Chirmol

chirmol

The more I look through the index of Salvadoran recipes I’ve shared here on Latinaish, the more I’m overwhelmed by the dishes I still have yet to share, make, or even try! I’m especially surprised to see that I haven’t shared a recipe for chirmol since this is something we make fairly often during summer months. Similar to the more famous Mexican “pico de gallo” – versions of chirmol are made in various Latin American countries. Recipes vary by family but all are based on diced tomato and onion. Chirmol can be used as a fresh, colorful and flavorful accompaniment to many dishes such as steak or grilled chicken. (Last night I made a batch which we used to top hot dogs!)

Salvadoran Chirmol

4 large Roma tomatoes, diced
1 small red onion, diced
1 small handful cilantro, chopped
a good squeeze of lime or lemon
a few shakes Worcestershire sauce
salt to taste

Optional: A few radishes diced fine, and/or 1/2 a green pepper diced. Like it spicy? Add diced or minced jalapeño.

Note: If you want to keep it really traditional, you should use only tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lemon and salt.

Directions:

Combine all of the above in a bowl and serve!

Raspado de Elote Loco

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Ya casi fue dos años que fuimos a El Salvador y cada día lo siento más y más. Aunque tenemos la esperanza de ir otra vez en 2014, por el momento tengo que aceptar la realidad que voy a pasar otro verano sin viajar allá. Para sentirme mejor, voy a cocinar todas mis comidas favoritas de El Salvador – y cuál mejor por empezar el verano que el Raspado de Elote Loco?

raspadodeeloteloco

Mi receta entonces, si ustedes quieren aprovechar de los ricos elotes frescos que ya están de temporada.

Raspado de Elote Loco

Ingredientes:

elotes (mazorcas) de maíz frescos, descascarillados y cocidos (uno por cada persona)
mayonesa
salsa de tomate (ketchup)
mostaza
salsa inglesa (o “salsa Perrins”)
queso parmesano, fresco y rallado

El método:

1. Cortar los granos del maíz del elote con un cuchillo. Llenar vasos pequeños de plástico, 3/4 llenos del maíz fresco.
2. Encima del maíz, echa algunas sacudidas de salsa inglesa, una cucharada de mayonesa, un apretón de ketchup, un apretón de mostaza, y encima de todo, una gran pizca de queso parmesano.
3. Servir con un tenedor en cada vaso.

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

It’s been almost two years now that we went to El Salvador and every day I feel it more and more. Although we hope to go back again in 2014, at the moment I have to accept the reality that I’m facing another summer without traveling there. To make myself feel better, I’m going to cook all my favorite foods from El Salvador – and what better way to start the summer than with Raspado de Elote Loco?

Here’s me recipe then, in case you guys want to take advantage of the delicious fresh corn cobs that are now in season.

Raspado de Elote Loco

Ingredients:

fresh corn cobs, husked and cooked (one per person)
mayonnaise
ketchup
yellow mustard
Worcestershire sauce
Parmesan cheese, fresh and grated

Directions:

1. Cut the corn from the cobs with a knife. Fill small plastic cups 3/4 full with the fresh corn.
2. On top of the corn, add a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce, a tablespoon or so of mayonnaise, a squeeze of ketchup, a squeeze of mustard, and on top of everything, a big pinch of Parmesan.
3. Serve with a fork in each cup.

Tu mamá

Día de la Madre (Mother’s Day) – is fast approaching in the United States. (In Latin America, as many of you know. it’s on a different day.) Are you ready to show your love to your mami on Sunday, May 12th? If you need a little help brainstorming gift ideas, here are some great guides, crafts, and recipes other blogueras have put together.

Image source: craftingeek.me

Image source: craftingeek.me

Craftingeek has dozens of crafts you can make para tu mamá. My favorite is the album scrapbook pictured above.

latinamomme2

Check out latinamom.me for their Mother’s Day Gift Guide and their gallery of Stylish Accessories Para Mamá.

Coffeecake con Frambuesas - Almuerzo con Mamá // Image source: Ericka Sanchez

Coffeecake con Frambuesas – Almuerzo con Mamá // Image source: Ericka Sanchez

Almuerzo con Mamá is a beautiful, bilingual collaboration of free recipes to make for Mother’s Day from several of my favorite foodie blogueras, like the Coffeecake con Frambuesas pictured above.

3amigasguide

The “3 Amigas” strike again with another gift guide bien bella just in time for Día de la Madre. Check it out HERE.

DIY_tissue_flowers_craft-modernmami

These Tissue Paper Flowers by guest contributor Lisa Renata on ModernMami.com almost look like the real thing. So pretty!

picmonkey

Online photo/image editor, PicMonkey, has some really creative ideas for gifts you can make with the help of a good printer. Check those out here on the PicMonkey blog.

How are you remembering your mami this Mother’s Day?

Pan, Queso Crema y Jalapeño

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

jalapenobread

El año pasado, mientras buscaba la cantidad de calorías en pan dulce, (la ignorancia es felicidad), encontré un foro de internet donde alguien mencionaba una comida que nunca había oído. La mujer dijo, (parafraseando de inglés):

Hoy un compañero trajo algunas golosinas al trabajo de la panadería mexicana. Comí algo que era como un pan francés chiquito con queso crema y jalapeños adentro. ¿Cualquiera tiene idea de cuántas calorías tiene?

En ese momento perdí el interés en calorías. Yo quería saber el nombre del bolillo con queso crema y jalapeños!

Investigué más y descubrí que es un tema popular en las panaderías mexicanas en Texas y California. Tal vez son populares en otros estados también, pero nunca los han visto en la costa este. Me decidí por hacer mi propio pan con queso y jalapeños. Aquí hay un par de metodos.

Metodo #1: En pan francés o en un bolillo que ha sido cortado a la mitad, untar queso crema. Cubra con chile jalapeño encurtido picado. Comer frío o calentarlo, si lo deseas.

Metodo #2: Compra un rollo de masa media luna. En cada triángulo de masa, untar una cucharada de queso crema y una cucharada de chile jalapeño encurtido picado. Enrolle y hornear en 375 F unos minutos hasta que quedan dorados.

Nota: Philadelphia Cream Cheese recientemente salió con un nuevo sabor, “Spicy Jalapeño.” Lo he probado y el sabor es muy bueno, pero creo que necesitaría más trozos de jalapeño antes de que yo consideraría usarlo en esta receta.

Buen Provecho!

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

Last year, while looking for calorie estimates of Mexican sweet breads (ignorance is bliss), I found an internet forum where someone mentioned a food that I had never heard of. The woman said, (paraphrasing):

Today a co-worker brought some goodies to work from the Mexican bakery. I ate something that was like a tiny French bread with cream cheese and jalapeños inside. Does anybody have any idea how many calories would be in it?

At that point I lost interest in calories. I wanted to know the name of the roll with cream cheese and jalapeños was called!

I researched and found that these rolls are a popular item in Mexican bakeries in Texas and California. Maybe they are popular in other states as well, but I’ve never seen them on the east coast. I decided to make my own bread with cheese and jalapeños. Here are a couple of methods.

Method #1: On a slice of French bread or in a bolillo that has been cut open, spread cream cheese. Top with chopped pickled jalapeño. Eat cold or warm up if you wish.

Method #2: Buy a roll of crescent dough. In each triangle of dough, spread a tablespoon of cream cheese and a tablespoon of chopped pickled jalapeno. Roll and bake at 375 F a few minutes until they are golden brown.

Note: Philadelphia Cream Cheese recently came out with a new flavor, “Spicy Jalapeño.” I tried it and it’s really good, but I think it needs more jalapeño pieces in it before I would use it in this recipe.

Enjoy!

Ensalada Rusa

ensaladarusa

As the name suggests, Ensalada Rusa, (Russian Salad), really does have roots in Russia. The popular potato salad is made with varying ingredients in countries across Latin America – this one is my own version of El Salvador’s Ensalada Rusa which features the bright color of beets. My suegra used to make a simpler version of the recipe below, (I added green onions and cilantro for flavor and color – I also leave the skin on the potatoes and use light instead of full fat mayonnaise to make it healthier.)

Serve this alongside carne asada or grilled hamburgers and you’ve got yourself a tasty summer side dish. Going to a potluck? Bring along a pretty pink batch of Ensalada Rusa and watch it stand out from all the white and yellow potato salads on the table!

ensaladarusaingredients_latinaish

Ensalada Rusa

Ingredients:

4 large potatoes – washed, boiled until tender, cooled and diced
3 large eggs – boiled, cooled, shelled, and diced
1 can of beets, diced
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
small handful green onions, washed and diced
small handful of cilantro, washed and chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. For a more authentic version of Ensalada Rusa, you can remove the potato skin, I leave it on because it’s healthy and you won’t really notice it once mixed into the salad. Some people will also say you should boil your own beets instead of using canned but Carlos and I love canned beets and that’s what my suegra used to use when preparing Ensalada Rusa in the United States.
2. In a large bowl, add the mayonnaise. (You can substitute Salvadoran crema if you wish.)
3. Add the potatoes, eggs, beets, green onions and cilantro and toss gently until combined.
4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Refrigerate covered for an hour until chilled.
6. Serves 6.

Central American Chow Mein

chowmein_latinaish

Some of you reading this are probably very excited and some of you a probably very confused – so let’s make sure we’re on the same page. Chow Mein, (also sometimes spelled Chao Mein, and often pronounced by some native Spanish speakers as “Chow Ming”), is best known as a noodle dish from China. Many people don’t realize that just as we have our Americanized versions of Chow Mein in the United States, there are well-loved versions of the dish all around the world, including in Central America.

Guatemala in particular has a great love of Chow Mein. This do-it-yourself box of “Chao Mein” (pictured below) is a brand commonly found in Latino Markets here in the U.S., and it’s made in Guatemala.

noodlebox_latinaish

Chow Mein is also a favorite in neighboring El Salvador, and ever since I’ve known Carlos, he has loved Chow Mein, and Chinese food in general.

On our first date we spent the entire day together. For lunch we ate at a hamburger place but for dinner, (yes two meals together in one day!) Carlos wanted to go out for Chinese food. As we were waiting to be served at the Chinese restaurant, two waiters were standing nearby having a conversation in Chinese. Carlos jutted his chin in their direction, “Entiendes lo que dicen?” [Do you know what they're saying?] he asked me.

“No, no hablo Chino,” I responded perplexed.
“Yo sí,” he said, smiling, and then he proceeded to invent a translation of the waiters’ conversation.

I wasn’t convinced, but as you know, we soon married anyway. Years later Suegra moved in. When Suegra lived with us and we would go out to eat, we often ended up at Chinese buffets because it was the one cuisine she wouldn’t complain about. I never ate so much Chinese food in my life until I married a Salvadoran!

So, with that being said, here is my version of Salvadoran Chow Mein, which is basically the same as Guatemalan Chow Mein, although families each have their own unique way of making it.

Chow Mein (Central American style!)

Ingredients:

1 package of “Chao Mein” noodles, or any brand Chow Mein Stir Fry Noodles
1 cup raw mushrooms, sliced
1 cup chayote (also known as güisquil), julienned
1 cup carrot, julienned
1 cup celery, julienned
1/2 cup green onion, (sliced lengthwise and then cut in 1 inch pieces)
5 chicken thighs, cooked and shredded (see notes below)
oil for frying (sesame oil and/or canola oil)
1/3 cup soy sauce (low sodium soy sauce can be used)

Notes Before We Get Started:

• It’s not necessary to buy the box of “Chao Mein” noodles pictured above. The box contains the noodles, a little packet of soy sauce (not nearly enough for my recipe), and 2 seasoning packets which I discarded because they contain MSG which I avoid. You can buy any Chow Mein Stir Fry Noodles. You may need to buy 2 packets of Chow Mein noodles depending on the size of the packages. You’ll want about 12 ounces to feed a hungry family of six people.

• This recipe is very flexible, feel free to try different vegetables and to increase the vegetables to make it healthier. You can also replace the dark meat chicken with chicken breast meat, steak or shrimp. I used green onions because that’s what I had on hand, but any type of onion you like can be used.

• If using chicken, you can cook it however you like. I cook it like this: Boil the chicken thighs in water with a little annatto (also known as “achiote”), a little salt, a little pepper, 1/2 an onion and a tablespoon of minced fresh garlic. After the chicken has cooked through, remove to cool. Once cool, discard the skin and bones. Shred the meat by hand and set aside. (The leftover broth can be used in another recipe.)

• For those who aren’t familiar, chayote (“güisquil” to Central Americans), is a type of squash, usually light green in color and about the size of a fist with one puckered side. The flavor is very mild and pleasant. To use chayote in this recipe, wash it and then julienne it, (i.e. cut it approximately into the size and shape of matchsticks or shoestring-style french fries.) You do not need to peel it but there is a small white seed in the middle you should discard.

• You can use sesame oil or canola oil for frying. I like to use equal amounts of both. The sesame oil gives it a nice flavor which helps make up for the fact that I discard the “condiment/flavoring” packets.

Directions:

1. Prepare all vegetables while the chicken cooks. Put the vegetables in a large bowl together and set aside.
2. Prepare chicken (see notes above), and then set aside.
3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put the noodles into the water and cook about 5 minutes until al dente, being careful not to overcook them.
4. Remove the noodles to a colander to drain. Set aside.
5. In a large skillet over high heat add a few tablespoons of oil. Use either canola oil or sesame oil, or use equal amounts of both, (which is what I do.)
6. When the oil is very hot, add the vegetables, and stir them continuously for one to two minutes.
7. Add the chicken and continue stirring for another minute.
8. Add the noodles and continue stirring for another minute.
9. Add 1/3 cup soy sauce, stir and remove from heat.
10. Serve and enjoy!

Salvadoran Chuletas

chuletas_latinaish

When I say “chuletas” you may think of lamb chops or pork chops and their distinctive shape, but Carlos asked me to make Salvadoran Chuletas which are something entirely different.

At first I thought Carlos was playing a trick on me because the food he described sounded really strange. He said Salvadoran Chuletas look like a meatball wrapped around a strip of tortilla. I questioned him further. “Are you sure this isn’t something your mother invented? Is this really a Salvadoran dish that other people will recognize?” – He assured me this is a real Salvadoran dish. I asked if the meatball part goes on the end of the tortilla strip so that at least it’ll look more like a lamb chop, but he insisted it goes in the middle.

With Carlos’s descriptions and encouragement, I gave it a try, and he says I hit the jackpot – so I present to you Salvadoran Chuletas, (or “Chuletas de Carne Molida.”) I have no idea how this dish came to exist in El Salvador but I imagine a hungry husband telling his wife that he wants chuletas for dinner. The wife goes to the kitchen, knowing full well that they don’t have such an expensive cut of meat, and she creates these fake “chuletas” out of day old tortillas and carne molida in the hopes of tricking her husband.

If you know the real story or anything else about Salvadoran Chuletas de Carne Molida, be sure to leave a comment! For now, here is my recipe.

Salvadoran Chuletas

Ingredients:

2 lbs. ground meat (beef, turkey or chicken)
1 handful fresh cilantro, washed and chopped
1/2 a medium onion, chopped fine
1/2 a medium green pepper, chopped fine
2 eggs
1 cup bread crumbs
1 heaping tablespoon fresh minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

canola oil (for frying)
5 thick corn tortillas

Directions:

1. Fry the cooked tortillas in a little oil until slightly crunchy. Remove and cool. Cut into thick strips. Set aside. (Leftover handmade tortillas work best for this.)
2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the tortilla strips and oil. Mix by hand.
3. Take a small handful of the meat mixture, (a little larger than a golf ball), and a strip of tortilla. (Choose the longest strips of tortilla. The short strips can be discarded or reserved for a different recipe.)
4. Mold the meat mixture around the strip of tortilla so that you have tortilla poking out at each end with a meatball-like shape in the middle. Make sure you don’t make the meatball too rounded or big or they won’t cook through when frying.
5. Fry in oil over medium heat, turning to brown on each side. Do this in batches, removing to drain on paper towels when finished.
6. Serve with rice and fresh salsa. Makes approx. 15 to 20 chuletas.

Sopa de Fideos con Huevo

sopafideo

Carlos says that this recipe is for a hangover but we usually eat this with sandwiches for an easy Sunday afternoon lunch. I often use Maggi brand soup packets but if you want to avoid MSG by making this from scratch, check out the variation below!

Sopa de Fideos con Huevo

Ingredients:

1 packet Maggi brand “Pollo con Fideos” soup mix
4 cups water
2 eggs

Directions:

1. Follow directions on the Maggi packet to make the soup as usual.

2. During the last minute of the soup’s simmering time, remove the pot’s lid and crack 2 eggs into the broth. Immediately stir with a fork to break up the yolk.

3. Place the lid back on the pot. Simmer an additional 2 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and ladle into bowls. Serve. (Optional: We like this with Ritz crackers crushed on top.)

Variation:

1. Bring 4 cups of chicken stock to a boil. Drop in 1/2 to 1 cup small “fideo” noodles. (If you can’t find the little “fideo” noodles pictured above, any tiny noodle is fine, or use angel hair spaghetti broken in 1/2 inch pieces.)

2. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until noodles are tender. Crack 2 eggs into the broth. Immediately stir with a fork to break up the yolk.

3. Place the lid back on the pot. Simmer an additional 2 minutes. To add a little more flavor to the soup consider any combination of salt, pepper, dried thyme, dried parsley, and/or dried basil.

4. Remove from heat and ladle into bowls. Serve. (Optional: We like this with Ritz crackers crushed on top.)

Enchiladas

enchiladas2

When I say “enchiladas” – what do you imagine? A burrito-like dish covered in spicy red sauce and melted cheese? Well, for El Salvador and some other Central American countries, enchiladas are a different dish entirely. While each person has their preferences, here is my version: A fried tortilla colored with achiote (annatto) forms the foundation, then in layers, mayonnaise, seasoned ground beef, curtido (Salvadoran cabbage salad), sliced hard boiled eggs, a heavy sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and a few squirts of ketchup! Pick up your enchilada and eat it with your hands. Here’s the recipe, (and some notes on other variations you can try!)

Enchiladas

Ingredients for the ground beef:

1 lb. ground beef
a few generous dashes Salsa Perrins (also known as “Worcestershire sauce”)
1 teaspoon achiote powder
salt to taste

Ingredients for the tortillas:

3 cups corn flour (MASECA is the brand I use)
a little less than 4 cups water
1 tablespoon achiote powder
a pinch of salt
oil for frying (I use Canola)

Toppings

6 eggs – hard boiled, peeled and sliced
Curtido (recipe here)
mayonnaise
Parmesan cheese
Ketchup (optional)

Directions:

1. In a pan, fry the ground beef seasoned with Worcestershire sauce, achiote powder and salt. (If using lean ground beef, add a little oil to fry.) Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine corn flour with achiote powder and salt. Stir dry ingredients with a fork to combine before adding water. Add water a little at a time, combining with your hands as you go. You will use almost 4 cups of water, but 4 cups is too much, so don’t add it all. You want the masa (dough) to be very moist but not so wet that you can’t shape it with your hands.

3. Heat oil in a large pan. Shape masa into tortillas, (If you don’t know how to do this with your hands, some people cheat by smashing a ball of dough between the bottoms of two plates covered in plastic wrap.)

4. Fry the tortillas a few at a time without crowding them in the pan. Flip to brown on both sides. Remove to paper towels to drain off some of the oil.

5. Time to assemble your enchiladas! Slather mayonnaise on each tortilla. Top with the following in this order: ground beef, curtido, sliced egg, Parmesan, ketchup. This recipe makes approximately 12 enchiladas.

6. Variations: Enchiladas can be made different ways – just like a hamburger. You can use whatever toppings appeal to you. Some people top their enchiladas with tomato slices, radish slices, and fresh avocado; other people use refried beans instead of mayonnaise, tomato sauce instead of ketchup, and grilled chicken in place of ground beef.

enchiladas1

What do you put on your enchiladas?

Salvadoran-style Birthday Cake

salvadorancake

Being married to Carlos over these past 15 years, one thing I’ve learned is that American birthday cake and Salvadoran birthday cake are very different.

Carlos will eat American birthday cake, but he doesn’t really like it.

Today was Carlos’s birthday and for the past few weeks, all he’s been talking about is Salvadoran birthday cake. I got the hint and asked him plenty of questions about it so I could make him one. Carlos says that growing up in El Salvador he always got a cake from a bakery called Flor de Trigo on his birthday. The cake part was moist but didn’t have a strong flavor, the frosting was only very slightly sweet. The cakes were usually layer cakes with fruit decorating the top.

I did some research, (even found the Flor de Trigo website!) and this is what I came up with.

cakecollage2

The cake is a white cake (from a box mix just to save some time), and the “frosting” is a homemade whipped cream. Sliced almonds decorate the sides, and the fruits I chose were strawberries and apricot. Carlos gave me muchos besos and said it’s just like a Salvadoran birthday cake. Here’s the recipe if you want to give it a try!

Salvadoran-style Birthday Cake

Ingredients:

1 box white cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Classic White)
1 quart heavy whipping cream
1/2 to 3/4 cup white sugar (more if you prefer sweeter)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 cups sliced almonds
1 pint fresh strawberries, washed and sliced
1 can apricot halves, drained and sliced
1 can (12 oz.) “apricot cake & pastry filling” (I used “Solo” brand)

Directions:

1. Make cake according to package directions. If you have two round pans, use those. If not, you can do what I did – Put it all in a well greased 13 x 9 glass baking dish. Once baked and cooled, carefully turn onto a clean surface and slice in half to create 2 square layers. (Since the edges get browned while baking, slice those off so it’s uniform on all sides.)

2. This is how you make homemade whipped cream. (I recommend making this and assembling the cake the same day you plan to eat it.) First, it’s best if you have a large stainless steel bowl, but a plastic mixing bowl will work. Metal is better because you can get it nice and cold. Cold is your friend when making whipped cream! … Whichever bowl you’re using, stick it in the freezer along with the metal beater(s) from your electric mixer. The heavy whipping cream should be kept in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. To make the whipped cream – pour the quart of whipping cream into the bowl. Turn your mixer on high and beat until stiff peaks form. Add a 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and sugar according to your tastes, (1/2 cup to 3/4 cups makes it just barely sweet by American standards.)

3. Put one cake layer on a base – this will be the bottom layer. (Ideally your base would be the bottom of a cake container which you can cover with a dome lid.) Spread the can of “apricot cake & pastry filling” on the top of the bottom cake layer. On top of the “apricot cake & pastry filling”, spread a layer of whipped cream. Top with the top cake layer.

4. Frost the entire outside of the cake with the whipped cream. Carefully toss the sliced almonds onto the sides of the cake.

5. Decorate the top of the cake with the sliced apricots and strawberries. (This recipe will work great if you decide to use different fruits or a different “cake & pastry filling” – so get creative! Other options include fresh or canned pineapple, fresh kiwi, canned fruit cocktail, and other kinds of berries.)

6. Cover cake and refrigerate for a couple hours then serve!

¡Feliz Cumpleaños! (or as I like to say, “Sapo Verde!“)