Although the festive season is a season of indulgence, it doesn’t have to be for everyone desperately looking to curb their calorie intake. Healthy meals during the festive season don’t need to be frowned upon because today there are tons of people who are either eating wisely to maintain their diets or just because they cannot sink their teeth into everything because of food intolerances. Like I had mentioned before, I know a lot of people who are gluten free and I am always on the lookout for meal ideas that will ease them and help them enjoy whenever I am entertaining people at my place.
When I came across this simple recipe in a cookbook I bookmarked it right away. Corn tortilla (pronounced as ‘thor-thee-ya’) is a great option for people who can’t eat wheat based breads. When baked to perfection they can be a great finger food option as they are crisp and addictive.
If you are unable to find corn tortilla where you live you can make it at home by using maize flour (makkai ka atta) which is actually the flour made out of dried corn kernels. Maize flour should not be confused with cornflour which is nothing but cornstarch, a fine, talc like powder used to thicken soups or make custard etc. Tortillas are nothing but chapathis made from maize flour and is a great option for gluten free food. Foods that we must incorporate in our regular meals.
What I loved best about this recipe is the filling that went into the cups – this amazingly flavourful kidney bean salad with a myriad of flavours was just so wonderful to eat all by itself. It is a great option for a simple, easy to make and delicious salad on your festive menu. Kidney beans are a much loved pulse in India but contrary to what I believed, it originated in Peru in South America thousands of years ago and was brought to India by the Mexicans.
I do hope you try this delightful snack and enjoy it with your loved ones this Christmas!
Mexican Snack Cups
Prep time: 20 mins | Baking time: 6 mins | Yield: 18-20 snack cups
For the cups:
- 8 corn tortillas (pronounced as ‘thor-theeyas’) * see notes before proceeding
- 2-3 tablespoons corn or vegetable oil for brushing
For the filling
- 1 can (400gms), red kidney beans (ready to eat) * see notes
- 1 small bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 1 large tomato, deseeded and chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1 small green chilli, deseeded and minced
- 1/2 teaspoon of lime zest (grated rind of a lime or lemon)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped coriander
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup (or substitute with honey, jaggery or unrefined sugar)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
Other things required:
- 2 small bun pans of 6 holes (or a 12 hole muffin tray)
- 2 inch (5cm) round pastry cutter or any mould/template that will help you cut 2 inch rounds
1. Preheat oven to 200 C. Keep the muffin mould/bun pan ready.
2. Heat a griddle/tawa and lightly warm up the tortillas, brushing them with a few drops of oil on both sides. Transfer gently into a hot box lined with clean kitchen cloth to keep warm.
3. Place a tortilla on a flat surface/chopping board and cut out 2-3 rounds using the pastry cutter. Do not discard the tortilla trimmings (sides) – you can bake them again to make delicious chips.
4. Press the tortilla rounds into the bun tray – you will get a slight frill, this is what we need. Bake for 6-7 minutes and transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely. The cups will harden once cooled. Be careful not to break them.
5. To make the filling, drain the kidney beans from the can and rinse it once. Transfer to a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients mentioned under ‘for the filling‘. Check seasoning and keep aside.
6. Once the cups have cooled, spoon the filling inside each of them, garnish with chopped coriander and serve immediately.
1. Tortillas are usually made of corn, but the ones made of wheat are also available. If you are using tortillas made from only corn, they will be slightly hard and brittle, so it is important to warm them up slightly before cutting out the rounds otherwise they will break.
2. You can bake the tortilla cups in advance and store them in airtight containers to be used later.
3. If you don’t find readymade tortillas where you live, you can make your own by using maize flour (makkai ka atta) which is actually the flour made out of dried corn kernels. Maize flour should not be confused with cornflour which is nothing but cornstarch, a fine, talc like powder used to thicken soups or make custard etc.
4. Instead of canned kidney beans you can use homemade ones too by soaking kidney beans for at least 8-10 hours in ample water and then pressure cooking it with a little salt till tender (but not mushy)
Recipe adapted from The Complete Creative Cook by Frances Cleary