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Suvir Saran

Chilaquiles

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I am posting this post as Jaymes is being bashful. StellaB, Toby and Jaymes were each very generous on a thread on regional differences in the cooking of Mexico. This is a post I have pulled from there. Hope you all enjoy it as much as I did and some others have.

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".......I got my recipe for chilaquiles from a Mexican friend, a housewife, in Querétaro.  My daughter went for a visit a while back and, although I had asked for the recipe many times, got the typical "home cooking recipe" answer: "Oh, just a little of this and a little of that.  I can no say exactamente, it is the recipe de mi mamá y mi abuelita (little grandmother)."  

I told my daughter she was to go into Lita's kitchen and not come back out until she knew how to make them.  

StellaB, I am including here an excerpt from an email my daughter sent to me during her stay in Querétaro.  I am including it because of your fondness for Mexico...I think you will enjoy my daughter's impression of Mexican grandmothers:  

"Mom, I am staying at Jaime's mother's house that is close to downtown Querétaro.  She is wonderful....and calls me 'mija.'  I love that.  I want to be a Mexican grandmother.

They hug on you and kiss your cheeks, and make such good food and call everyone Mi Amor, or Mi Vida or Mija. It is so cute!"

So, anyway, mi amiga Lita, has four children.  The family eats chilaquiles for breakfast at least three or four mornings a week, so Lita has to be able to make it fast.  And she does.  This is how she does it:  

CHILAQUILES:

Salsa verde (tomatilla sauce); torn tortilla chips (Lita uses Fritos and told me not to laugh before I tried it and I didn't and I did and she's right, they work just fine); queso manchego (or asadero, or ranchero, or fresco, or any other Mexican white cheese that you like); and sour cream.  

In bottom of microwaveable dish, spread a little tomatilla sauce, then layer of Fritos, then more sauce, then sour cream, then "bastante queso."  Repeat, until dish is full or ingredients are all used up, finishing with cheese.  Microwave one minute, or till chilaquiles are heated through and cheese is melted.  You'll probably have to experiment a time or two in order to get all of the proportions just right.

TOMATILLO SAUCE:  (Stellabella, you said you make your own, so you proably don't need this recipe but here it is just in case.  I should also add that Lita often just buys Herdéz brand Salsa Verde in the small cans if she is pressed for time.)

1 tsp or so cooking oil (just enough to cover botton of saucepan)

6 or so whole tomatillos, paper skins removed  

jalepeños, or other chile peppers, to desired "pica"

water to cover

Put tomatillos and chiles in saucepan and water, just to barely cover.  Bring to boil and cook just till tomatillos are soft (not too long, don't want them "mushy").  Put tomatillos and peppers (do not discard cooking water) into blender or food processor along with:

2 small cloves garlic

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup chopped onion

"handful" cilantro

2 tsp "caldo de pollo" (which I interpret to mean powdered chicken boullion, but I don't know for sure...should have asked, but never did...that's what I add and it comes out fine)

Blend in food processor very well.  Add cooking water to reach desired "sauce" consistancy...you want it fairly liquid, but flavorful and not "watered-down" tasting, so use your own judgment. ............."

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I have made the above recipe and love it.

How do you make your favorite version of Chilaquiles?

PS: I must thank Jaymes profusely for sharing this great recipe. :smile:

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As far as I understand them/it (?), chilaquiles are/is highly personal use of whatever happens to be around. My favorite local Mexican+ place does a big, totally filling chilaquiles with tortilla chips, chopped roast vegetables, salsa, cheese, etc. etc. and meat if you want. (The Little Bigger Place, Warren and West Broadway, lower Manhattan)

One of those foods that only has a feeling behind it, never a formal recipe.

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One of those foods that only has a feeling behind it, never a formal recipe.

Very true...if you look at what the translation of the word(s?) is (are?) it seems pretty obvious that this is just another generalized term to deal with a universal prep of ingredients.

Almost a standard casserole of sorts, imagine being that gourmand in Mexico who thinks, when referring to the corporate pot luck, "...oh, God - just wonderful, I'm going to get to try everyone's chilaquiles tomorrow (again) - - I can't wait..."

All things being said, it's just basically a way to use up day old tortillas w/ whatever kind of salsa is on hand....and maybe an addition of meat.

The meat usually added is chicken. There are a few recipes I've seen that call for pork, but usually most call for either: veg only / chicken only / or both.

The most satisfying though, regardless of what else is there, are those which involve copious amounts of cheese....very soul (food) satisfying Mexican cooking, when that grip of nice fatty cheese gets melted on top of a decent salsa and maybe some meat...ummmm - what could go wrong?

I'll try to toss out my favored chilaquiles prep tomorrow...


...I thought I had an appetite for destruction but all I wanted was a club sandwich.

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I'll try to toss out my favored chilaquiles prep tomorrow...

Maybe you will document what you do for us at eGullet. What a treat it shall be.... Thanks in advance. :smile:

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Just to clarify, because I'm confused: The first post of this thread was posted by Suvir, but then he says something that makes me think Jaymes wrote it. Am I missing something?

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As far as I understand them/it (?), chilaquiles are/is highly personal use of whatever happens to be around.  My favorite local Mexican+ place does a big, totally filling chilaquiles with tortilla chips, chopped roast vegetables, salsa, cheese, etc. etc. and meat if you want. (The Little Bigger Place, Warren and West Broadway, lower Manhattan) 

One of those foods that only has a feeling behind it, never a formal recipe.

I have seen lots of "actual recipes" for chilaquiles, but they usually are more formal, involved casserole dishes. I've tried one or two, but they are not what I'm going for.

I have no idea, of course, how they ever got started, but regardless as to whether or not someone said, "Boy, these fresh tortillas would sure be good with salsa and cheese and a little sour cream if we baked them," am pretty sure that even if that is how it started, it very soon evolved into just what Saledum said: A good way to use up leftover corn tortillas.

But, having said that, I've traveled extensively throughout Mexico and chilaquiles - the simple version like I've discussed above - is ubiquitous on Mexican breakfast buffets. I'd say it's as popular at Mexican breakfast tables as cereal is here (although of course, I have no way of knowing that for sure).

I fix them often for breakfast, and serve them like we might serve hash browns - with a couple eggs and some fruit on the side.

Rachel - Yes, the initial post in this thread is mine from the Regional Mexican Cooking thread. Survir mentioned that in the title of the thread, but perhaps he should have put quotes around the post. I suspect it was extremely startling for people to discover that he has a grown daughter vacationing in Mexico!! :biggrin:


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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OK - fritos are on my shopping list for the first meal after the painters are done in the kitchen. I've been craving them for about 6 years - ever since a favorite Mexican restaurant stopped serving brunch. I like to drive Jason nuts by calling them "chilly-killies". :raz:

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Periodically my neighbors, who immigrated from Mexico about 2 years ago, have these great parties. They will butcher a pig, the band plays, and kids of all ages (infant to age 80) sing and dance far into the night.

The next morning, the mom always makes chilaquiles, using the leftover tortillas, any vegetables, green sauce, pork, etc. She indicated (her English and my Spanish are equally abyssmal) the only thing she purchases specifically for this is queso (she prefers manchego). I have gathered from her that chaquiles in her house, and a quick and easy meal, and a great way to use up stuff.

I have started making them on a regular basis, and as my neighbor indicated, if she is not making them to use stuff up, she favors the style described by Jaymes. It is a favorite of my children.

I have easy access to great mexican cheese, tortillas, etc. So, today, when I went to store to pick these up, I decided to have lunch in their "deli" area, and settled on enchiladas. They were fabulous, but bearing little resemblence to the overstuffed ones one gets in most "american mexican" restaurants. Corn tortillas that had been fried/heated in sauce (I got 1/2 order of red, 1/2 order of green). I thing there was a smattering of cheese in them, and they were topped with more cheese, but the tortillas took center stage. I can only imagine that this is a traditional dish in some region of Mexico, and probably more street or home fare than fancy fare.

Does one of our wise women -- Jaymes, Toby, StellaB -- care to comment on enchiladas?


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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OK - babblefish.com says it means "enough cheese." Please explain "enough" to someone who's never made this dish before and hasn't had it in many many years. Thank you.

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"bastante queso"

Translation please?

:laugh:

Rachel - I'm sorry - remember that was originally posted in the Mexico thread, primarily for someone who asked me to post it (I think it was Stellabella), that I know speaks some Spanish.

Bastante does mean "enough" but it also is used for "plenty."

Like if you were talking to someone and they mentioned that they had eight children, you could say, "Well, that should be enough."

So, "bastante queso" means, plenty of cheese for you - however much you like cheese. In other words, don't stint on the cheese!

PS - Doesn't Jason speak fluent Spanish? Is that a Mexican colloquialism?

EDIT: Just realized this post didn't actually answer your question. The thing is, I don't measure anything. I just take a nice handful of cheese and sprinkle it over. I guess I'd say to cover generously - about one layer's worth of grated cheese sprinkles. That's probably no help either, but since I don't measure, it's the best I can do.

You'll just have to experiment with your proportions - make sure you get enough salsa to make it kind of "wet" and cheese and sour cream for flavor. It might take you a couple of tries to get it how you like it.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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........The thing is, I don't measure anything.  I just take a nice handful....

:shock::rolleyes::laugh::wub:

I was told by a dear friend that each day I should try and emulate a person I can never think of being.

Since I did not see Tommy post yet, I thought I would be Tommy for two minutes. :smile: Forgive me please.... :rolleyes:

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........The thing is, I don't measure anything.  I just take a nice handful....

:shock::rolleyes::laugh::wub:

Laugh if you want, but I was VERY popular in high school. :biggrin:


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I am sure your passion for good food made you popular. I would do anything to be able to taste some of these goodies you write about. Sound yummy... thanks for sharing your passion with us.... :smile:

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PS - Doesn't Jason speak fluent Spanish?  Is that a Mexican colloquialism?

Yeah, had she bothered to ask me I would have answered her :)

I actually spent an entire summer in Mexico City, and Celaya in Guanajuato staying with a 2 families and going to language school in 1985.

As to knowing exactly how much "bastante" is though....


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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You'll just have to experiment with your proportions - make sure you get enough salsa to make it kind of "wet" and cheese and sour cream for flavor.  It might take you a couple of tries to get it how you like it.

Diana and Peter often make this for lunch. Since one likes it wetter and one likes it cheesier, one likes it spicer, they make it in small bowls -- not a casserole dish. This is a very easy dish for kids to make.

Make a few small dishes varying the proportions of things and see which you like better.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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PS - Doesn't Jason speak fluent Spanish?  Is that a Mexican colloquialism?

Yeah, had she bothered to ask me I would have answered her :)

I actually spent an entire summer in Mexico City, and Celaya in Guanajuato staying with a 2 families and going to language school in 1985.

As to knowing exactly how much "bastante" is though....

So true. One of life's great quandries, ain't it?

Some people NEVER learn when "enough" is enough.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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You'll just have to experiment with your proportions - make sure you get enough salsa to make it kind of "wet" and cheese and sour cream for flavor.  It might take you a couple of tries to get it how you like it.

Diana and Peter often make this for lunch. Since one likes it wetter and one likes it cheesier, one likes it spicer, they make it in small bowls -- not a casserole dish. This is a very easy dish for kids to make.

Make a few small dishes varying the proportions of things and see which you like better.

Snowangel - that is a fabulous idea. And, with microwaves so easy to use, why not?

I really envy you your Mexican neighbors. I love Mexico and its people. Warm, friendly, generous, gracious, hard-working. Living next door to them will be a treat for you, and one you will remember the rest of your life!

Que buena suerte!


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I am sure your passion for good food made you popular.

Oh yeah, that's what does it in high school okay. :laugh:


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Jaymes, I had a recipe for chilequiles from a cookbook and I made them in the oven with tortillas. it was pretty good, but I made yours tonight, even with the **fritos** like you said! in the microwave. they were really good.

we never had them for breakfast, though. the recipe from the mexican cookbook has chicken in it, and didn't seem like it would be that good for breakfast. But your recipe with the fritos :shock::laugh: was very good and I am going to make another batch for breakfast in the morning.

Thanks you!

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Jaymes insisted that fritos work great, and i was skeptical, but now I know better than EVER to doubt Jaymes! :wub:

Nonetheless, if I have the time, I fry the tortillas myself. It's true that they can be a little old and hard and work even better than fresh. I get some veg. oil real hot in my deep skillet and fry the quartered pieces for 1-2 minutes on each side, til the edges curl, then let them rest on brown paper. They shouldn't be hard--they should be stiff but chewy. The last time I made them I added some cooked pinto beans and crumbled faux "sausage" [it's called Gimme Lean and made from TVP and it sounds gross but I'm WILD about it], adn used up cheese on hand--including some chevre; you can use just about any combo of the basic ingredients and produce a fairly soul-satisfying dish.

Snowangel, I don't know what to say about enchiladas. I've been most satisfied when I've baked them in a casserole dish--simply fill the corn tortillas with whatever you like and layer them in a greased dish, then pour bastante mole over all and crumbled queso seco on top and bake.

My husband has made mole. But he doesn't post here. :hmmm: I can't comment on it, never having done it--I will tell you it is LABOR INTENSIVE--but you can make large amounts and freeze it.

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