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Enchiladas are tortillas with stuffing, commonly consumed as a traditional main course dish by the Mexicans. Originally a maize tortilla with meat filling and tomato sauce flavoring, the savory enchilada is now commonly made with corn or wheat tortillas and a number of delicious fillings other than meat are used. The stuffing, usually made of material that is sumptuous, consists of vegetables, beans, cheese, and seafood or potato preparations. Enchilada was first prepared by the Mexicans who ate corn tortillas stuffed with fish as a traditional staple.

Ingredients Used in Enchilada

Enchiladas are made of tortillas which use maize, corn or wheat as the main ingredients. Though the tortilla is made of a few types of flour, the number of fillings is many. The stuffing is made with a variety of ingredients which may be used singly or in combination with each other. Cheese, vegetables, meat, beans and seafood and their preparations using a combination of each other are some of the ingredients that are recommended. Sour cream, olives, lettuce, chili peppers are some of the ingredients that are used for topping the enchiladas.

Preparation of Enchilada

Enchiladas, being essentially tortillas with a stuffing, the first thing that needs to be prepared is the tortilla. Though packaged tortillas are readily available in the market for convenience, it does not take a lot of effort to cook the item from scratch. Dough is made of flour and water with a pinch of salt and rolled out into circular discs which are slightly browned with or without fat. The filling is prepared in the meantime. Depending upon the substance used, meat, vegetables or cheese, the procedure for preparing the filling varies. For example, mixed vegetable and cheese filling may be prepared by sautéing the vegetables with onion and herb seasonings, and filling up the tortilla with it. The tortilla is placed on a casserole dish and baked lightly with cheese topping. But enchiladas vary widely and may be prepared in a number of ways and with different ingredients.

Popular Enchilada Recipes

Enchiladas vary widely in the fillings that are used, and the sauces with which they are served

• Original Mexican – These belong to the very first generation which consisted of a tortilla eaten with an accompanying chili sauce. The tortilla was dipped in the sauce for taste and it did not have any fillings.

• Enchiladas con chile Colorado – this is served with the traditional red chili pepper sauce which is prepared by making a paste with the dried red chilies. The sauce may also be made in a tomato base.

• Enchiladas con mole- this is served with mole sauce and not chili sauce

• Enchilada montadas or tapatia- these are tortillas with fried egg topping. This may also assume a stacked form when tortillas browned and softened in fat, are stacked on one another with red or green sauces ad cheese filling in between. Other than fried eggs, lettuce shreds, or black olive slices may also be used as toppings.

• Enchiladas potosinas- this consists of tortilla made with masa spiced with chili and filled with cheese mixture.

• Enchiladas Suizas- an enchilada on which a white colored sauce which may be of milk or cream is poured.

• Enchiladas verdes – These are enchiladas made with a sauce consisting of green chilies and tomatillo as its ingredients.

• Enfrijoladas- These enchiladas consist of refried bean toppings in place of chili sauce. The usage of beans, also known as frijoles gives the dish its name.

• Entomatadas- This enchilada uses tomato sauce in place of chili sauce

• Texan Enchilada- This variety of enchilada differs from the rest because it is a wet dish. The enchilada is served in chili sauce gravy. Cheese topping is generously poured over this cheese, beef or pork filled enchilada with gravy.

Enchiladas are ideally eaten as a staple food and they are served hot or at room temperature. A complete meal including a wholesome enchilada with rice and beans is quite popular in the Mexican culture.

Gourmet Enchilada

Enchiladas are everyday staple foods. However, the inclusion of certain ingredients in the enchilada makes it a gourmet’s delight. A gourmet enchilada may be made using herbed and spiced chicken and rice as fillings in a corn tortilla with cheese garnish. The dish is baked in the last step to yield the final product. Seafood like crab and avocado may also be used as stuffing for gourmet enchilada.

Enchilada Variations

The Costa Rican Enchiladas differ from the Mexican enchiladas in form, constituent ingredients and purpose. While the Mexican enchiladas are made of tortilla, their Costa Rican versions are puffed pastries with diced potato filling which is seasoned with sauce similar to tobasco sauce. Moreover, unlike the big and sumptuous Mexican enchilada which is a part of the main meal, the Costa Rican variety is eaten as a coffee snack. The Costa Rican dish may also be made with spiced chicken and minced meat stuffing.

Health Benefits of Enchilada

The nutritive worth of enchiladas is largely dependent on the flour used for making the tortilla, the ingredients used for the stuffing and method of cooking employed. Corn, wheat and maize flours are all beneficial to the human health as they contain a number of nutrients. Vegetable fillings are also considered healthy. However, while using meat and egg fillings , care should be taken to ensure that these ingredients are not contaminated with any disease producing micro-organisms. Chili sauce and other spicy ingredients contribute largely to the flavor of the dish, but their excessive consumption is not recommended for human health, especially for those suffering from digestive ailments.

Enchilada Trivia

Difference between a burrito and an enchilada lies in the ingredients used in the fillings, the flour with which the tortilla is made, the style of wrapping and most importantly the sauce used. The burrito is known to conceal the filling completely whereas an enchilada does not. Enchilada Resources