Chilaquiles, a Great Way to Use Hot Sauce and Leftover Tortillas

Serious Heat

Andrea Lynn, senior editor of Chile Pepper magazine, shares thoughts and observations from the fiery food world.


Martha Stewart's Chicken Chilaquiles. [Flickr: rpongsaj]

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I'm a magnet for people telling me their favorite way to use hot sauce. While this isn't a scientific study by any means, the overwhelming majority tell me they dash a few squirts into scrambled eggs or drizzle hot sauce over fried eggs. Don't get me wrong—it's a good way to lift up the flavor of eggs. But, let me introduce you to an even better way: chilaquiles.

A traditional Mexican dish, chilaquiles (pronounced CHEE-la KEE-lace) is derived from the word chil-a-quilitl, translating to "herbs or greens in chile broth." Eaten for breakfast or lunch, the recipe was probably born out of necessity—a way to use up leftover or stale tortillas and hot sauce or salsa.

In Mexico, it is also believed that spicy foods are the road to a hangover recovery, and chilaquiles are often that cure. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.

Chilaquiles are typically corn tortillas, fried and then drenched in green salsa, red salsa or hot sauce. The mixture is then simmered until the tortilla starts to soften. Chilaquiles can be topped with cheese, like queso fresco or cheddar and sour cream.

The versatility of chilaquiles is a huge part of their charm. For a quick version, I turn to chips and my favorite hot sauce (currently Cholula Chile Lime). Some people even rave about Doritos as a popular snack chip to use as chilaquiles.

As for the many who told me eggs were their favorite use of hot sauce, do not despair. Eggs are sometimes added to the delightfully spicy mix too, whether fried, scrambled or poached. A fried egg and cheese over chilaquiles is one of my favorite weekend breakfasts. Your eggs will thank you.

Chilaquiles Frittata »