Tortillas are a staple Mexican dish and are used as a base for a variety of fillings. Burrito, chimichanga, and enchilada are a few of the popular Mexican dishes made with tortillas.
The main difference between enchilada and chimichanga lies in the filling, type of tortilla used, and how it was prepared.
Enchiladas are made with corn tortillas, while chimichangas are made with wheat. But that isn’t the only difference that sets the dishes apart; here are some notable differences between enchilada vs chimichanga that you need to know.
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Difference Between Enchilada And Chimichanga
Below, you will find the various differences between enchilada and chimichanga, starting from their origin:
Enchiladas originate from Mexico; way back in the Mayan era, various ingredients are rolled into tortillas. Today, it has remained a habit for millennia in the region, not only in Mexico but across the world.
Enchiladas are traditionally corn tortillas with fish filling but can be filled with a variety of other ingredients.
Chimichanga, on the other hand, is not originally from Mexico. Instead, it is part of Tex-Mex cuisine, which usually involves dishes with a Mexican touch on the border of northern Mexican.
Chimichangas are incredibly popular in Tucson, Arizona, the dish’s birthplace, and is said to have been named by Monica Flin of the el Charro café, who accidentally slipped a tortilla into a sizzling oil pan in the early 1950s and avoided swearing by saying, “chimichanga because there were kids around.
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The tortillas may look the same to people new to Mexican cuisines. But, these dishes actually use two different kinds of tortillas. Enchiladas use corn tortillas, while chimichangas are usually made with wheat tortillas.
Different tortilla types are used for the dishes because of their distinct origins and the ingredient adaptations in those areas.
Corn tortillas are the preferred ingredient in nearly every Mexican wrap because corn can be found everywhere. They have existed for years as an essential agricultural product in Mexican culture.
Whole wheat tortillas are popular in Tex-Mex cuisine because wheat was only available when the Spaniards came to America and brought the seeds from Europe. Wheat tortillas back then were exclusively in northern Mexico and the united states.
The sizes of the tortillas also differ. Enchiladas are usually in 6-to-8-inch flour tortillas, ready-made corn tortillas are usually up tp10 inches, and restaurant-made ones can get up to 16 inches.
The different tortilla sizes mean the final dishes also have different servings. One serving of chimichanga usually equals three servings of enchilada.
Enchilada does not demand too many fillings. It could be stuffed with freshly prepared meat or even leftovers. To make the dish vegan, you can skip the meat and fill the tortilla with black beans and vegetables.
But if you want meat filling in your enchilada, the two most popular options are chicken and beef. You can actually add anything you want into your enchilada.
Chimichanga uses meat as its primary ingredient, and there are a variety of meat options to choose from: you could use dried meat, seasoned pork, and finely diced or shredded chicken. Although, most people usually opt for a beef chimichanga.
This is because chimichanga, as already stated above, is a Tex-Mex dish, and the area it originates from uses beef.
Aside from the meat, you can also pair your chimichangas with a few other ingredients like cheese, rice, and beans; they pair really well with the chimichanga alongside the meat.
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Enchiladas are usually served with two famous sauces: Rojo, a red chili dressing, and a green chili dressing called Verde. These sauces usually use dried red or green chili peppers, tomatoes, garlic, onion, and sour cream. This makes the dish pretty spicy.
On the other hand, Chimichangas can be paired with various dressing options, like melted cheese, enchilada, guacamole, salsa, carne asada, and sour cream.
5. Spices Used
The spices used in the dishes also spell a big difference. Cumin, a commonly used ingredient in Tex-Mex cuisine, usually appears in dishes like chimichangas.
But dishes originating from the homeland of Mexico, like enchiladas, usually use chili peppers and cilantro instead.
Due to the different ingredients used, traditional Mexican food like enchilada tends to be spicier than Tex-Mex’s.
Enchilada Vs Chimichanga: Cooking Methods
The two dishes also require different cooking techniques. To make traditional Mexican enchiladas, the cook usually makes a chili dressing used to create the signature flavor afterward.
The filling is then inserted in the corn tortillas before dipping the wrap in the signature chili dressing. Some modern recipes add cheese into the stuffing, but you can use it as a topping in most cases.
Then, the enchiladas are placed in the oven and baked until everything is hot. You can sprinkle shredded cheese on top of the enchiladas in the last few minutes of baking if you want a melted cheese topping.
Chimichanga, on the other hand, is prepared as a traditional burrito. They can be stuffed with fillings of your choice, but often, they include meat, veggies, spices, cheese, and tomato.
The fillings are rolled up in a wheat tortilla, and a stick or a wooden skewer is used to prevent any components from falling out and causing a mess.
It is then deep-fried in a hot pan at about 200°c until the outside becomes golden and crunchy; this takes about 3 minutes.
Chimichanga can also be baked in the oven after it is brushed with oil.
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