Chilaquiles is a traditionally Mexican dish. Chilaquiles are all about spices and flavours. I get excited when I think about chilaquiles. I have very fond memories of eating chilaquiles with special people and as such, associate it with breakfasts made for people I love. I first learned about chilaquiles from my parents. I had it a few times in Mexico City, and again when visiting my best friend in Visalia, California. This is one of those recipes where everyone has a slightly different method of making it and none of them are wrong! What I’m going to share with you is my recipe, altered based on ingredients I can easily find in Melbourne.
If you use corn tortillas, often times you find yourself opening a pack, not wanting to use them all and sometimes, they’ll dry out.
Have you ever done this and thrown them out? Don’t! I have a delicious recipe for you to use. Save those dried out corn tortillas!
Ingredients you’ll need
Old corn tortillas, but you can use fresh as well!
Red, brown or white onion, whatever you have in your pantry
2 nice, big aussie garlic cloves
1 blanched and skinned tomato OR
2 tablespoons tomato paste and 1/4 cup water
salt to taste
2-3 beaten eggs for every 4 tortillas (optional: see note)
feta cheese OR
romano cheese if you don’t like feta
a paper bag
a comal or cast iron skillet you can toast your jalapeños on
Start by heating up your comal or hot plate and begin toasting the jalapeños. Make sure you rotate them frequently to get all sides nice and even until they look like the photo on the right or you can even go a little longer depending on how much flavour you want.
Pop them into a paper bag and let them steam in there for about 10 minutes. Have a special cutting board set aside just for prepping hot chillies or you risk adding a bit of spice to anything you cut on that board in the future. There shouldn’t be too much risk as jalapeños are relatively mild, but if you have a delicate palette, be warned! If you want to be extra careful, use gloves when handling the chillies so you don’t risk cross contamination the next time you touch your eye or … well I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination. I’ve had it all happen. Milk on standby.
Once the jalapeños are done in their sauna, take them out and with a sharp paring knife, cut a circle into the skin around near the stem at the top. This will make it easier for you to grasp the thin membranous skin that should now peel off very easily. What you should be left with is a clean, naked jalapeño. Repeat this process for all the jalapeños you’re preparing. When done, cut off the stems and discard along with the skins. Make a slice down the body of the pepper and de-seed and de-vein. If you like more heat, though, leave them in! My grandfather used to insist on whoever was making his salsas to grind the seeds and add them in for extra heat!
Toss the prepared jalapeños into your blender with the garlic and small/medium sized onion and your skinned tomato. If you don’t have one on hand, you can used some tomato paste and a little water. Blend well! If it’s not blending well, put in a splash of more water. Add a pinch of salt.
A warning, if you’re not sure how much heat you can take, start with blending one jalapeño and taste and take it from there. If you’ve added one and it’s just too much, add more tomato to make it milder. You may have to adjust your other ingredients accordingly. If you know how much heat you can take, ignore this!
Once your salsa is made, set aside. Break or tear your tortillas up into quarters or sixths. You don’t want them too much smaller than what’s shown. Tortilla chip/bite size is what you’re after. Heat a large cast iron skillet and add enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom. Once it’s hot, add the tortilla chips and toast until they’re golden brown. This should take several minutes. Keep turning them to ensure an even browning. If you’ve decided to use fresh corn tortillas, fry them in oil until golden, but not browned.
This next step is optional, but I really like the addition. Add your beaten eggs and coat the tortillas. Once the egg is coated and cooked, add your salsa and combine well.
This part smells AMAZING.
Once they’re cooked to your satisfaction, turn off the heat and serve.
Top with a very dry and crumbly feta or romano if you’re not a fan of feta, cilantro/coriander and sliced avocados. Drizzle some crème fraîche on top. Or lime juice. Usual sides include refried beans and fried eggs. It is a breakfast food, but you don’t have to follow those rules. I don’t. I’m an adult now. I can make these decisions. So can you.
I’ve seen and tasted some absolutely SHOCKING salsas in Melbourne. There’s no need for it to be difficult or tinned or jarred EVER. It’s so simple and is one of the freshest recipes I know.
I’ve had local friends repeatedly tell me this is the best salsa they have ever tasted. Once you try this, you will NEVER buy that salt and preservative riddled awfulness available in stores and food chains.
4 tomatoes of your choice (I like roma for this salsa)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 medium white onion, finely diced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp granulated garlic
juice from 2 fresh limes (or equivalent amount from a lemon if you don’t have limes)
1/2 bunch cilantro (coriander), fresh, chopped coarsely
3 tbsp white vinegar
however many diced pickled jalapeño slices depending on desired heat
salt to taste
Blanch and peel skins off tomatoes. (Place in boiling water for a few minutes, then immerse in an ice water bath to shock the tomatoes making the skin easy to peel off.) Dice tomatoes into chunks and place in your bowl. Finely mince half a medium white onion and add to bowl. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste, a few shakes of cumin and granulated garlic. Add the juice from two fresh limes or lemons. Coarsely chop some fresh cilantro (coriander) and add. Add about 3 tablespoons white vinegar, and dice as many jalapeños as you want for the amount of heat you’re aiming for. (Add 3 diced jalapeño slices for mild.) Salt to taste.
Other elements can be added for depth of flavour. If you find something you absolutely love, I’d love to hear what it is!
Good by itself with tortilla chips. (Not Doritos! Mission have a really good salted tortilla chip that’s excellent with this salsa.) Also good as an ingredient in burritos, tacos or with rice and beans.