I met Monica this September as we both started our PhD careers. She has ended up being one of the very best people I’ve met so far on this journey. She is the kind of friend who takes time out of her day to bring you a sandwich when you’re stuck at a poster presentation over lunch, a true story! We also share a great love of popcorn, which is how a true friendship is made! 😉
Monica has discussed the challenges of living in Canada with me, especially when it comes to cooking. When I asked if she would be interested in writing a post about it for the blog, she eagerly accepted. Monica runs her own gorgeous lifestyle blog and I am so honoured that she is sharing her story and recipe with us today.
Living and Cooking Abroad: The Point of View of a Mexican Living in Canada
Almost six months ago I moved to Canada, and one of the things that I still miss the most is the Mexican food. It’s hard not to have tamales for breakfast, enchiladas for lunch and pan dulce with your coffee at night. Contrary to what some people believe, Mexican food is much more than burritos. The mixture of ingredients, flavors, textures and vibrant colors is what makes Mexican food unique in its kind.
I love Mexican food not only because it tastes amazing (seriously it does), or because it represents our indigenous origins (some of the farming and cooking methods were created by ancient cultures), but because it is one of the most important links with my family. Thus, when I miss all the delicious Mexican food, I’m also missing the dinners with my parents and brother, the family reunions every weekend at my grandma’s house, and stopping after a party to buy tacos with my friends.
Cooking in a country that is new to me, has been a challenging experience. I try to cook mainly dishes that remind me of my home country, but sometimes it’s difficult to find the right ingredients. I’m not going to lie, one of the first things that my husband and I asked when we move to Canada is for a Tienda Latina. Luckily, we have two near our apartment and they sell corn tortillas! My parents keep telling me how lucky I am for finding all these products now. When they lived in Canada twenty years ago they could barely find a couple of them. Thank you, globalization!
I think food is much more than a simple meal, and for the people living away from their home country, it represents a link with what they’ve left behind. I’m glad I can share a recipe of one of my favorite dishes on Guliash Girl. This always makes me happy when I miss home: enchiladas verdes.
This a recipe for 4-6 people (15 enchiladas)
- 15 Corn tortillas
- ½ pound of cooked and shredded chicken breast
- 1 garlic glove
- 1/3 onion
- 15-18 tomatillos or 1 can (you can find them in a Latin store)
- 2 green peppers (jalapeños)
- 1/3 cup of sour cream
- Mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup of cooking oil
- ½ tablespoon salt
- 1 stems of cilantro
- Prepare the salsa verde– In a large sauce pan place the tomatillos, peppers and the onion, and cook for about 15 minutes. Then put all of these ingredients, as well as the garlic and the cilantro in the blender. Add water if it’s needed, the texture has to be liquid and smooth. Then heat the salsa in a casserole (medium heat), and leave it rest there. Add salt if necessary.
- Prepare the tortillas- In a sauce pan, heat the oil and place one tortilla. Leave it there for a few seconds, until its starts to bubble, then turn it around and repeat for the other side (7-10 seconds max per side). This is a very quick process. The tortilla has to look soft and browned, but not completely fried. Remove the tortilla and start to assemble the enchiladas individually.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Assemble the enchiladas- Soak the tortillas in the sauce, one by one, and fill them with the shredded chicken. Roll them and place them at the bottom of your casserole dish. When you have rolled all of them, add the Mozzarella cheese at the top and transfer to the oven.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, until the cheese looks melted. Add sour cream and chopped onion at the top. You can also add more salsa and cheese if necessary. I recommend to leave extra salsa at the end, since the tortilla soaks almost all of it in the baking process. Serve immediately.
Thanks again for sharing your experience and recipe with us Monica!
For those of you who haven’t used tomatillos before, Monica suggests you can find them at Latin food stores. Here are the ones that she used.
If you are hoping for a quicker or easier version of the Enchiladas or if you can’t find the tomatillos, you could use a pre-made salsa verde but Monica cautions it will not taste as good as the real thing! If you go this route, she suggests that you use water to dilute the salsa to make it less concentrated.
If you would like to do a guest post for Guliash Girl, please send me an e-mail at email@example.com or find me on Facebook.
Monica Romero is a Mexican girl living in Canada, graduate student, geographer and a lifestyle blogger. She enjoys the small things and finding new ways to live simpler but a happier life. Cooking Mexican food is one of the ways she feels less homesick in her new country.
All photos by Monica Romero.