresh coriander to garnish
Make the Magic Happen
1. Slice the avocado in half, remove the stone and remove the avocado fresh using eith a knife or spoon. I have an avocado slicer that I use, I then diced the avocado. Personally, I like mine chunky!!!
2. Choose whether you want it smooth or slightly chunky: Smooth? mush it all up using a fork or blend it. Chunky? Mush half using a fork and then add the remaining chunks and mix together.
3. Cut the tomato's into 4-6 pieces and add to the avocado. I use a variation of small cherry tomato's; green, yellow and red which I pick up in season at my local market.
4. Depending on how many you are serving, you can alter the quantities. I am cooking for two, therefore I only used 4 slices of a halved red onion. The rest? Wrap him up in cling film and pop him in the fridge for another time. Chop the onion into small chunk and add to the avocado.
5. Slice the red chilli into small slices and add to the mix. Sally and I LOVE spice, red chilli fresh adds a kick, it is hot but not SUPER hot so you should be fine...trust me? That is unless all spice is too hot for you to handle, or your flat out just like BLEURGH. In which case, forget it.
6. Squeeze the lime and add some cracked sea salt.
7. Mix it up and serve with fresh coriander to garnish
Sorry Dolls! For some reason the bad lighting in my apartment made the guac look yellow...not green :D