Friday, Nov 28, 2014
Written by Meenakshi Iyer | Posted: February 22, 2014 5:44 am

The origin of chilli remained shrouded in mystery for the longest time in history. While Indians were happy to call it their own, the
truth is, chillis originated in Mexico. The ingredient was transported to the shores of various countries only after Christopher Columbus discovered it in South America.

Just like chilli, Mexican food too is often misrepresented, where most Tex-Mex cuisine — fusion food from Texas and Mexico — is often passed off as Mexican. There is a lot more to the cuisine than just burritos and enchiladas and Mexican chef Eduardo
Perez is in the city to show us exactly what these dishes are.

At Vista, the 24-hour restaurant at Taj Lands End in Bandra, a week-long Mexican food fiesta is being held that features dishes from the Yucatan region prepared by Chef Perez. A special a la carte and buffet menu has been prepared with traditional Mexican fare and staple Tex-Mex items. The meal began with a hot serving of Sopa Azteca or Tortilla Soup (Rs 385) and Crema De Elote (Rs 385) — a cornbased vegetarian soup. The Tortilla soup had a generous amount of tiny tortilla chips dipped in tangy and flavourful soup with chunks of desiccated chicken and copious amount of soft panela cheese — a softer version of paneer.

The corn soup was creamy, but the texture was more like corn-meal porridge, which may need some getting used to. However, the spicy bread croutons was a good touch to the otherwise bland preparation.

For mains, it was the Pescado Al Cilantro (Rs 1,150) — filet of fish baked and cooked in fresh cilantro base, a popular dish
from southern Mexico and a portion of vegetarian burritos (Rs 975) served with spicy sauce and sour cream. The tender fish was served with buttered rice tossed with sweet corn. The tanginess from the lime added to the freshness of the herb without overpowering the taste of the sea from the fish.

We were left in awe of this preparation as the chef skillfully managed to work all the three flavours together maintaining their distinctness. The burritos were stuffed with cooked rice but lacked the extra zing added by Guacamole sauce. We were later told by our server that avocado found in India seldom makes for a good guac. Also try the Chicken and Mole (Rs 925), red rice served with a spicy sauce made with over 15 ingredients including chillis and spices such as anise and cumin.

Our Mexican fiesta ended with Potato En Tacha (Rs 550) — a dessert made of caramelised sweet potatoes served with coconut ice
cream and Churros (Rs 550) served with chocolate sauce and hand-churned vanilla ice cream.
Visit the festival if you wish to discover the cuisine as eaten in traditional Mexican homes.

meenakshi.iyer@expressindia.com

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