This year, Mother’s Day in Canada will be celebrated this Sunday, May 12 2019; on the other hand, Mother’s Day in Mexico is always celebrated on May 10. While my mom and my sister will probably share a moment together in Mexico, I will be giving them a phone call to wish them a happy day, and probably talk about our time together in Culiacan during my recent visit; for example, the photo below was taken by my brother in-law at “Café Marimba”:
This could have been the perfect scene for a Mother’s Day brunch! I ordered a platter listed on the menu as “El colachito de la nana” (“Grandma’s Little Jumble”), consisting of a zucchini stir-fry with a side of red chilaquiles and refried beans:
Colachito is a diminutive form of colache, the local name for zucchini stir-fry; the full name of my platter from the restaurant menu would have also been perfect for Mother’s Day, since “nana” is an informal name for grandmother.
This week my husband is away on a business trip (comes home tonight); my omnivorous daughter just finished her bachelor’s degree, and has promptly escaped on a celebratory cruise (comes home on Saturday.) So, it is quality time with my vegetarian daughter (she is here just for this week, on her way to a summer research stay in Denmark). I suggested recreating this platter for the two of us, since it is a wonderful meatless meal.
Sinaloa Style Zucchini Stir Fry – Colache
Ingredients (2 portions)
1 large zucchini
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt to taste
Wash and dry zucchini; remove ends, and slice in half lengthwise (photo below, left); slice each half into long strips (photo below, centre), then slice crosswise to obtain small pieces (photo below, right):
Set aside. In a large frying pan, warm up oil over medium heat; add chopped onions and sauté for about one minute (photo below, left); incorporate zucchini (photo below, right):
Continue stirring for another minute, then lower the heat, and cover (photo below, left); allow to simmer for ten minutes, then uncover (photo below, right):
Check doneness to taste (I like the zucchini still slightly crunchy) and season with salt. Remove from heat and serve as soon as possible, while still hot.
As I mentioned in a previous post about chilaquiles, there are “… endless combinations of sauce, chips, crispiness, and toppings for this dish …” and ” … when pressed for time, or if corn tortillas are not available, good quality restaurant-style bagged tortilla chips will do in a pinch.” I am using store-bought tortilla chips to avoid deep frying, and because I found an organic brand with great taste:
The traditional Sinaloa style chilaquiles may be distinguished from other recipes for the use of ancho peppers in the sauce and, although not commonly offered these days, for its tortilla chips with the unique feature of being filled with cheese!
Sinaloa Style Red Chilaquiles –
Chilaquiles Rojos Sinaloenses
Ingredients (for two generous portions)
2 large ancho peppers
2 cups water
1 small tomato (optional, I used one Roma tomato)
¼ large onion
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 cups good-quality bagged tortilla chips (or 4 cups day-old tortilla triangles and plenty of oil for frying)
½ cup fresh cheese, sliced thinly (Cotija, light feta)
¼ cup Mexican cream (or sour cream diluted with milk)
Chopped cilantro or lettuce
Wipe peppers with a damp cloth, to remove dirt; open sides with a pairing knife, remove and discard stems and seeds (photo below, left); bring the water up to a boil in a saucepan and add cleaned peppers (photo below, right):
Boil for one minute, then remove from heat and allow to cool down, uncovered. Meanwhile, wash tomato and slice into pieces, removing stem end. This ingredient is optional; the traditional recipe does not include it, but I like the added tanginess and texture. Place tomato pieces in a blender jar. Peel onion, cut into pieces and add to the blender jar; peel garlic, slice in half and add to the jar. Once cooled, add peppers and water to the blender jar, along with the salt (photo below, left); process for about one minute, until smooth (photo below, right):
In a saucepan, warm up one tablespoon of oil over medium heat, then pour sauce in through a sieve (photo below, left); stir the sauce, pressing it through the sieve with the back of a spoon, until only solids are left (photo below, right):
Discard solids in the sieve, and allow sauce to cook, uncovered, for ten minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens; set aside.
To “stuff” the tortilla triangles, place a single layer on a large microwave-safe plate; top with cheese (do not skimp on the amount for extra cheesy flavour, yum!) Top cheese with another tortilla triangle (photo below, left); microwave for fifteen to twenty seconds, just enough time to soften the cheese so it will stick to the tortilla triangles (if using bagged chips, set aside at this point; if using day-old tortillas, fry in plenty of oil until crispy.) Right before serving, soak cheese-stuffed tortilla chips in the sauce for a few seconds (photo below, right):
Remove onto a serving plate, and top with chopped cilantro (or lettuce) and drizzle with cream.
To assemble the platter as shown at the top of the post, start by preparing the sauce for the chilaquiles, keep covered, and set aside (it may even be prepared in advance, and reheated before serving.) Second, prepare a batch of refried beans following my recipe from a previous post. The third step is to cook the colache, and when almost ready, fix the tortilla chips stuffed with cheese. Right before serving, soak cheesy chips in the reserved sauce, place them on a serving plate, then top with lettuce and cream; add a scoop of refried beans on the side, and finish with a generous portion of colache:
This plate is so easy to assemble, that it may be cooked fresh and still offered with a sunny disposition for a relaxing Mother’s Day brunch. Add a glass of orange juice or fruit, and end with some sweet breads served with coffee or tea for a full festive meal.
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers and nanas,
no matter where they might be!
Colache comes from the Yaqui word colachi; The Yaqui are an indigenous group who live in the valley of the Yaqui river in the Mexican state of Sonora and Southwestern United States, also with communities in the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Durango and Sinaloa. The dish has variations depending on the state; the Sinaloa version is the simplest, while in Sonora, it also includes corn kernels and cheese. According to the Diccionario de Mejicanismos, a colachi is the name of the zucchini dish, but also offers the following definition:
“Colachi (Sonora) – revoltijo; en una frase: ‘¡Qué colachi resulta en el baile de la plebe con la aristocracia!’ ” which translates as:
“Colachi (Sonora) – a jumble; in a phrase: ‘What a jumble it resulted at the ball, from mixing peasants with the aristocracy.’ ”
This quote and the spelling of “Mejicanismos” with a “j” in the title shows how old the book is (printed in 1895!) Most likely, colachi first referred to any “jumble” of vegetables in a stir-fry, and the case with zucchini (calabacitas) was called “colachi de calabacitas”, then shortened to simply “colachi”, then “colache” or “colachito.”
I am bringing my recipes to Thursday Favourite Things #388 with Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn (thank you Bev for featuring my Festive Nacho’s Special!), Marilyn @ Marilyn’s Treats, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Nina @ Vintage Mama’s Cottage, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance, Pam @ An Artful Mom and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.