Chilaquiles Rojos : An Ultimate Guide to Perfecting : Tips, Tricks, and Delicious Recipes

Chilaquiles, a popular Mexican dish, combines the satisfying crunch of tortilla chips with a savory and vibrant sauce, creating a delightful explosion of flavors. Whether enjoyed for breakfast or as a comforting anytime meal, Chilaquiles never fail to deliver a deliciously authentic taste of Mexico. Chilaquiles pronounced chee-lah-key-less and typically, are prepared with green salsa, known as salsa verde (yielding chilaquiles verdes), or red enchilada sauce (chilaquiles rojos).

Chilaquiles Rojos or chilaquiles Mexicanos is a beloved Mexican dish that tantalizes taste buds and brings a burst of flavor to the breakfast table. This classic recipe features crispy tortilla chips soaked in a vibrant and zesty red enchilada sauce, creating a delightful blend of textures and tastes. The dish is often garnished with tangy crumbled cheese, fresh cilantro, creamy avocado, radish, or onion and sometimes topped with fried or scrambled eggs for a hearty and satisfying meal.

chilaquiles rojos

Let’s break down this Chilaquiles Rojos recipe into three parts:

Red Enchilada Sauce Recipe:

The sauce is the foundation of flavor in chilaquiles, so it’s crucial to use a great one. I highly recommend my go-to red enchilada sauce recipe, which I have incorporated into the instructions below. My red sauce is packed with rich, chili-pepper flavor developed through a long simmering process. Best of all, it’s incredibly easy to prepare in a large skillet before adding the chips.

If you prefer to use your own red enchilada sauce recipe or opt for a store-bought option (Frontera brand being the only semi-decent one I’ve found), you will need approximately 2 cups.

Ingredients for Red Enchilada Sauce

3 tablespoons flour (whole wheat, all-purpose, or gluten-free blend)
1 tablespoon ground chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon salt (to taste)
a pinch of cinnamon
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar

Follow these steps to prepare the red sauce:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the flour, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and cinnamon. Place the bowl near the stove along with the tomato paste and broth.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it’s hot enough to make the flour and spice mixture sizzle. This may take a couple of minutes, so keep an eye on it.
  3. Once the oil is hot, add the flour and spice mixture to the skillet. Whisk constantly and cook until the mixture becomes fragrant and slightly deepens in color, approximately 1 minute.
  4. Incorporate the tomato paste into the mixture, then slowly pour in the vegetable broth while continuing to whisk. Ensure there are no lumps in the sauce.
  5. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer. Then, reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook and whisk often for about 5 to 7 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly and offers some resistance when stirred with a spoon.
  6. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and whisk in the chopped cilantro and vinegar. Taste the sauce and add additional salt if desired.

Chilaquiles Rojos

Tortilla chips:

Authentic Mexican chilaquiles are made with fried tortilla chips. I have experimented with both homemade and store-bought options, and I will provide more details on each below.

Many chilaquiles recipes suggest frying your own chips. However, as someone who prefers not to deep-fry at home, I have found that baked tortilla chips work just as well. They require less oil, and I will provide instructions for making them below.

To bake crispy tortilla chips, gather 16 thin corn tortillas, 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Follow these steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, positioning the racks in the upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper for easy clean-up.
  2. Lightly brush both sides of each tortilla with oil. Slice them into 8 wedges by stacking and cutting 4 tortillas at a time. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
  3. Divide the tortilla wedges between the two baking sheets, arranging them evenly (they can overlap slightly since they will shrink as they bake). Sprinkle half the salt over one pan and the remaining salt over the other.
  4. Bake the tortilla chips for approximately 10 minutes, swapping the pans between racks every 5 minutes. Keep a close eye on the top rack, as those chips tend to finish baking first. Once the chips on the top rack turn golden and start to curl up at the edges, remove that pan and move the lower rack pan up to the top. Continue baking until the chips on the new top rack also start turning golden.

Toppings:

Tangy crumbled cheese, crisp radish, fresh cilantro, and creamy avocado are all fantastic toppings that add delightful contrasts to the saucy chips. If you prefer to include eggs in your chilaquiles, you can either prepare them in advance or multitask by cooking them while your sauce is simmering.

Steps to prepare chilaquiles Rojos:

  • Add the tortilla chips to the skillet containing the red enchilada sauce. Gently toss the chips using a flexible spatula until they are thoroughly coated with the sauce. It may seem like the chips will never be fully coated, but continue stirring until they are well-covered.
  • Once coated, remove the skillet from the heat and test a chip to check if it has softened to your liking. The desired tenderness is a matter of personal preference, so adjust accordingly. If the chips are not sufficiently softened, cover the skillet for 1 to 4 minutes until you are satisfied with their texture.

Chilaquiles Rojos

  • Sprinkle the chilaquiles generously with crumbled cheese, radish, and cilantro leaves. Serve individual portions on plates, adding a few slices of avocado, a fried egg (if desired), and a lime wedge. Keep in mind that the chips will continue to soften over time, so it’s best to serve the chilaquiles promptly without re-covering the pan to preserve heat and avoid sogginess.

A Collection of Authentic & Delicious Chilaquiles Recipe Book

chilaquiles rojos

Serving Tips & Variations for Chilaquiles Rojos

  1. In Mexico, chilaquiles are not typically served with eggs. In the United States, chilaquiles are commonly served with fried eggs on top, and they taste absolutely delightful. So enjoy serving homemade chilaquiles with olive oil fried eggs, which develop irresistible crispy edges. Adding eggs to your chilaquiles makes them heartier, and scrambled or poached eggs are excellent alternatives as well.
  2. If you’re looking for a plant-based option, serve your chilaquiles with a side of refried beans. Additionally, this recipe can easily be made dairy-free/vegan—please refer to the recipe notes for details.
  3. To accommodate specific dietary preferences, you can make the recipe gluten-free by choosing certified gluten-free tortilla chips or making your own chips with gluten-free corn tortillas.
  4. For a dairy-free option, omit the cheese and top the servings with a generous dollop of cashew sour cream.
  5. To make the dish vegan, exclude the cheese and top with cashew sour cream while avoiding eggs. If you’re looking for extra protein, consider serving the chilaquiles with refried beans on the side.

I hope you find this information helpful as you embark on making these delicious chilaquiles rojos. If you have any more questions or need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to let me know. Enjoy your culinary adventure!

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FAQs for Chilaquiles Rojos

Q1: How spicy are Chilaquiles Rojos?

A: The spiciness of Chilaquiles Rojos can vary depending on the type and amount of chili used in the enchilada sauce. It can range from mild to fiery, but you can adjust the heat level according to your preference.

Q2: Can I make Chilaquiles Rojos with store-bought tortilla chips?

A: Yes, you can use store-bought tortilla chips for convenience. However, homemade tortilla chips provide a fresher taste and crispier texture, enhancing the overall dish.

Q3: What toppings go well with Chilaquiles Rojos?

A: Traditional toppings for Chilaquiles Rojos include tangy crumbled cheese (such as Cotija or queso fresco), fresh cilantro, sliced radish, and creamy avocado. Some people also enjoy adding fried or scrambled eggs for added richness.

Q4: Can Chilaquiles Rojos be made ahead of time?

A: Chilaquiles Rojos are best enjoyed immediately after preparation when the tortilla chips are still crispy. While you can prepare the sauce and toppings in advance, it’s recommended to assemble and serve the dish promptly for the best texture and flavor.

Q5: Can I make Chilaquiles Rojos vegetarian or vegan?

A: Absolutely! Chilaquiles Rojos can be easily adapted to suit vegetarian or vegan diets. Omitting the crumbled cheese and choosing plant-based toppings like vegan cheese alternatives or cashew sour cream can create a delightful plant-based version of this dish.

Q6: Can I freeze Chilaquiles Rojos?

A: It’s not recommended to freeze Chilaquiles Rojos as the texture of the tortilla chips can become soggy upon thawing and reheating. It’s best to enjoy them fresh for the optimal taste and texture.

Nutrition Fact Of Chilaquiles Rojos

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