The next stop is in Mexico and the sweet version of amazing Chimichangas!
Put simply, the chimichanga is a deep-fried burrito, usually served with cheese and sour cream, sometimes guac or salsa, always delicious. But while the dish has been a staple of Tex-Mex cuisine, especially around Tucson, since the 1950s, its origins remain as hazy as a pot of bean broth. The most popular theory dates back to the 1920s, in which Monica Flin, the founder of Tucson’s famous El Charro restaurant, accidentally dropped a burrito into the deep fryer and instinctively began to mutter ‘chingada,’ a Spanish swear roughly analogous to the f-word.
But El Charro was a family restaurant, and in such genteel times, Flin quickly course-corrected to chimichanga, which would have registered at the time as a nonsense word. Others have since laid claim to inventing the chimichanga, but they share a theme of accidentally deep frying something that was intended to be griddled. That may be what happened, or, just a theory, some cook late one night, after a few too many tequilas, may have decided that the only thing better than a burrito is a FRIED burrito, and the rest is history.
If you believe Carlotta Flores, great-grand-niece of Monica Flin, chimichangas are they lucky result of a failed midnight snack. As restaurant reviewer Rita Connelly tells it, Flin was rebellious, independent, and headstrong. The eldest of eight children, she emigrated with her father to Tuscon, Arizona from France. There, she dedicated herself to being undeniably ahead of her times. She hunted, fished, dated, married, divorced, spiked tea with tequila during prohibition, and opened the now-famous restaurant, El Charro Cafe, where she was simultaneously hostess, waitress, and chef.
According to Flores, Flin invented the chimichanga late at night, when preparing a midnight snack for her many nieces. When one of her nieces bumped into her, the bean burrito she was holding flew out of her hands and into a vat of hot oil. (Why had she heated up the hot oil, to begin with? We'll leave that to your imagination.)
In any case, Flin began to scream out a Mexican curse but changed it mid-word into "chimichanga" which is the Mexican equivalent of "thingamajig".
It's the stuff of legend, to be sure. But it might be pure fairytale.
Are chimichangas really Chinese?
In Sonora, Mexico, you can order yourself a "chivichanga." Suspiciously similar to "chimichangas," "chivichangas" are fried, flour-tortilla quesadillas, stuffed with refried beans or meats, and smothered in guajillo sauce, or topped with mayonnaise and shredded cabbage (via Culinary Backstreets and Tuscon). And if you choose to believe biologist and ethnologist, Tom Van Devender, you can thank the existence of "chivichangas" to cross-cultural love affairs.
The story goes something like this. An impressive 60,000 Chinese migrated to Mexico during the late 1800s and early 1900s, possibly as a way to illicitly enter the United States (via The University of Arizona Press). As people are bound to do, the Chinese laborers fell in love and got married. If Devender's version is correct, their Mexican wives attempted to make egg rolls for them, and the "chivichanga" was born. How did they get the name "chivichanga"? Most likely, the name is a result of Mexicans trying to pronounce the Chinese word. *source
Let's jump straight to the recipe!
Prep: 20 min
Cook time: 5 min
Servings: 2 portions
Calories per serving: 336 kcal
Find the recipe & nutrition facts below :
2 large tortillas
2 small apples
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
For the coating:
sugar mixed with cinnamon
toffee caramel (homemade recipe here)
Step 1: In a medium-sized mixing bowl add peeled and chopped apples and mix them with sugar lemon juice and cinnamon. Let them reduce the juice for around 15 minutes.
Step 2: Place the apple mix on a frying pan and fry for around 5 minutes to caramelize the apples and release the apple juice.
Step 3: Divide the filling into two tortillas and wrap them tightly. (you can even stack them with a toothpick)
Step 4: Preheat the frying pan with around 4-5 tbsp of oil.
Step 5: Fry the chimichangas for around 2 minutes on each side.
Step 6: Immediately cover them with sugar and cinnamon mix.
Step 7: Optionally pour on top some of the toffee caramel.