The Enchilada Chronicles


Enchiladas are a beloved staple in our house and in Mexican cuisine, known for their rich flavours, comforting textures, and versatility. They have a fascinating history that traces back to ancient times and have evolved significantly over the centuries. Today, enchiladas come in various forms, each offering a unique taste experience. Let’s dive into the history, evolution, and traditional methods of making enchiladas, and share a mouth-watering recipe to try at home.

The Origins of Enchiladas

Enchiladas have roots that go back to the ancient Mayan civilisation, where corn tortillas were a fundamental part of the diet. The Mayans would often wrap tortillas around small fish, a precursor to the modern enchilada. The word "enchilada" itself comes from the Spanish word "enchilar," which means "to season with chili."

Evolution Through the Ages

Pre-Columbian Era:

  • Corn tortillas were a dietary staple, and wrapping them around various fillings was common.
  • These early versions were simple, typically using ingredients like fish or beans.

Spanish Conquest:

  • The Spanish introduced new ingredients such as cheese, beef, chicken, and pork.
  • The combination of indigenous and Spanish ingredients led to more complex and varied enchilada recipes.

19th Century:

  • Enchiladas were formally documented in Mexican cookbooks.
  • Variations began to proliferate, incorporating regional flavours and ingredients.

Modern Day:

  • Enchiladas have become a global phenomenon, with countless variations and adaptations.
  • They are featured in many cuisines worldwide, often modified to suit local tastes.

Traditional Ways of Making Enchiladas

Traditional enchiladas are typically made by lightly frying tortillas, dipping them in a rich chili sauce, and then filling them with a variety of ingredients. Here are the essential components:

1. Tortillas:

  • Traditionally made from corn, though flour tortillas are also used in some regions.
  • Lightly fried to enhance flavour and prevent them from becoming soggy.

2. Sauce:

  • The key to a great enchilada is the sauce, which can be red (roja), green (verde), or even mole.
  • Made from a blend of chilies, tomatoes, spices, and sometimes chocolate (in the case of mole).

3. Fillings:

  • Common fillings include cheese, chicken, beef, beans, and vegetables.
  • Each filling offers a different flavour profile, making enchiladas incredibly versatile.

4. Toppings:

  • Traditionally topped with cheese and baked until melted and bubbly.
  • Often garnished with sour cream, chopped onions, cilantro, and avocado.

Enchilada Variations

Enchiladas Suizas:

  • Originating from Swiss immigrants in Mexico.
  • Covered in a creamy white sauce and often filled with chicken.

Enchiladas Verdes:

  • Made with a tangy green sauce from tomatillos and green chilies.
  • Often lighter and fresher in flavour.

Mole Enchiladas:

  • Covered in rich, complex mole sauce.
  • Often served on special occasions due to the labor-intensive preparation of mole.

Try Our Enchilada Roja Sauce Recipe

For those looking to make delicious enchiladas at home, we recommend our Enchilada Roja Sauce. This vibrant red sauce brings an authentic Mexican flavor to your enchiladas. Check out the detailed recipe on our website to get started.

Enchilada Roja Sauce Recipe

Enchiladas are more than just a dish; they are a testament to the rich culinary history of Mexico. From their humble beginnings in ancient Mayan culture to their current status as a beloved global food, enchiladas have evolved and adapted, bringing joy to countless dinner tables. Whether you prefer them with a simple cheese filling or a complex mole sauce, enchiladas offer a delicious way to explore the diverse flavours of Mexican cuisine.