This is a guest post written by Ruth from Mummy And The Mexicans called “How to make Chilaquiles”. If you like Mexican food and you would like to learn how to make a spicy breakfast, this is the post for you. You can learn more about Ruth and her blog at the bottom of this post where you can find her details, under “About the Author“.
Chilaquiles (chee-la-KEE-les) is a popular breakfast or brunch dish in Mexico. It’s a good substantial meal that will really set you up for the day and even contains all the food groups! Carbohydrates from the tortillas, proteins from the chicken, cheese and cream. Fruit and vegetables are covered by the tomatoes, chillies, onion and avocado. If you serve it with beans then you also have legumes. It’s very nutritious.
The one thing that’s not so healthy is all the oil used to fry the tortillas, but you could bake them instead of frying them, with much less oil as a healthier alternative, or buy oven-baked or dehydrated tortilla chips.
The triangle-shaped tortilla chips used for chilaquiles are called “totopos” in Mexico, sometimes I will use that word in the recipe.
For a vegetarian option, leave out the chicken. You could make the chilaquiles with scrambled egg instead. Vegans will have to omit the cheese and cream too, but with the beans for protein.
There are actually different varieties of chilaquiles. They’re usually either red or green; red if you make the salsa with tomatoes, as I did in this recipe; green if you substitute the tomatoes for green tomatillos, which are like small green tomatoes but with a very different flavour, sharper and more acidic. They’re technically not tomatoes at all and may be difficult to find outside Mexico, which is why I chose red chilaquiles for this recipe.
The salsa (sauce) is the key to chilaquiles. It can be mild or hot, depending on how you prefer it and can be made with different types of chilli; green Serrano chillies are the usual ones; chipotle chilli gives a smokier taste; pasilla or ancho chillies are milder, hardly hot at all but have a rich deep flavour; thin red tree chillies are hotter, and so on. There are many more different varieties of chilli so you can try out different versions of the salsa. Of course, if you prefer you can leave out the chilli altogether, it will still be delicious.
Believe it or not, there are Mexicans who don’t eat chilli! (A minority, admittedly, but they do exist!)
If you don’t really fancy this dish in the morning, it’s not unheard of to have chilaquiles at other times of day – they make a pretty good lunch or dinner.
HERE’S HOW TO MAKE THEM:
- 400g corn tortillas
- ½ litre vegetable oil (not olive oil)
- or 400 – 500g tortilla chips (totopos)
For the salsa:
- 4 tomatoes
- ¼ onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 – 2 chillies (depending how hot you want the salsa to be and which chillies you are using)
- ½ cup water
- Salt to taste
- or powdered chicken or vegetable stock cube
- 1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
- Sour cream
- Onion, thinly sliced
- Avocado slices
- Crumbled white cheese (fresh cheese or ranchero cheese in Mexico, maybe a good substitute would be crumbly Wensleydale or Lancashire cheese in the UK)
- 4 teaspoons fresh coriander, chopped (optional)
- Black beans, whole or mashed (optional)
First, prepare the totopos. Cut the tortillas into triangles – it’s better if the tortillas are a few days old, they end up crispier after frying than fresh tortillas.
Heat about 1.5 cm of oil in a frying pan and fry the tortilla triangles on a medium to high heat for about 4 minutes until they’re golden brown and crispy. Take them out of the pan and put them on an absorbent kitchen towel to get rid of excess oil.
To make the salsa first cook the tomatoes and chillies in a pan of water, boiling them for about 4 minutes until the chillies are soft. Blend them with the 1/4 onion, cloves of garlic and the 1/2 cup of water until you get a smooth sauce. Then heat a drop of oil in a saucepan and pour in the sauce to fry it. Add salt to taste or powdered chicken or vegetable stock cube if you prefer. You can also add a sprig of a herb called epazote to cook in the sauce for extra flavour. The salsa should have the consistency of a gravy – runny, but thicker than water.
If you prefer the totopos to stay as crisp and crunchy as possible, serve them first on the plate, sprinkle plenty of shredded chicken on top of them, then pour over the salsa while it’s still hot. Top with some sour cream, avocado and onion slices, crumbled cheese and fresh coriander (in that order!). Serve with some black beans on the side.
The other way to prepare the chilaquiles is to add the totopos to the salsa and cook for a couple of minutes, then serve with the chicken and the other toppings. That way, the tortilla chips absorb the salsa but are softer instead of crispy. Try both ways and see which you like best! I hope you enjoy this taste of Mexico!
Do you like Mexican food? Have you cooked Mexican before? What do you think of Ruth’s recipe? Have you tried Chilaquiles before? You can find Ruth at Mummy and the Mexicans HERE and you can follow her on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest & Facebook.
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