Aug 20

Chilaquiles – A Traditional Mexican Food



So, what are chilaquiles exactly? They are a classic dish from Mexico, usually made with corn tortillas, which are stir-fried with spices and chicken and served with cheese. In the Sinaloa region of Mexico, a white sauce is served over them. Fried or scrambled eggs are sometimes used in the recipe. Red or green salsa or mole sauce is sometimes poured over them and that would make a dish called “totopos.”

This classic weekend breakfast dish is also great for lunch or dinner. Making these is a good way to use up leftover salsa and tortillas. You can enjoy them for breakfast after a night out if you fancy something warming and tasty. Serve it with sour cream and perhaps some refried beans on the side. The name comes from “chil-a-quilitl” which is a Nahuatl word meaning green vegetables or herbs in a chili broth.

Printed recipes for this tasty meal date back to 1898 and there was a Spanish recipe cookbook printed in the United States at this time. There was a recipe in this book for regular chilaquiles and one for the same dish but made with dry shrimp.

Chilaquiles and Migas

Do not confuse these two dishes. Migas is a Tex-Mex dish, which uses tortilla strips or tortilla chips. It is kept simmering in pots in Guadalajara all day and becomes thick like polenta.

Not Just A Hangover Cure

Although this snack does have the reputation of being a hangover cure, they make wonderful food for any occasion. Mexicans used to believe that spices were beneficial for hangover sufferers so most spicy dishes in Mexico are called hangover cures!

In Mexico, they can be made with pork or chicken, although there are vegetarian versions too. The following recipe serves six moderately hungry people or four very hungry ones.

What You Need:

  • 4 cups grated Jack or Chihuahua cheese
  • 1 1/2 lbs cooked, cubed, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup corn oil
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 2 cups enchilada sauce
  • 7 oz chopped canned green chilies

How To Make Them:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the tortillas into strips an inch thick. Fry them in the oil until they are crisp, and then drain them on paper towels. Mix the sour cream with the enchilada sauce in a pan and heat it up. Layer the tortilla strips with the chicken, chilies, Jack or Chihuahua cheese and sauce in a nine by thirteen inch dish, then repeat these layers.

Top it with a layer of tortilla strips, then a layer of sauce and plenty of cheese. Bake for twenty five minutes or until the chilaquiles are bubbling and the cheese has melted. Garnish each serving with some sour cream.

If you enjoy authentic Mexican food recipes, there is no reason why Mexican food has to be limited to dinner time. If you want to make something warm and tasty for breakfast, try the above recipe. It will take about forty five minutes to make, including the cooking time.


Christine Szalay-Kudra is an author, food expert and mom of four boys. She is the owner of the Recipe Publishing Network, a group of sites dedicated to fine food and information for cooks. When not busy with her business you can find her sharing on one of these social networks at her own URL:

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