Recreating the Mexican fare ~ Mexican rice w/ Smokey Chicken fajitas & chunky guacamole~

When I think intently about that one cuisine that's closest to Indian flavors, my personal preference has always been Mexican. The spices, the intense flavors the aroma that meld in together as a combination of several different spices are so reminiscent of our cuisine that it's really hard to pass it up. The remarkable similarities between Indian Mexican dishes- be it the use of tomatoes, various chillies, or even the roasting of meat to develop flavors is sometimes very surprising, but when we come to think of shouldn't really be. After all, almost all the essentials in an Indian curry like the tomato, potato even the chillies have been New World exports to our subcontinent through the Portugese invaders. And there comes the connection!Personally, I absolutely love the vibrancy - be it in the spread of dishes or the colorful serving plates...everything is so full with zest for life. The food is always as dynamic in the range depth of flavors as is their spirited decor. One place that is responsible for making me a die-hard fan of Mexican cuisine has to be La-Taquiza in LA. Tucked away in a small strip mall-like area, don't be fooled by its humble existence. I have really lost count as to how many times I have pulled my friends to join me there and converted them into La Taquiza fans ;) The decor, the people of course the taste of each of their dishes feels so authentic that I would imagine that this is exactly how food is cooked back in Mexico. So authentic and flavorful!But after moving here to the Bay, I am yet to chance upon such an authentic Mexican place but I am sure it does exist somewhere. Now with being so far from La Taquiza, it is only wise for me learn the ropes of my favorite cuisine and try it out myself. Today's post is a product of that eventful Sunday morning when armed with a strong desire to replicate tastes of my favorite Mexican restaurant with my go-to book The Cuisines of Mexico - Diane Kennedy for Mexican recipes, I set on this self satiating journey.This Mexican rice is so subtly flavored with tomato garlic sprinkled with a hint of cumin powder and jalapeno (for that much essential heat kick) that it's can shine either as a stand alone dish or a suited accompaniment to another spicy side dish.Arroz a la Mexicana (Mexican Rice) - Adapted from Diane Kennedy's recipeTip: To avoid the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan, do not stir the rice after adding in the stock.This rice tastes so good be it right out of the stove or the next morning left overs. Such a hit!As I recreated my favorite dishes at home, it comforts me to know that though La Taquiza might not be close to me anymore..its taste lingers for ever :D So until I find my next favorite Mexican haunt I will keep recreating the magic here in my kitchen comforts.So here's a question - How often do you get inspired by your favorite eating joints to create the same at home?Love,J

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  •   3 Tablespoons - Oil 
  •   1 Cup - Arborio rice (Any other rice will be fine too) 
  •   clove 1 - Garlic Chopped 
  •   1 - Jalapeno Chopped 
  •   2 Cups - Chicken stock (You can use vegetable stock too) 
  •   1/4 tsp - Salt 
  •   1 - Medium sized tomato
  •   1/2 - Medium onion
  •   1/2 tsp - Freshly roasted cumin powder
  •   1/2 tsp - Red Chili flakes (Optional)
  •   4 - Haas Avocados
  •   2 Tablespoons - Lime juice
  •   1 Clove - Garlic (Finely minced)
  •   ½ tsp - Cumin
  •   ¾ tsp - Smoked paprika
  •   ½ - Medium Onion (chopped)
  •   1 - Jalapeno (chopped) 
  •   2 Small - Tomatoes (Chopped)
  •   2 - T Chopped Cilantro
  •   ½ tsp - Salt