March 13, 2009

Beef Tacos...

A couple of weeks just ran by. I stopped to look but it was too fast for me, running as I was to get all the crazy things that only moms think need to be done. My Hindi music craze has just come to an end, thanks to a virus that rode on my browser and hijacked into my computer. No more downloads. Karma, some people would say.:)
Anyway, I just could not get this virus out of my computer and finally had to reformat it. Lost some info and got setback momentarily but now I have a clean "new" computer.:)
Phew!Surfing is as dangerous as living in a war stricken zone. You don't know where and when you are going to get hit.

In another twist,a family friend lost all their belongings in an apartment fire that started in their neighbor's apartment.They escaped unhurt due to another neighbor's timely warning. Cause as yet unknown. What escaped the fire got damaged by the fire fighter's water. They had time to just grab their kids,documents and jackets. So all the past few years of weekend shopping and parties and birthday gifts etc all got reduced to what you can hold in your hands and leave. The only thing my friend really worried about was the kids photo albums and videos.:)I agree with her...memories are hard to find and rebuilt.

If you had to leave everything and go, other than yourself and the kids, what would be the one thing you would really want to take? Needless to say, we first organized our documents into a grab-and-go bag over the weekend. My little one chose the DS as the indispensable treasure (The game cube needs the TV to work, so DS is more portable.)

Our friends are slowly getting rehabilitated in another apartment. The insurance will cover most of the stuff but how can you put a value on certain things? Makes you get a reality check in this recession period. There was a time after we came here and started earning that every weekend was an exercise in consumerism..and now that we reduced shopping due to myriad reasons, the Govt is saying "economic stimulus, go spend some money...":))

well, anyway, this is my foolproof dinner to appease all kinds of appetites at home..Spicy, has NV, has veggies and is wholesome. A taco is the Mexican equivalent of Chapathi/roti. We eat the chapathi with our hands, breaking a piece and scooping up the curry and vegetable. The taco is eaten simply as a roll or folded in half and stuffed with the fillings. The fillings can be grilled chicken, ground beef, or anything you can think of. Here I used ground beef, cheese, avocados, yogurt cream and shredded lettuce. You could substitute the avocados with guacamole and the cheese with shredded carrot too.

You Will Need:
Lean Organic Ground beef-1 pound
onion -1 chopped finely
Garlic -3 cloves, minced
Jalapeno peppers/Hot Green chili -3, chopped
Chili powder( Paprika/Kashmiri Red Chili Powder)-1 teaspoon
Roasted and Powdered Cumin-1 tablespoon
Oregano(Fresh/frozen)-1 tablespoon(Use less if using dried oregano)
Fresh cilantro-2 tablespoons
Cayenne pepper/Paprika-1/2 teaspoon
Your choice Salsa-1 cup
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup of oil
Lime juice-1 tablespoon


Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and peppers, and saute for about 5-8 minutes. Add the meat and let it brown evenly, taking care to keep breaking up the lumps. Add all the other ingredients including the salsa except the lime juice and cilantro, stirring occasionally until meat is browned.
Cover the pan/skillet, turn heat down to low, and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The whole mix should be semi-dry with not too much of the liquid left. Add the lime juice and the cilantro and mix well. Adjust salt to taste.

Note:No salsa? Substitute with the following mix: 2 chopped tomatoes, one green bell pepper chopped finely, 1 teaspoon of vinegar and one bunch of scallions chopped finely.

To serve: Heat a tortilla on a skillet till it puffs up. Spread either the guacamole or yogurt cream, place some of the beef, and fold in half and top with cheese and lettuce.

Yogurt cream: Just a substitute for sour cream. Hang yogurt in a muslin cloth or line a handled sieve with a paper towel and hang over a deep bowl. Keep this in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours or even over night and you will get thick creamy yogurt. Add 1 crushed garlic, a bit of salt and 1/2 tsp olive oil for a yummy spread.

One ripe avocado, mashed
1 tbsp Lime juice
3-4 green chilies or 1 jalapeno
1 small Red onion, finely chopped
1 Tomato, chopped
1/2 cup Fresh cilantro, washed and coarsely chopped
Sea salt
The avocado is ripe when it is dark and soft to press. Mash the whole avocado into a bowl with a fork . Take 3-4 green chilies or jalapeno peppers, 1/2 tsp of salt and 2 cloves of garlic. In a mortar, crush this with a pestle or heavy stone till it is all mixed in. The sea salt helps in crushing it finely. Scrape this mix into a bowl, and add the rest of the ingredients and taste. You may want to add more lime juice or salt or adjust the amount of tomato, onion, etc.
Once you do this once, you will be able to change the taste to your liking.. less spicy, more sour, no onions, ..whatever.
If you add some of the yogurt cream to this, it becomes a dip for the tortilla chips.


A_and_N said...

I'd replace the beef with the beans :) but I love the easiness of this recipe!

Anonymous said...

thank god..ur friend and family are okay! young kids??

hav seen tortilla's in the store. havn't tried..lookd like colouless roti ;)


Anonymous said...

Shaheen too many sad news there...Once in a while comes and when it comes,come together...So,the virus is finally out..
Beef Tacos looks great which i havent tried yet..lemme see

Corinne Rodrigues said...

Love your blog - there's an award for you waiting on my blog


RP said...

Glad your friend and family are fine.
Hmm..we do have a fire and waterproof chest where we keep all the important documents. I think I am going to put the photos and videos in there. Thanks for the cue.

Do you use the Indian chilli powder for this? Sounds like a spicy version. Yeah, the ingredient combination in this kind of dish is always super hit.. whether it is in soft taco, crispy ones, or made it in the form of a taco salad. We love it in any form.

Happy cook said...

I have never made tacos or ate them as mexican food is not that popular here, should give it a try.

mona said...

Good, finally everythingz alright!
The tacos look yumm!

mathew said...

a variation of this called the Doner Kebap a turkish speciality is quite common here..thought they have some sauce inside as well..usually mayo...i love this for a quick bite.

Mallugirl said...

A and N, Easy..yes and beans is a good substitute..even paneer.

Ki, small kids..under 5..tortillas are a colorless flavor unless u toast them into quesadillas or fill them with lots of fillings. but chapathis don't as taste as good with these same fillings.. strange!!

Ann, not really sad news.. just happenings.:(( we live to see all kind of happenings.

corinne, Thanks a lot and your blog is a real find. You have a lot of depth in your writings.

RP, good catch.. the Chili powder i use is not too hot so i used liberally , but i modified the recipe to be specifically paprika or mild chili.

Superchef said...

thats so bad what happened to your friends!! but thank god, they left unhurt! the tacos look perfect!

Divz said...

shaheen...i am so disturbed after reading abt ur friends loss!! i can imagine how bad a situation is that..

i donot eat beef thus shall try with chicken..ur yoghurt cream looks so perfect..

Myra said...

Shaheen,So sorry to here about your friends,no human damage which is the main thing,
The first thing that came into my mind was my cat,i could never abandon him! then family photos,good idea for the grab and go bag!
Taco's look yummy,no meat for meat,i would replace it with your
Pepper Mushroom Stir Fry!!!
i agree with you Corinne, Shaheen has lot of depth in her writing bravo!!!!!
Well you can say your laptop has had a spring clean!!!!!
yours Myra

farah said...

Sad news about your friend's house...but thank God the family is fine.

Your beef tacos looks delicious...a must try...

Sandeepa said...

That must have been scary. Should think about this and have a plan, most photos are in the computer so if that goes it is gone. Should take a bcakup and store it away soon

These tacos are always great meals

Vani said...

Posted something Mex just today :) The tacos look yum!
A colleague of mine lost his house in the California fires last year. And that was the call we needed to have a "grab bag" in case of mishaps like that.
Life's scary sometimes, na? Never know what is round the corner. Glad to know your friends and the kids were unhurt.

bee said...

that's so sad to hear that your freind lost everything. atleast they are safe. i'd take my backup drive for my computer. it's got all my files. and my small fireproof safe. it has the documents. plus my telephone book.

Nish said...

Hi Shaheen...Thanks a lot for inviting me as a reader of your blog.I love your blog so much eventhough I am a new reader..I would appreciate your way of presentation of the dishes which you prepare....
Sad to hear the mishaps...
Install some powerfull Antivirus s/w...or you can go for AVG way is to keep back up always...We can not predict the virus activities...
Beef Taco is nice..easy to prepare I suppose..
I want to prepare but before that I have to collect all the ingradients...

Take care...

Mallugirl said...

Happy cook, Mexican food is more common here i guess. Since there is spice in their food, i like it..though the food u get commonly here is Americanised mexican..tons of cheese and less spice!!

Mona, thanks for ur wishes.. yeah, the friends are doing well.

Mathew.. doner kebab isin't that like a shawarma?I have a Fav Turkish restaurant here that serves that..yeah, they do have mayo in it..white sauce, right?

Mallugirl said...

Superchef.. U could try it with paneer or any grilled veggies. Its just a rolled chapathi.

Divz, we found out thru the news and couldn't grasp that such things happen to our friends.. its like .. it only happens to some unknown on the news!!

Geeta said...

Delicious with lean ground turkey too.
I like the oregano in it...nice recipe.

Geeta said...

RE. your friends tragedy, my thoughts and prayers are with them.

As long as they are all alive and unharmed, re-building will take time but will be done without the additional trauma of human loss which is irreplacable.

Everybody, please store pictures on web albums like Picasa/Flicker and on a back up drive or Cd's/USB Drives that are then stored at a different location from where you live.
Send web albums to close family members so they also have a copy of your precious pictures.
Do it NOW.

Mallugirl said...

Myra, u have a cat!! well, pets are akin to kids so that doesn't count.. you have to think of what else you would take and go.

Bervin, your comment was received but I didn't post it here as it had too much personal info. Hope its ok with you.

Mallugirl said...

Farah, yeah, the friends are getting better.. try the beef and increase the spice if u want.

vani, saw ur yummy quesadillas yesterday itself!!life is unpredictable. I guess the construction practices are also to blame.

Bee, telephone book.. good call. never thot of that.

Nish. yeah we have all kinds of fire wall now.

Geeta, life is the most vvaluable thing, but when every thing else is gone, you start to wonder where to begin again.

Bervin said...


Feel free I just thought of sharing those things...don't mind about being posted..

kookie said...

That was very yumm.. ur beef tacos! Thanks Shaheen. The yogurt spread was fantastic.