We all have a dish that reminds us of a person or place. For me, the salsa roja (red chili sauce) used in this recipe brings back memories of my abuelo. He was born in a small pueblo just outside of Mexico City, and if there is one legacy he left behind beyond his glory days as a luchador (Mexican wrestler) in the '50s, it is his culinary creations; especially salsas, which he always made hot, hot, hot.
In his original recipe, I toned down the heat and poured it over tortilla chips, creating chilaquiles that are slightly spicy, slightly crunchy, and absolutely delicious.
When to Eat Chilaquiles
Although you can eat them at any time of day, chilaquiles are traditionally served for breakfast. And if you're in doubt about whether to eat chili for breakfast, don't. Mexicans love chili and we eat it at any time of the day. After all, chilies have been grown in Mexico for thousands of years and have been used to season our dishes ever since.
Which type of chili is best for chilaquiles?
The chilies my grandfather preferred for this particular salsa roja are guajillo chiles – a dried form of Mirasol chiles – with fruity and smoky undertones, and chile de àrbol or “tree chile”, a slender dried chile that has a lot has sharpness.
How to Prepare and Serve Chilaquiles
The chilies are cooked with tomatoes and garlic to release their bold flavor before being mixed with some spices. The sauce is then used to baste freshly fried tortilla chips, transforming them in the process.
Traditionally, place a fried egg on top, as well as garnishes of cilantro, queso fresco, and avocado slices. But you can definitely eat chilaquiles straight from the pan – in fact, I recommend enjoying them that way if you really want to enjoy the full depth of this sauce. Omit the egg, add sour cream – just eat it!
Is migas the same as chilaquiles?
In short, no. Chilaquiles is a Mexican breakfast dish made with totopos (homemade tortilla chips) tossed in a chili-based sauce, often served with fried eggs on top. For migas, beaten eggs are mixed with crushed tortilla chips. Both dishes are great for using up old tortillas and giving them crunch and texture.
Tips for making the best chilaquiles
- Where to Find Dried Chilies—You can find dried chilies on the international shelves of most supermarkets or at Latin American specialty markets.
- This is how you know when the oil is hot enough– To test whether the oil is hot enough to start frying, dip one corner of a tortilla triangle into the oil. If it begins to bubble immediately, the oil is ready to use.
- Do not overcrowd the pan—When frying the tortillas, be careful not to overcrowd the pan. If the oil begins to smoke or the tortillas are browning too quickly, reduce the heat slightly.
- Clean record beater—Serve the prepared chilaquiles immediately to keep them slightly crispy and prevent them from becoming soggy.
- Eggs are optional—Eggs can be served as a side dish or left out entirely.
- Go on –The sauce can be made up to 5 days in advance. Once prepared, allow to cool slightly and then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
“The homemade chilaquiles were delicious and easy to make from scratch. I loved the flavor of the sauce and appreciated that they were mild rather than overly spicy. I topped the savory chips with over-easy eggs and plenty of cilantro and queso fresco, a fantastic lunch dish.” – Diana Rattray
4 Guajillo chiliescored and stems removed
2 Tree chiliesStems removed if present
5 Roma tomatoes
2 Garlic cloves
1 teaspoon chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon fine Salt
1 Cup vegetable oil
12 tortilla Corn tortillas
4 fried eggsOptional
1/2 Cup coarsely chopped corianderfor garnish
1/2 Cup crumbles cream cheesefor garnish
1 avocadosliced, for garnish
Gather the ingredients. Line a large plate with paper towels and set aside.
Add 4 guajillo chilies, deseeded, 2 chilies de arbol, stemmed, 5 Roma tomatoesAnd 2 cloves of garlic Place in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Cook over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes or until the chilies soften and the tomato skins begin to burst.
Drain the water and place the chilies, tomatoes and garlic in a blender. Add 1 teaspoon chicken broth, 1/4 teaspoon dried oreganoAnd 1/2 teaspoon fine salt, and mix until a smooth mixture is formed. Put aside.
heat 1 cup vegetable oil In a large skillet over medium-high heat, until shimmering but not smoking.
While the oil is heating, cut it 12 corn tortillas Divide the tortillas into triangles by dividing them into two piles and cutting each into eight equal pieces.
Fry about a quarter of the tortilla triangles at a time until golden brown and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Using a slotted spoon, place the fried tortillas on the paper towel-lined plate.
After all the tortillas are cooked, carefully remove most of the oil from the pan (leaving about a quarter) and return it to low heat. Add the sauce to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Add the tortilla chips to the sauce and stir gently until completely coated with the sauce.
Serve and place immediately a fried egg Pour onto each portion and garnish coriander, crumbled cream cheeseAnd Avocado slices.
Are you feeling adventurous? Try this:
- Chilaquiles abbreviations—To save time, your favorite canned enchilada sauce and freshly fried tortilla chips from the bakery section of the supermarket are good substitutes.
- This way you use less oil—Stale tortillas (let them dry for a day or two) can be lightly fried and will help reduce the amount of oil used in this recipe.
- Fry the eggs in the oil—Did you know that eggs can be fried? Well, they can be! After frying the tortillas, gently crack the eggs into the oil. They will puff up and turn golden.
|Nutritional Information (per serving)|
View full nutrition label
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Saturated fat 9g||43%|
|Total sugar 5g|
|Vitamin C 54 mg||270%|
|Calcium 188 mg||14%|
|Iron 2 mg||13%|
|Potassium 959 mg||20%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) indicates how much a nutrient in a food portion contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories per day is used for general nutritional advice.|
(Nutritional information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)