I always thought that chimichangas involved a lot of ingredients, but after researching them for the website I realised that they’re really only made up of a tortilla that’s stuffed with rice, cheese, meat or vegetables and then folded and fried until it is crispy. With this in mind, you could make chimichangas with any filling combination you fancy, such as slices of roast chicken, shredded pork or beef, or even fish.
Although many people like to fill their chimichangas with plain rice I prefer to serve my rice on the side because it allows the tortilla to take on the flavour of the meat and cheese and it also means that I can make Mexican rice to accompany the chimichangas. Mexican rice is a seasoned rice that’s made with chopped tomatoes and a range of spices, providing a great side dish to the chicken chimichangas that goes really well with the usual jalepenos, sour cream, guacamole and salsa that we tend to serve alongside Mexican dishes.
Chicken chimichangas make a lovely change from the usual fajitas or burritos our family tends to have on our chosen ‘Mexican night’. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy a soft, warm corn tortilla wrapped around well-seasoned fajita ingredients, but the beauty of frying the tortillas to create chimichangas is that it produces the great taste of the fried, crispy tortilla. The crispy exterior of the chimichanga also makes a wonderful contrast to the soft, gooey cheesy interior.
Chicken chimichangas don’t take that much longer to make than regular fajitas or burritos, but they’re worth it in terms of taste. The crunchy, toasted corn tortilla that’s tightly wrapped around tender pieces of roast chicken, tangy cubes of fresh tomato and soft, melted cheese provides a taste that’s unbeatable.
8 corn tortillas (or gluten-free tortillas)
3 chicken breasts
100g grated cheese (I use non-dairy Violife)
4 fresh tomatoes (diced)
Vegetable oil (for frying the chicken chimichangas)
For the Mexican rice:
2 vegetable stock cubes
200g long grain rice
600ml boiling water
100g red bell pepper (diced)
360g of tinned chopped tomatoes
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp asafoetida powder
1/3 tsp of dried chilli flakes (optional)
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Cook your chicken breasts.
Meanwhile, put your hot water in a pan and dissolve the stock cubes in the water. Add the rice and cook until the rice is soft. Drain the rice and put it back in the saucepan.
Add the tin of chopped tomatoes, the diced red pepper and all of the spices to the rice and heat through.
Once your chicken is fully cooked, slice it into thin strips.
Build your chicken chimichangas by laying out a corn tortilla, adding grated cheese, sliced chicken, some diced fresh tomato and a good grind of fresh black pepper.
Fold the sides of the tortilla so that the edges meet in the centre and then fold the top and bottom towards the centre so that it forms a tight parcel.
Get your frying pan hot and add a tbsp of vegetable oil. Once it’s hot lay the chimmichangas folded side down in the frying pan and fry them until the base is golden brown and crispy. Turn the chicken chimichangas over and fry the other side too.
Once they’re crispy and golden serve them with the Mexican rice, salsa, sour cream, jalepenos, chopped fresh coriander and salad.