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Pronounced [ehn-chee-LAH-thahs ] a tortilla dipped in chile sauce, stuffed with a variety of ingredients then rolled up and baked.  The word "enchilada" just means "in chile".  In Mexico the dish is simple "street vendor" fare and not typically the more elaborate version we see in most U.S. Mexican restaurants. 

Article by: Barbara Bowman

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Diana Kennedy (author of Art of Mexican Cooking) explains that there are two basic methods of making enchiladas. The first method is where the tortilla is lightly fried then dipped in a warmed chile sauce then filled and rolled. The second method dips the tortilla in "raw" sauce then lightly fried, filled and rolled.


The concept of tortillas being wrapped, filled and eaten in various forms was clearly defined by the Aztecs. There does not seem to be any reference to the term "enchilada" that dates back to the Aztecs. The first reference to the term "enchilada" in the U.S. came in 1885.

According to American Food and Drink an article in "American Speech" in 1949 described the enchilada as "a Mexican dish prepared more for turista than for local consumption".

"The word “enchilada” simply means “in chile” and in Mexico, the most beloved version is actually a street snack: a corn tortilla dipped in chile sauce that’s a far cry from the limp, stuffed tortillas swimming in a sea of red sauce and molten cheese that we’re familiar with in the U.S. Rick shows us how to make classic “Street Style” Red Chile Enchiladas at home, and how to transform them into a simple, satisfying brunch presentation, Red Chile Enchiladas with Spicy Potatoes and Fried Eggs. At Sanborn’s in Mexico City, the colorfully tiled restaurant where the famous dish, Enchiladas Suizas, was invented, Rick explains that “Suiza” means Swiss, a tribute to the dish’s use of cream and cheese."

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