Enchilada Novice help? (veggie)
I don't have much experience cooking Mexican cuisine, but a recent trip south of the border left me inspired (and with a jar of Oaxacan Mole Negro). I'd like to cook up some enchiladas for a dinner party next week, but one of the guests doesn't eat meat, and tofu seemed like a better substitute than fish. Does anyone have any tips on basic enchilada making, or on utilizing tofu in enchiladas? Or maybe I should just do them with mixed veggies?
I've looked at tons of recipes for enchiladas on line but most of them involve making your own mole or using meat. I feel like I'm over complicating a fairly simple endeavor, but I'm also feeling a little lost. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
You can always simply fill them with cheese - cheese enchiladas are always popular. Serve vegetables/salad on the side.
Mojoeater is on the right track here with his/her suggestion. Vegetables that would be used in Mexico would be calabacita (use zucchini if you don't have a Latin/Mexican market nearby. Zucchini isn't quite as sweet as calabacita), squash blossoms, corn, and a combination of these 3 vegetables. They would probably be steamed first more than sauteed, but either way perfectly fine. Just do whichever one you perfer. Cubed carrots and potato is also another option, as is spinach.
The vegetables can be mixed with cheese or left straight. There is a Mexican cheese called requeson that is very similar to ricotta. It would blend well with the vegetables. If that's not your preference but you want to add cheese, use a good melting cheese like Oaxacan cheese or chihuahua. You can sub a good quality mozz for the Oaxacan cheese. To garnish, crumble cotija cheese over the top when you're ready to serve.
Vegetables and the cheeses I mentioned will pair up very well with your jar of mole negro. If you elect to use it, you can also garnish your enchiladas with thin rings of white onion which will add a small bite to the finished dish.
Here is a pictorial showing how to assemble enchiladas if you need the help
Good luck and trust your instincts. Enchiladas are really pretty easy once you get the hang of it and they'll taste good in spite of technique or final appearance.
Just plain tacos enchilados with cheese in mole sauce are classic (use a rather melty/stringy cheese inside like quesillo; as mentioned, mozarella is probably best bet as a sub...). Smother in mole sauce and sprinkle some cilantro, raw onion rings, a crumbly queso fresco/cotija-type cheese, and maybe a couple roasted pumpkin seeds.
If squash blossoms are available, I also definitely second this rec; they're great with cheese! (Outside of the mole context, squash blossom and mushroom quesadilla is great too; but I don't know about the mole and mushroom combo.)
just a suggestion: maybe seitan would taste better,( & have more interesting texture) than tofu in enchiladas. either way, lots of interesting vegetables will serve you well. good luck.
I think that beans would be a good substitute for meat. Refried beans, which you can make yourself or buy, or kidney beans would be good. Any other beans would be fine, maybe try and use ones usually used in Mexican cooking? Mushrooms could be nice too, but I think, protein wise, beans would be best to substitute the protein in meat or fish. Tofu could be alright, but I wouldn't recommend it. Type in "vegetarian enchiladas" on your search engine, there are a few good recipes which come up.
Thank you guys so much for your advice!
I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do, but I'll report back next week after the dinner party and let you know how it turned out.
I don't have a recipe, but I had the following entree at Cafe Pasqual's in Santa Fe:
Organic Tofu Mole Enchiladas with Calabacitas, Cilantro Rice and Grilled Banana
(See www.pasquals.com. FYI, calabacitas are squash.)
It was quite good. I think the tofu may have been seared or baked prior to being stuffed in the enchiladas.
There are 2 Cafe Pasqual's cookbooks, although I am not sure if either one has this recipe.