Last weekend I had the opportunity to go to the American Museum of Natural History and explore a special exhibition called “Our Global Kitchen.” More specifically they had a special section of a replica of an Aztec Market as it was back in 1541 (not sure why that year). As I came across that I got the chills. Almost every single ingredient there, was something I grew up eating; a lot. I have always known that I must have been part Aztec but I never knew that their cuisine was imbedded in me.
One ingredient that I stood out and was highly talked about was the Chayote. This is a vegetable similar to a squash that is native to Mexico. My mom grew these in our garden and I would eat them very often. It was just so special to learn more about my ancestors and find that my cuisine in 2013 is still being influenced by the Aztec cuisine from 1541!
As a tribute to my Aztec roots I decided to create a torta that any vegetarian would love that is high on potassium, fiber, protein, and many other vitamins and minerals using a Chayote.
These are easy to find now a days in Hispanic markets and I often see them in Asian markets as well.
Yields: approximately 4 tortas
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup Panko crumbs
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon pink Hymalian salt
1 tablespoon Nutrition Yeast
2 tablespoons of corn startch
1 red onion
4 jalpeños en escabeche
1 cup refried Mayocoba beans
4 torta breads (telera or bolillo)
- Slice your red onion very thinly and place in a bowl with water for about 5 minutes. Then remove water and add the juice of one lime plus a pinch of salt. Let it sit to pickle.
- Mix all bread crumbs, onion powder, garlic powder, sweet paprika, black pepper, salt, and nutritional yeast.
- Beat your egg in a separate plate and set aside.
- Slice your chayote into 1/4 inch thick rounds. Dry off excess water on both sides. Then dust all of them with the corn starch. This will keep the moisture inside the chayote and away from the breading so that it doesn’t become slimy.
- Dip, one chayote round at a time, into the egg mixture and then coat it with the breading.
- Place chayote patties on a lightly oil coated baking sheet.
- Once all chayote patties are ready, cook in a 350 degree oven for approximately 40 minutes. Until the breading is crispy and the inside of the chayotes are cooked. They should be crispy on the outside yet soft like a squash on the inside, but firm.
- You can also fry your chayote patties. They are quite delicious fried yet less healthy.
- Smash your avocados to the point it creates a chunky paste. Add a pinch of salt and some lime juice so that it doesn’t oxidize so quickly.
- Slice, lengthwise, some jalapeños en escabeche.
- Cut your torta bread in half. Spread your smashed Mayocoba beans on the bottom half of the bread and the avocado on the other half.
- Place one or two chayote patties on your bottom torta bread with beans. Then add the pickled red onions. Top with the jalapeños and place the top half of the bread with avocado on top.
Wow! These are so yummy. A great vegetarian torta and even an alternative to a veggie burger.
Feel free to post your comments or questions.
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