Road tripping is the travel ambiance that absolutely gets my travel feet going. One of the favorite drives of my travels has been in the US state of Arizona, also popularly known as the Grand Canyon State. Interestingly, Arizona’s name originated from the Spanish name, Arizonac, which in turn derived from an Indian word, ali sonak meaning “small spring”. Who hasn’t been riveted by the magnificence of Grand Canyons? It is a landscape that is visible from the space and surely finds space on every traveler’s bucket list? On mine too!

The layers of Grand Canyons inspired my 7 layered Mexican Bhel recipe

I had always been blazed by the layers, hues and textures of the rustic canyons, just like any other pair of travelers eyes would want to rest gaze on them. On my trip to the canyons, the whole day, I walked along the wide spread arms of the canyons. Often just sat for a long rendezvous to get to know those layers. The more I immersed, the more those layers revealed to me. Finally, at the end of the day, canyons yawned, the sun slowly set over the canyons, allowing it to sleep. That moment embossed every feature of the beautiful canyons and left me with a vivid finale memory to that grand day. Probably this is how each day of life should subtract into night. Furthermore, the falling in love with the Grand Canyons became deeper as we drove alongside the layers spread from Canyons to Page crossing the ravishing sights of the horse shoe bend and the Antelope Canyons.

Sharing some pictures from my gripping Arizona memories, they speak for themselves as to how my Canyon inspiration transitioned into my layered salad bowl of Mexican Bhel recipe. The full recipe follows the pictures…..

Mexican bhel recipe inspired by Grand Canyons
A grand view of the Grand Canyons
Mexican bhel recipe inspired by Grand Canyons
Colorado cutting through the Canyons
Mexican bhel recipe inspired by Grand Canyons
The drive from Grand Canyons to Page, Arizona
Mexican bhel recipe inspired by Grand Canyons
The Horse Shoe bend in Page, Arizona
Mexican bhel recipe inspired by Grand Canyons
Colorado turning around at the Horse Shoe in Page, Arizona
Mexican bhel recipe inspired by Grand Canyons
Lower Canyons at Page, Arizona
Mexican bhel recipe inspired by Grand Canyons
Horse Shoe bend, Page, Arizona

Happy overdose of home style Mexican food kicked my idea cooking brain!

As much as the falling in love with Canyons, an equal overwhelming on this drive for me was the Mexican food tripping. Every night, we called it a night with scrumptious tex mex style food in the local restaurants, each decorated like a birthday party in a Mexican home backyard. This region is surely one of those places where you tap Yelp and 9 out of 10 restaurants near you are Mexican! Though, great for me being a veggie and a Mexican food lover! My true love for the cuisine, as a result of the crunchy, cheesy and carby nature coming from some of my favorite ingredients like avocado, beans, rice, tacos, jalapenos……slurppp I cant stop! This cuisine sets perfect with my belly for the fact that it serves me a wholesome filling meal pretty much making me feel like an Indian plate! I loved every bit of the home style Mexican food overdose in the Canyon and Page area.

Having said how ethereal travel is, often in a different country, in a new eco-system there is that 4th day when you do miss your own food a little….. often in such craving moments my idea cooking brain kicks-in and I visualize different cuisines synthesized with some Indian touch. Yet again, on this trip in spite of thoroughly enjoying the Mexican plates I did have some craving, like dipping Mexican tacos in some Indian green chutney or fuse a Mexican beer in the Indian homemade lemonade (shikanji) style.

Mexican bhel recipe inspired by Grand Canyons
Relishing some local Tex Mex food in Arizona

Layering the Tex Mex Bhel salad

Finally back home, inspired by the layers of canyons, the flavours of home style tex mex food in Arizona and a little bit of missing the Indian food away from home, I created an Indian Mexican bhel recipe “Tex Mex Bhel Salad”. This salad is a coming together of a Mexican Burrito bowl and an Indian street food called Bhelpuri. Interestingly, while fusing these 2 recipes you will notice that several ingredients in both are either very similar or complement each other very tastefully. Like, for the base of the salad I replaced the Mexican rice with Indian puffed rice crisps (used as the base of bhelpuri). For the dressing I blended the Mexican tomato salsa with the Indian tamarind chutney.

As a result, I constructed the 7 layer Mexican bhel recipe comprising of (starting from the bottom) – shredded lettuce, cherry tomatoes, roasted peppers, beans, Indian puffed rice, grated cheddar and finally a dollop of fresh guacamole and sour cream. Lastly, to give it the real Indian bhelpuri makeover, I added the fusion dressing with tomato salsa and tamarind chutney. Tex Mex Bhel salad has been a total house favorite for my family all the way back from Arizona, check out the full recipe here:

Ingredients

Indian Mexican bhel recipe - salad ingredients
Tex Mex Bhel salad ingredients

For salad layers

2 cup red kidney beans, boiled
1 lettuce, chopped length wise
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 orange bell peppers, chopped length wise
2-3 cups Indian bhelpuri mix (spiced puffed rice)
Salt to taste
Pepper
Olive oil

For tamarind salsa dressing

3-4 table spoon Indian tamarind chutney
3-4 table spoon tomato salsa

For green chutney dressing

10-12 stems coriander leaves
1 tea spoon cumin powder
12-15 jalepenos
1-2 green chillies
Juice of 1-2 lemons
Salt to taste

For salad topping

Spicy tacos/ nachos of your choice
2 avocados, smashed into paste
1 cup sour cream
Cheddar cheese, grated (as much as you like)
Pepper

Cooking instructions

For green chutney dressing

Add all ingredients (coriander leaves, cumin powder, jalapeños, green chilies, lemon juice, salt) into a processor and fine blend. Refrigerate for 30 mins.

For tamarind salsa dressing

Blend tomato salsa and tamarind chutney together. Refrigerate for 30 mins.

Arranging the salad

In a medium size pan, heat oil, add peppers and toss them until they become slightly crisp. Add some salt and pepper, set them aside to cool.

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In a medium size deep salad bowl, arrange lettuce at the bottom, add some salt and olive oil. Toss a little bit.

Then add a layer of red kidney beans. Spread the green chutney dressing on beans.

Add a layer of cherry tomatoes, then peppers and finally Indian bhelpuri mix.

Spread the tamarind salsa dressing on top of all the layers.

Insert tacos/ nachos in the salad, around the rim of the salad bowl.

Indian Mexican bhel recipe inspired by Grand Canyons

Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top.

Load the smashed avocado and sour cream on top. (You can serve extra avocado and sour cream on the side.)

Sprinkle some pepper on top.

NOTE: Mix the salad only when ready to serve.

Mexican bhel recipe inspired by Grand Canyons
7 layers Tex Mex Bhel Salad

Recipe by Shikha Singh

shikha
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