Burritos, enchiladas, tacos and chimichangas

If your idea of a taco is meat, vegetables and cheese inside a hard U-shaped shell that came out of a box, then what you’re familiar with is commercial taco popularized in the United States. Real Mexican tacos are made with fresh corn or wheat (but mostly corn) tortillas which may be served soft or deep-fried. Curiously, tacos weren’t always U-shaped. Early historical accounts claim that tacos were tortillas wrapped around a filling. And that sounds like a burrito rather than a taco. Which is somewhat correct because the term burrito was coined by Americans who bought tacos from a peddler who travelled with a burro or a donkey. Is a burrito really a taco then? Not really. There are real Mexican burritos but they are smaller and thinner and nothing like Tex-Mex burrito.

And what is a chimichanga? It is fried burrito and the name does not appear to be Mexican in origin although it is possible that it is a misspelling or mispronunciation, or both, of the Mexican chivichanga.

What about enchiladas? Basically, they are burritos but they are served with a spicy tomato sauce. Enchiladas are not only found in Mexico but in Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala too.

Oh, but wait! There’s another one — quesadillas. Quesadillas are tortillas filled with cheese. Sometimes, for variety, some other ingredient is added to the filling but it’s basically just cheese.

Personally, I don’t enjoy eating tacos with the boxed shells. I find them impossible to manage as the filling keeps falling off as the shells crack. What I love are burritos, quesadillas and enchiladas. And we had chicken and mushroom burritos for a light dinner tonight. No, not the one you see in the photo. That was taken at the MMLDC’s Areva Pavilion where we stayed overnight after typhoon Ondoy when there was neither power nor water in our subdivision. Will post the recipe for chicken and mushroom burritos in a short while.

  • http://www.adeptgourmet.com/blog Jenn

    I agree, the ubiquitous tex mex that’s available in the US is more often than not the tasteless, over spiced yuckiness found in more Mexican restaurants than I care to count.

    Fresh ingredients, crunchy vegetables, popping flavors, tart cheeses and pulled meats all wrapped in a tender, freshly baked tortilla…now that’s my idea of dinner.

    • http://www.homecookingrocks.com Connie

      Oh, if only I can find a tortilla press, that would be even more preferable over store bought tortillas.

      • Mel

        I had to get my tortilla press from Mexico. I cannot find one here in the Philippines! Definitely, home-made tortillas are better than store-bought ones! By the way, I love tried your chicken and mushroom burritos!

        • http://www.homecookingrocks.com Connie

          I hope I can find one here. The idea of making burritos with freshly cooked tortillas is driving me nuts with longing. LOL

          • maria

            Toronto is a fun place to be if you happen to be a foodie (which I am). Yesterday I went for Mexican for lunch. A new place had opened up and it was a simple take out so I decided to give their dishes a try. I had 3 tacitos (meaning they use only 1 wrap instead of 2 per dish) with 3 different fillings. I had a carnitos (pork), chicken mole (w/ red sauce), and a beef topping. I had to try a little of each. Quite good. They had different condiments to go with it. Hot sauce for sure. Some queso fresca, lettuce, tomatoes, black beans, green onions on some and corriander on another. I simply let the owner prepare the dish according to Mexican traditions. And the tacos were not folded or rolled.

            I will certainly be more adventurous and try out the other dishes.

            BTW – Chimichanga is a tex-mex dish. It’s as Mexican as Chop suey is to Chinese.. Meaning, it was invented in the States.

            BTW – the tortilla press is so easy to make. It doesn’t have to made of metal. You can have your carpentero create one for you. the mechanism is a simple device. However,the corn used to make Masa is boiled first in a limey (mineral) bath and then ground up into masa. so this isn’t exactly an easy thing to do. I hope you do get access to the proper corn flour to make Masa. Alternately you can use regular flour.

          • http://www.homecookingrocks.com Connie

            “You can have your carpentero create one for you.”

            Looks like you haven’t been to the Philippines in a long time hehehe The really skilled carpenters have flown out to become OFWs. Most of those that remained can’t do it unless they have something to copy from. If I have to buy one that they can copy from, what’s the point of having a copy? :-P

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