Cooking Like a Mexican

 Cooking Like a Mexican

So, there’s a sort of controversy among Mexicans about TexMex food. Not all of us hate it, but it might be a little offensive for some others. This comes from the fact that some places take advantage of TexMex and call it Mexican food, all around the world. If we acknowledge TexMex as a whole other type of cuisine, it’s all good. I know the rich, crunchy goodness is addictive. This got me thinking. Why not share this recipe with you? IT’S OKAY, YOU GUYS! 

Gringo friends, I know you love them because you haven’t tried good tacos dorados, the real Mexican thing. Christmas leftover Taco Tuesday here we come! 

First, I’d like to mention there are two variations of this dish and the main difference is the type of tortilla, the way the tortilla is presented and the topping of the taco. As you should know by now, Mexican food varies from one region to another. The thing you know as “taquitos” – the tightly rolled tortilla around the – are actually called flautas in Spanish, which translates to flutes. The hard-shell tacos are the equivalent to tacos dorados. 

However, these differences aren’t always attended to when flautas/taquitos are made. The result is a dish that sits squarely in the middle. The fillings are often similar, and they’re even served with similar condiments and toppings. When I was little, we would have leftover Friday, where leftover picadillo, meat, cheese and beans were transformed into tacos dorados. Let’s take advantage of the Christmas cooking extravaganza, all the yummy leftovers and have a quick and easy fix for a delicious meal. I highly recommend any protein you cooked. Turkey is great. Mashed potatoes are delicious as is roast beef or prime rib (shredded would be ideal). 

So, yes, you can call flautas “taquitos” and taquitos “flautas.” Just know that if you’re eating a long, thin, rolled-up tortilla that’s distinctly flute-shaped, it’s definitely a flauta. One of the factors of making either tacos dorados or flautas is how fresh and warm tortillas are. If you just went to the tortillería and got nice and warm tortillas, after you have a “taco de sal” get home and get stuffing and rolling. If you have older or colder tortillas, it will be easier to just fold them so the tortilla doesn’t crack and you lose the stuffing in the oil. 

A brief history of tacos: 

-Prehispanic times: Moctezuma (ninth Aztec emperor) used tortillas to hold his food, forming something like a taco. Fun fact: tortillas are often called Moctezuma’s spoon. 

-Spanish conquest: The first taco event was a big banquet organized in Hernan Cortez’s honor. 

-1908: double tortilla tacos stuffed with rice, hard-boiled egg and bathed in salsa were born in Morelos. 

-1950: canasta tacos are born in Tlaxcala. (“Basket” tacos are soft, warm and soft fried)

-1966: a restaurant in Mexico City adapts Arab shawarma and Pastor tacos are born. 

-2017: the 25-thousand-dollar taco is created in Cabo by chef Juan Licerio Alcalá. 

-Present time: there is no limit when it comes to tacos. 

For taste purposes, here’s the kind of taco that is typically known as flautas. We don’t know for sure exactly where they originated, but it is strongly believed that the state of Sinaloa is where they were first made. Flautas are a basic corn tortilla stuffed with shredded beef, pork, chicken and sometimes potato and cheese. They must be made from fresh tortillas, so they can be rolled without breaking and fried until crispy. Here’s where I’m pretty sure your TexMex sweet spot will be satisfied: they’re typically topped off with lettuce, avocado, sour cream, queso fresco and salsa!! They are eaten with no cutlery, just like the good food, typically for lunch or early dinner. They can also be eaten for breakfast, though. 

It’s a staple food in Mexican households since it’s cheap, can be made very easily and in large quantities, and flautas are served in small street food joints and high-end restaurants alike!

Without further ado … 

Ingredients: 

1 lb corn tortillas (best if warm from the tortilleria)

1 large chicken breast (cooked and shredded) or leftovers

½ piece of your choice of lettuce. I like romaine since it’s not as watery (previously disinfected and sliced in julienne) 

8 oz sour cream 

8 oz shredded queso fresco (Cotija, panela, even feta works)

1 avocado, sliced 

1 tomato, sliced

Red or Green salsa to taste (I prefer green, recipe included!)

Toothpicks for assembly 

Vegetable oil to deep fry (high smoking point desired)

Instructions: 

Warm up tortillas if needed, but it’s best to use them fresh off the tortilla machine. Here’s a tip: stick the tortillas in a thin plastic baggie, kind of like the ones you put produce in at the supermarket. Don’t tie them but fold the bag under the tortillas and wrap the whole thing in a cloth towel. Microwave for 20 seconds at a time, making sure you don’t over warm them or they’ll peel. 

Stuff with the shredded chicken (you can also use pork or beef, or CHRISTMAS LEFTOVERS!!) and roll them, snug but not too tight. Stick a toothpick from side to side. You can bundle them up in three so you can fry them without them opening up and making a mess in the oil. Masters skip the toothpick. 

In a deep saucepan, pour about an inch of oil and set over the stove on medium heat. Once the oil starts looking a little wavy, carefully place the flauta in and fry. Remove when golden and crispy. 

Put a paper towel in a metal strainer and place the fried flauta diagonally so all the excess oil drains out while it cools. Just cool enough to the touch. 

Serve on a platter. Layer lettuce, avocado, tomato, queso fresco and sour cream on top. 

Each person puts the salsa on top!

My favorite salsa for tacos dorados EVER: 

“Raw” Green tomato salsa. 

8 green tomatoes, about the size of a ping pong ball, at the biggest.

¼ white onion

1 clove garlic – VERY IMPORTANT 

Salt to taste 

Just put everything in the blender, add water if needed and listo! The best salsa for your taco needs. 

You can also add some cubed avocado, for a richer twist. 

Find me at [email protected] for questions, tips, or anything you might need! Buen provecho!!

6 Comments

  • We don’t use sour cream. Our cream is more akin to creme freche (spelling). It is a liquid-y type of cream. It sometimes sour and most of the time is not. Sometimes it is white most often is a creamy color and sometimes reddish

    • Salsa with no chile
      Hilarious
      And then you guys try Mexicans to not laugh at you

  • This is ignorant. Mexicans know the difference between Texas Mexico and Authentic Mexican cuisine. It’s not an affront to our culture but a blend of our culture and American, which is why it has come about.

  • This is ignorant. Mexicans know the difference between TexMex and Authentic Mexican cuisine. It’s not an affront to our culture but a blend of our culture and American, which is why it has come about.

  • Most americans think green tomatoes are just unripened red tomatoes. These are poisonous when uncooked! Americans need to understand the need to buy tomatillos, the little green ones with skins on them, not just eat raw green tomatoes.

    And the other guy was right about sour cream too. American sour cream is NO substitute for crema. It is much better to buy fresh cream and make your own or buy from a specialty deli.

  • Raised in Tucson, AZ we don’t dare call our Mexican food other than Arizona Sonoran Mexican style, with the flare of Native American influances and our Mexican abuelitas cooking these delicious foods have infused a complete and different flavor and style of cooking no other place can imitate. If you have eaten our dishes you will understand what I’m writing about. So rather than not including AZ/Son/Mex style food into the same sentence with TexMex food you be the judge and compare the types of foods and flavors such as ground beef tacos dorados, fresh chorizo, white menudo and albondigas. You will only experience in our region of the United States of America.

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