Heads up everyone, there is a Mexican food fiesta steamrolling through Sydney and it ain't stopping anytime soon.
With the recent onslaught of dingy tequila bars, day of the dead decorated eateries and pop up tex mex restaurants, it feels like every other week there is a new Mexican joint opening up in this humble city. And we are lovin' it. Clearly.... Taco Tuesday has now become a thing.
Think about it - have you ever met anyone who doesn't love a good bean filled burrito? A cheesy quesadilla? A mountain load of spicy nachos? And don't even get me started on guac... do you seriously know someone who genuinely doesn't love this avocado, lime, coriander taste explosion smeared onto tortilla chips?
Never, because bastardised Mexican is one of those cheap and tasty cuisines that suits every mood and occasion. Even cash strapped uni students can now afford to head out for a good meal other than for a Thai lunch special. And I think we all have a few delicious salt-rimmed margaritas to blame for a seriously sore head on a handful of saturday mornings...
And so it appears that heading out for a taco or staying in and having a burrito bowl night with friends has started to become a regular occurrence in my life. The other week, after feeling a bit restless after the usual combos, I decided to order the pumpkin quesadilla from Mexico Food & Liquor, and it was mind bogglingly good...maybe not legitimate true blue Mexican, but it certainly delivered. Because the room was moodily lit, ridiculously loud from mexican go-er cheer and I was a bit drunk off beer, I don't really remember precisely what was in it but it was delicious...warm chunks of pumpkin, toasted coconut, and some serious spice does ring a bell, however.
So this is my version of this vegetarian delight. To the pumpkin and coconut I added in some fresh coriander, avocado, lime, spicy jalapeños and some cooling sour cream, sandwiched together between corn tortillas. Me gusta!
Pumpkin Coconut Quesadillas
1 small butternut pumpkin, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted
A good dash of all - ground cumin, ground coriander, ground chilli, smoked paprika, cinnamon
Salt + pepper
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 red onion
Big handful spinach leaves or shredded lettuce
1 cup grated cheese (cheddar or a mild gouda or fetta)
Sour cream or cream cheese
Avocado - I used 2
Jalapeño hot sauce - optional I use Byron Bay Chilli co brand
Corn tortillas (or wheat)
Steam the cut up pumpkin cubes either in a microwave or a steamer for about 5 minutes or until fairly soft but not cooked the whole way through. Remove and place in a saucepan with the coconut oil over a medium heat. Fry off for a few minutes before adding the spices - and continue to cook off for a further few minutes to get the flavours going and to cook the pumpkin through. Turn off the heat and stir through the shredded coconut. Set aside. Cut the avocado into cubes and mix with the finely diced spanish onion and some fresh lime juice.
Assemble the quesadillas by spreading sour cream or cream cheese on 2 pieces. On top add some grated cheddar, the spinach leaves, the avocado, a spoonful of pumpkin, some fresh coriander and some chilli sauce. Mix and change it to suit your tastes. Place the second tortilla on top before toasting in a sandwich press or on the stove in a dry saucepan on a high heat.