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.
- Bowl of leftover Rotisserie Chicken or Oven Roasted Chicken (chopped bite-size)
- 4 Chapattis or flour tortillas
- 2 Eggs (room temperature)
- 1 Small Onion
- 1 Medium Tomato
- 1 Small Bunch of Coriander Leaves
- 1 Lemon
- 1 Red or Green Pepper (Capsicum)
- 1 Avocado
- 1 tbsp oil
- 0.5 tsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Red Chili Powder
- 0.5 tsp Salt
- 1 cup shredded Mexican Blend cheese
- Sour Cream
- Spring/Green Onions
- Chop leftover rotisserie or roasted chicken into bite-size pieces
- Heat (1-2) tablespoons of Canola oil in a dekchi or wok (depends on how much chicken you are using)
- Add the turmeric, red chili powder and salt
- Fry the spices for a minute
- Add the chicken and gently coat the chicken with the spices
- Fry for an additional (1-2) minutes, and it should be ready
- Dice up the onion, tomato and cilantro/coriander leaves
- Sprinkle some salt (to taste) and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- Cover and keep in the fridge till ready to use
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a cookie sheet with foil
- Chop the Red or Green Pepper (Capsicum) into strips. Chop the Green/Spring Onions and Avocado (as much as desired for garnish).
- Place (2) chapattis on the foil-lined cookie sheet
- Spread the cooked Chicken Masala all over each chapatti
- Layer the chicken with the Red or Green Pepper strips
- Add a layer of the kachumber
- Sprinkle about a (¼) cup of Mexican Cheese
- Gently crack an egg over everything so the yolk stays intact (if the yolk breaks, don’t worry, it will do that eventually anyway)
- Place another chapatti on top of each quesadilla (avoid pressing down on it)
- Sprinkle some more Mexican cheese on top of the chapattis
- Place the tray in the oven for 15 minutes
- Remove tray and let the quesadillas rest for a minute
- Transfer the quesadillas to a chopping board and cut them into (4) pieces each, then plate them
- For garnish, add a dollop of sour cream, more kachumber (if you’re a fan), chopped avocados, and/or chopped Green/Spring Onions
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.