Enchiladas, One of the World’s Most Perfect Foods
Image courtesy of Nuestro Stories.
I know that the best food in the world is an absolutely subjective thing, but if you were to take my survey, enchiladas would most definitely be up at the top of the list.
Enchiladas combine all the most amazing elements into one big pan of hot, spicy, melty, simultaneously crunchy, and soft deliciousness that I would probably be able to eat once a day forever and be happy about it.
But I digress.
A bite from heaven
The enchilada has evolved over time, with some origin stories taking it as far back as the time of the Aztecs.
According to one version, the Aztecs of the Yucatan invented the foundations of the dish we know today by dipping a corn tortilla in roasted pumpkin seeds, wrapping it around a hard-boiled egg, and then smothering it in thick,tomato-based salsa.
Taking it a step further, a deeper dive into the dish's history indicates that it may have been the food served to Bernal Diaz del Castillo when the Spanish colonizers first took up space in Tenochtitlan. Per his own writing in Historia Verdadera de la Conquista de la Nueva España, Diaz speaks on the food served to King Moctezuma, but among the thousands prepared, none stood out so much as the little corn tortillas dipped in pumpkin seeds.
As time and colonization continued, the dish began to meld with aspects from the Spanish until it formed the food we know today. While many places in Mexico serve a healthier, somewhat more traditional version of the dish than what we may know in the states, the general premise of the dish remains the same.
Tortillas. Stuffing. Sauce.
What you choose to do with it, add to it, or subtract from it is up to you. I’m sure there are probably quite a few different ways to prepare them, depending on who raised you, what your tastes are, and what you prefer.
My own personal vote, though?
I like simple enchiladas. Cheese, onions, chiles, chiles, and more chiles, smothered in salsa verde. But others may feel differently, which is why I encourage you to jump online and scour through the hundreds of versions of the recipe that pops up when you search “best enchilada recipe” and see which one tickles your fancy. Or try them all! Where’s the harm in that?
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Olivia Monahan Chicana journalist, editor, educator, and organizer in Sacramento whose sole focus is to shed light on stories on our most impacted and marginalized communities, but even more importantly, for those stories to humanize those normally left out. She is an Ida B Wells Investigative Journalism Fellow 2022 Finalist, a member of the Parenting Journalists Society, and has bylines in The Courier, The Sacramento Bee, The Americano, Submerge Magazine among others.