Recipe contributed by: Vera Dinshaw Springett
Vera is a copywriter by profession and loves learning new recipes. She is also the founder of the amazing Facebook group, Parsis Exchange Recipes.
I came to America from Pakistan, almost 21 years ago, to attend college. With an excruciatingly limited number of Pakistani/Indian restaurants in Des Moines, Iowa at the time (I think there was exactly one, and it was far from my college), I discovered the joys — and parallels — of nearby Mexican cuisine.
For my home-sick palate, Chicken Burritos did the trick most days. I kept my order at the neighborhood greasy taco joint simple, and mindful of a typical Chicken Roll from Karachi’s Defense Market: a flour tortilla (reminded me of back-home chapattis), grilled chicken (reminded me of chicken tikka), and Pico de Gallo (reminded me of kachumber). This version of the Mexican Chicken Burrito kept me fairly satisfied for many of my undergraduate and graduate college, non-cooking years.
Now that I’m grown and adult-ing, my husband and I still occasionally grab tacos, burritos, or another favorite of mine, quesadillas, from a local taqueria here in Chicago. As tastes change, I now enjoy the occasional addition of Mexican cheese and sour cream, among other things, to my tacos and burritos. But more than that, the crispness of a tortilla shell when it’s grilled…now that’s a game-changer.
Today, I make Chicken Tikka Rolls and even Chicken Masala Quesadillas, in my own kitchen. But they’re usually a “leftover makeover”, with a touch of Parsi-ism. I fondly refer to them as “Qaty’s Quesadillas.” Why? Because “Katy” is a popular Parsi name spelt “Qaty” in Spanish — also a common Mexican name.
Ever buy an entire rotisserie chicken that just never ends? Well, a friend of mine shared a neat little trick to transform the leftovers into a yummy, spicy chicken that will remind you of the ever-popular Chicken Masala of Karachi Gymkhana. You’re welcome.
Then, I spread this awesome cooked chicken masala onto leftover chapattis (which I always have lying around), and layer it with fresh red peppers, crisp kachumber, and a spicy shredded Mexican cheese blend. Last, but not least, I break an egg over it (because I’m Bawi, and I can), and stick it in the oven for ten minutes. I love it when that egg oozes out when I cut into the quesadillas. Garnished with everything that makes it a good ole Pars-Mex Quesadilla, this dish is easy enough for week nights, and tasty enough for even your pickiest eaters.
This post is part of my ongoing series on the blog, the A to Z of Parsi Food which has been curated in collaboration with Parsi food enthusiasts globally. For more interesting recipes follow the hashtag #AtoZChallenge mentioned below.