The biggest takeaway from my Baja trip last fall was (no surprise here) the food. I expected to eat some really enjoyable meals, of course, but I was not expecting the sophisticated twists, the bold turns, the eye-popping flavors.
One of my favorite meals was at Alma Verde in Tijuana; an organic juice bar/brunch spot that served flights of chilaquiles…I mean, come on. A beet version landed at our table and I immediately was drawn to it by the deep magenta hue, but one bite and I loved it for the earthy, nutty sauce that left a tingling in your mouth. I knew I was going to be making this again and again.
HOW TO MAKE CHILAQUILES
Chilaquiles are made in 3 steps (with a fourth optional step if you so choose).
- The Sauce
- The Chips
- Combining the sauce + the chips
- Adding stuff on top, i.e. fried egg, Mexican crema, cheese, cilantro, etc.
beets + sesame seeds + serrano chiles + garlic
The best chilaquiles are made with freshly fried tortilla chips, not store-bought. Use manufactured corn tortillas, not homemade you go-getter, you.
corn tortillas + oil + salt
ALL TOGETHER NOW
This is the make-or-break moment. You want to cook the chips just long enough in the sauce to coat them, but not too long that they get mushy. Fry the sauce in a little bit of the leftover oil from making the chips, add the chips to the sauce, and turn to coat.
sauce + chips
My favorite part of chilaquiles are all the garnishes. I like to prepare a bunch of things and put them on the table for people to help themselves. A few ideas:
fried eggs, sliced radishes, baby arugula, cilantro, grilled chicken, sliced serranos, queso fresco, Mexican crema, sliced scallions, chopped cooked beets, lime wedges
I shared my recipe for Beet Chilaquiles over on Salt & Wind to get you excited about their upcoming trips to Baja, so hop on over there and check it out! And right now, they are offering an exclusive deal for ¡Hola! Jalapeño readers: $100 off one of their trips when you use promo code HOLABAJA at check out!
- 1 pound small (about 4) beets
- 1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
- 2 medium serrano chiles, stemmed and chopped, plus some thin slices for garnish
- 2 medium garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice, (from about 4 limes), plus more lime halves for garnish
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for salting the tortilla squares
- 3/4 cup crumbled queso fresco, (can substitute a mild Feta cheese)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 3/4 cup canola, grapeseed, or peanut oil, plus more for frying the egg
- 18 small corn tortillas, cut into small squares or triangles
- 4 to 6 large eggs
- Crema or sour cream, for garnish
- Thinly sliced radish, for garnish
- Handful wild baby arugula, for garnish
To Cook The Beets: Wash and trim the beets. Peel and small dice them and place in a medium saucepan. Cover with heavily salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and gently boil until knife tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool in the water until able to be handled.
To Make The Beet Salsa: Transfer all but a few pieces of beet (save a few for garnish) to a blender, saving the water. Add 1 1/4 cups of the beet water, sesame seeds, garlic, lime juice, and salt. Blend on high until smooth, at least 1 minute. Sauce should easily run off the back of a spoon, add more beet water if necessary. Taste and add more salt as desired. Combine the queso fresco, mint, and cilantro in a medium bowl and set aside until ready to use.
To Make The Chilaquiles: Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once shimmering add tortilla pieces, separating them as you add them to the pan (you may need to do this in 2 to 3 batches depending on the size of your pan — don’t overcrowd). Cook, stirring occasionally, until as evenly light golden brown as possible, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with tongs to a paper towel-lined baking sheet, sprinkle immediately with salt.
Remove any excess oil, reserving about 2 tablespoons in the pan. Return pan to medium heat and carefully add beet salsa to the hot oil, stirring constantly until sauce is boiling and cooked, about 2 minutes. Add tortillas back to the sauce, turning to coat. Remove from heat and cover.
Meanwhile, fry eggs to your desired doneness. Divide chilaquiles between the plates, top with an egg or two, the herbed cheese, and any or all garnishes you’d like. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 644Total Fat: 47gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 35gCholesterol: 233mgSodium: 720mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 7gSugar: 2gProtein: 17g
One More Thing
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