This week, I have a more exotic recipe to share with you all. I had the chance to make an enchilada recipe that did not include any traditionally “Mexican” ingredients or meat. I cooked a hibiscus flower enchilada with a very simple – and very spicy – mango chipotle salsa.
(Also, I forgot to take photos again! I’m so sorry about that. The photo I have above is a photo of edible hibiscus flowers, one of the main ingredients that I used in the enchilada filling.)
Here are the recipes:
- 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers (I’ll talk about this ingredient later)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 2 large carrots, grated
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 small saucepan
- 1 large, heavy pot
- a grater
- a cutting board
- I would suggest by preparing your ingredients, particularly the onion and carrots.
- Bring hibiscus flowers and 2 cups water to a simmer in a small saucepan. Turn off heat and let steep until flowers are just tender (for me, that was about 6 minutes).
- Strain the water from the saucepan and reserve the flowers for the enchilada filling.
- Heat the olive oil in the large heavy pot over medium heat.
- Add the onion and sauté until soft, but not brown.
- Add reserved hibiscus flowers, carrots, sugar, oregano, and thyme.
- Stir the mixture often as it cooks. Add salt and pepper to taste. Take off heat when the liquid has evaporated (about 15 minutes for me). Try to keep this warm for when it is served.
I would suggest making this part of the recipe last so that it is warm when it’s time to dig in.
Mango Chipotle Sauce/Salsa
- 2 mangoes
- 2 habanero peppers
- 1 minced garlic clove
- a dash of red chili flakes
- 1 cup hot salsa
- 1/2 cup honey
- dash of salt and pepper
- 1 tsp butter
- a cutting board
- blender or food processor
- small saucepan
- pestle and mortar (optional)
- Start by cutting the flesh off of your mangoes and popping that into your blender or food processor. You should blend the mango flesh until you have the consistency that you like in salsa (chunks vs. no chunks, for example). Transfer your blended mango into the small sauce pan.
- Now, prepare your habanero peppers by cutting off the stems. Then, place your peppers in your mortar or blender/food processor and mash or blend until your happy with the consistency. Transfer your mixture into the saucepan.
- Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, salsa, honey, salt, pepper, and butter to the mango/pepper mixture in the saucepan. Heat the mixture on medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes.
Unfortunately, if you get to this point, you will only have enchilada filling and a very spicy salsa. Here is everything else that you might want/need to combine and complete your dish. I didn’t use all of these – gotta love a budget – but I think that these would all taste great!
- corn tortillas
- sour cream
- cheese (I like the four-cheese blend or pepper jack)
- shredded lettuce
- white rice
- To construct your enchiladas, start by spreading a layer of salsa on your corn tortilla (beware of the spice!).
- Then, add some of the filling and some rice.
- Roll that puppy up and add your fixings: shredded lettuce, sour cream, and cheese.
There, you’ve gotten to the end of this complicated and exotic recipe.
I’m sure you’re wondering why I decided to cook this particular recipe. For a couple particular reasons: edible hibiscus flowers and mangoes are hard to access outside of tropical climates, particularly year-round. I’m actually currently living in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa and mango season is just beginning so I have had access to all of these delicious ingredients.
I’ll also just mention some of my favorite parts about this recipe.
First, the hibiscus flowers. You’ll notice after you strain them that they are quite chewy. I absolutely love that you still get that chewy texture with the deliciously tangy flavor. The flowers are great and add something special to this recipe.
Secondly, I love the mango salsa. I’m not a huge fan of spicy things, but I really appreciated the sweetness that came from using fresh mangoes. Not only that, but also that making the salsa is so easy because I used a premade tomato salsa. I’m sure that you can find other recipes that allow you to make mango salsas from scratch, but I’m glad for the ability to spend limited money and limited time on this particular part of the dish.
Finally, I really like the customizable nature of the dish. As you saw in the final section of the recipe, you can add whatever you want to this West African/Mexican/American dish to make it your own. I would also highly suggest that you let people create their own enchiladas as they will be able to add as much salsa or filling or rice as they want. That was one of the best parts of sharing the recipe.
Let me know if you make this and be sure to send in photos! Good luck!
P.S. – I should also mention that I believe that you can buy hibiscus flowers from Amazon or find them in Mexican or South American food markets.