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I Love 'Mexican' Food!

22 May 2003

And here in the US there are so many great chains that serve it. Applebees, Chevy's, On the Border and I could go on and on
But, the one big problem for a Brit like me, is understanding all those foreign food names. Everyone knows Fajitas but who knows the difference between an Enchilada and a Chimichanga? Or Nachos and Tortillas? This page is dedicated to empowering the little guy when it comes to all things food from down South.

Here are my first few items explained..Feel free to correct me or add new ones!

Burritos - Sandwich but with a thin flour, pita-esque bread. What is the difference between a burrito and a wrap?
Chalupas -
Chilaquiles - Strips of broken Tortilla smothered in sauce
Chimichangas - A Burrito deep fried
Corn Chips - Flakes of thin, corn Tacos. What's the difference between Corn Chips and Nachos?
Enchiladas - Smallish Burrito filled with chicken, beef, or vegetables and covered in sauce or melted cheese
Fajitas - Thin strips of beef (nowadays available with chicken) served fried with peppers and onions. Usually served wrapped in a tortilla
Flautas - A very skinny Chimichanga. You need 4 or 5 of these to make a meal.
Gorditas - Cornmeal tortillas filled with cheese
Nachos - Flakes of thin, corn Tacos. What's the difference between Corn Chips and Nachos?
Tacos - Crisp corn shells made by deep-frying tortilla, that get stuck in your teeth. You can put stuff inside them (chicken, beef, sour cream) and it will explode over you when you try to eat it.
Tamales - See below - thx Randy!
Tostadas - See below - thx Randy!
Tortillas - This is your base unit of Mexican fare - A small, flat, disc made from either flour or corn (aka. maize). Cooked on a hot, greaseless griddle.
Rellenos - See below - thx Randy!
Quesadillas - 2 Flour wraps with a layer of cheese and chicken inside, grilled.
Wraps - Not really Mexican food but similar to a flour tortilla, just larger and flatter. See Burrito.

Replies: 8 Comments

To Kath,
I doubt you even need to eat the tomales. i am sure you are FAT enough!

Shana said @ 03/29/2004 07:15 PM EST

Why do you have to wrap tomales in corn husks? Thanks!

Hope said @ 03/29/2004 07:13 PM EST


Does anyone here have a recipe for burritos or wraps using wheat flour?



Kath said @ 01/15/2004 06:19 AM EST

thx Amber! I agree and after further research have updated the entry
It seems that Fajita is the meat rather than the whole dish / bread.
Here, on the East Coast at least, when you order the dish, you ask for 'fajitas' - I always assumed that a 'fajita' was some of the meat, peppers, onion, etc wrapped in a tortilla.
This site has a good history of the fajita

dave said @ 01/13/2004 01:27 PM EST

"Fajitas - Flour bread used to wrap up beef, chicken or the ever present combo. Think thin pitas or the same bread used to make a wrap"

This, I don't believe is correct. The fajita, is basically long, thin strips of meat, grilled over a flame or faux-flame (I.E. - an electric griddle)with an assortment of peppers and onions. They don't necessarily need to be wrapped in bread, this is completely strange to me. I grew up in Los Angeles, and I never heard anyone consider a fajita, bread.

Amber Berglund said @ 01/13/2004 12:54 PM EST

From Dallas --
Some additional definitions you missed:

Chalupa - crisp corn tortilla covered with refried beans, then topped with shredded lettuce, tomatoes and cheese, kinda' like a big simple nacho.

Corn Chips - a bit obvious. Often corn tortillas cut into triangular wedges and fried to a crisp.

Nachos - Layered finger-meal. Corn chips covered with choice of refried beans, beef, or chicken, and varying amounts of cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers. Lots of variations.

Tamales - cornbread-type batter is spread onto a corn husk and filled with a spicy beef sauce, and then rolled up. Tamales are lightly packed in a row, standing on edge and then steamed or baked. To eat, first remove the corn husk wrapper.

Rellenos - a mild green chili pepper stuffed with cheddar cheese (and onions?), then dipped in a heavy corn batter and deep fried. Sometimes covered in various mexican sauces.

Tostados - Name used for several variations. Sometimes just a small round corn chip. Other times, basically the same as a Chalupa.

Randy said @ 08/14/2003 02:49 PM EST

Everything you need to know about the tortilla and its various permutations:

Let's hear it for being gluten-free!

Kate said @ 06/05/2003 02:05 PM EST

Hey - Dude's ready for the ranch! Great duds. FYI - a tortilla can also be made of flour. Enchiladas are made from corn tortillas, while the also-popular burritos and fajitas are usually made with flour tortillas. Tamales are corn tortillas filled wtih shredded meat or cheese and beans and steamed in corn husks. Yum!
To behold the wonders of tortilla making, visit HEB at Hancock Center, Austin TX.

Carol said @ 06/05/2003 01:57 PM EST


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