The Whole Enchilada

24 02 2010

Playa Grill boasts some pretty yummy enchiladas that have been recently added to the menu. Most, if not all Mexican restaurants have enchiladas as a staple menu item. But are enchiladas just as important to Mexican cuisine as burritos and tacos? Ever wonder where enchiladas came from?

The common understanding is that enchiladas originated in Mexico. The people of the lake region commonly ate rolled corn tortillas around small pieces of fish. Enchiladas appeared in the first Mexican cookbook titled, El Cocinero Mexicano, in 1831 and in Mariano Galvan Rivera’s, Diccionario de Cocina in 1845.

Enchiladas are tortillas dipped in chili sauce and filled with various meats, sauces and cheeses. The word “enchilada” literally means, “filled with chili” in Spanish. The traditional way to make enchiladas was to put a tortilla on a plate and then pour red chili sauce over it. Grated cheese is sprinkled and a second tortilla added on top. It was topped with more cheese, sauce, unions, fried eggs and lettuce.

If you buy an enchilada off a street vendor in Mexico, you’ll get a tortilla dipped in chili sauce. U.S. restaurants have their own versions that have diverted from the original ways. The recipes have evolved over the years, mixing all kinds of ingredients like veggies, mole, chorizo and egg, which can make eating enchiladas a constantly fresh experience.

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