Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Delicious Take II

So...I just noticed that I forgot the delicious part of my previous post!!!

Yesterday was Dia de la Bandera (flag day) in Mexico. It really isn't a big deal and they don't really celebrate it but I thought I would surprise Diego with his favorite Mexican Dish Papadzules (said Pah-Pah-tsoolays). But first...the flag!

I really like the Mexican flag it has a really cool story. According to legend, the gods advised the Aztecs that the place where they should establish their city was in the place where they saw an eagle, perched on a prickly pear cactus eating a serpent. They saw this on a small island in the centre of a marshy lake that is now the zocalo (said soh-kah-loh) or the main plaza in Mexico City. So essentially Mexico City is built on a lake. They actually grew the city around the island by building rafts, they grew food, had houses and all got around in boats in canals. Xochimilco
(said soh-chi-milk-oh) is a part of Mexico City where the canals still exist and they grow decorative plants. It is the only part of the ancient Lake Xochimilco left.

Anyhow... on to the food!!! This recipe is actually quite easy (if you buy the paste and tortillas...well even from scratch it's not that bad...I have made more intensive that's for sure!!!).

These are essentially warm corn tortillas stuffed with hard-boiled eggs and topped with a pumpkin seed sauce and a tomato based sauce. This is very typical of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Ingredients (makes 16 papadzules):

4 cups of chicken broth
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 lb of papadzule paste (here I used the organic pumpkin seed butter from the superstore - make sure the butter only contains dry roasted pumpkin seeds...and maybe some oil but nothing more or it will change the flavour - you can also make it from scratch - recipe to follow)
16 corn tortillas (I made mine from scratch but they also sell some at the superstore that you can use - from scratch recipe to follow)
8 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
Pinch of salt
2 cups of tomato sauce (I will follow with this recipe - you cannot sub in with regular tomato sauce)

Bring chicken broth to a boil and season with bouillon cubes (you could sub in with veg broth, it will change the flavour a little but definitely worth a try!). Put the papadzule paste in the blender then add 1/2 of the chicken broth and blend. You want it to be a somewhat thick sauce. It will thicken as it cools, I used about 3 cups of broth and saved the rest. Do NOT heat the mixture on the stove again afterwards...the paste will begin to clump (I learned that hard way...and back to the blender it went!).

Warm up the tortillas in a pan, not the microwave or the oven. You want them to be warm and soft. Once they are warm dip them into the papadzule sauce covering the entire tortilla. Lay half of the tortilla on the plate and fill with sliced egg. You can either try to roll it like they do in Mexico or do as I did which is easier for the inexperienced like me and just fold it in half. Place 2-3 on a plate then cover with more sauce. Add a spoonful or 2 of the tomato sauce and top with a bit of egg and enjoy! They are delicious!!!

Papadzule sauce:
1 lb of thick, peeled pumpkin seeds
Salt to taste

Toast the seeds on a griddle without letting them brown. Grind by hand or with a blender, season with salt and gradually add water to form a thick paste.

Tomato sauce:

1 lb of tomatoes (I used on large can of organic whole tomatoes)
3/4 cup of onion
1 guajillo chili or large banana pepper
3 oz of oil
1 chicken bouillon cube
Salt to taste

Blend onion, tomatoes and pepper. Add oil, bouillon cube and salt and simmer uncovered on low heat stirring continually for around 30 mins or until the sauce thickens.

2 cups of Maseca (this is the brand of flour you need to buy, it is a special corn flour and no typical Canadian corn flours do not can only buy this in specialty stores like Pete's Frootique in Halifax, superstore has yet to sell it...although with more demand...) ;)

Put the 2 cups of maseca in to a bowl. Add water until the dough is like cookie dough. The break off egg sized balls. Place on a flat surface line with wax paper. Take your heaviest book and line the cover with wax paper. Place the book on top of the ball and apply even pressure until it is flat and round. You don't want it thicker than 1 cm. Alternatively you can use a tortilla press...but most people don't have one of those handy here in Canada. Peel off the top layer of wax paper, then place the tortilla paper side up into your hand and gently peel off the paper. You should ahve a nice round tortilla in your hand. Place it on a hot griddle (hot like for panckaes so the water makes a bead when you drip it on) and cook them for about 15 seconds. Touch it gently with your fingers, when it is ready to flip it will move around on the griddle like it is floating on air. Cook the other side for maybe 30 second then flip it again. Check for any raw parts as you are doing this. Once it is cooked, it should be soft and not brown anywhere but a nice very pale yellow, almost white colour still, it may or may not fill up with air. It took me a while to perfect the technique and seeing someone do it really helps. If there is interest, let me know and I will make a video. This is definitely the most complicated part of the whole recipe! The store bought ones are easier but once you have tasted the real fresh ones you can never go it is up to you... ;)

That's it for tonight!
A little bit of history and international cuisine all in one!!!


  1. I was, actually, the most interested in how to make the tortillas. :) I'll have to go look up maseca and see if our local health food co-op carries it.

  2. OMG, my mouth is watering ~ sounds delicious, Barb