More than 200 years ago, Mexicans started their journey for independence against Spain. After countless years of allowing Spain to be in charge, the Mexican people were tired of the corruption. Now on Sept. 16, we celebrate Mexican independence and what a better way to celebrate than a classic Mexican dish.
My family and I celebrate our country’s independence by cooking traditional meals and playing our music. This allows us to feel closer to home and embodies our traditions.
The beautiful country of Mexico is known for its vibrant colors, music, scenery and scrumptious delicacies.
When people think of Mexican food, they think of tacos, burritos and carne asada. There’s more to our culture’s food. Dishes such as Pozole, menudo, carnitas, tamales and mole are lesser-known staples that highlight the abundance of foods that Mexican culture has to offer.
Growing up with limited resources, nothing beats a hot plate of chilaquiles.
Chilaquiles are the most popular breakfast dish in Mexican culture because of the simplicity and makeability of the dish. In Mexican culture, food is not wasted and chilaquiles help repurpose excess or old tortillas.
Let’s get to cooking.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Blender for the salsa
A non-stick pan
A comal (a flat griddle)
Rubber cooking spatula
10 tortillas (feeds a family of four)
3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt, pepper, and chicken bullion to season.
Six grilled tomatillos, half of an onion chopped and three green serrano peppers for the salsa
½ cup of Monterey jack cheese
The cornerstone of this dish is corn, not flour, tortillas. Corn tortillas are a staple in Mexican households and used to complement most meals.
To start, cut up as many tortillas as desired in the shape of chips. In my case, I am feeding a family of four, so I will be using 10. The best way to get the shape of chips is to cut your stack of tortillas in half, then stack the halves together and cut the stack at an angle to get the shape that resembles a chip
Now, crisp up your cut up tortillas. Start by adding some olive oil to a pan with some onion. Onions add flavor, but if you aren’t fond of them, disregard them.
After the oil is hot and the onions start to leave their odor in the air, it is time to add the cut up tortilla “chips.” Fry the chips until they are golden brown and crispy. Once they are cooked , set them aside and drain the excess oil. The method I use to drain any excess oil is using paper towels to pat them down to ensure they are as dry as possible.
The salsa is crucial, as are the chips. There are different salsas that could be used, such as a red salsa, salsa de tomate (tomato based salsa), or a green salsa. For some clarification a red salsa includes tomatoes, peppers, and the fixings and a salsa de tomate includes just tomatoes and the fixings.
My family wanted a green salsa, so I made one. The first step is to grill six tomatillos, three green serranos and half an onion. Set the grill to medium heat, it typically takes around 5-10 minutes to char. Always keep an eye out and look for black grill marks on the vegetables.
Once they are done charring up, add them to a blender with a head of garlic and half a cup of water. Then add some seasonings, I add a tablespoon of salt, pepper and chicken bouillon. Blend all the ingredients until you get a salsa consistency.
Using the same pan used to fry up your chips, reheat it and add back your chips. Add four eggs to the chips and let them cook thoroughly. After the eggs are done, add some salsa.
Once the salsa starts simmering, the final step is garnishing. I added shredded Monterey Jack cheese and cover it to let the cheese melt.
Grab a plate and start eating. I like to eat my chilaquiles with queso fresco (fresh cheese).
This dish is a classic to Mexican culture and is very simple but delicious. Hope you try it out and Happy Independence day to the motherland. ¡Viva Mexico!
Javier Hernandez can be contacted at [email protected] or @jhm1226 on Twitter.