It is difficult to ignore the fact that some Mexican cuisines bear a significant resemblance to each other, especially in terms of ingredients like tortillas and fillings. To be honest, sometimes, only when it comes to cooking methods can we tell them apart.
The same thing happens to chimichanga and flauta. Yet, don’t panic because this article will show you how to differentiate between flautas and chimichangas, even though they are similar deep-fried dishes.
Related: Most Popular Mexican foods
What Are They?
Actually, the chimichanga is just a burrito that is deep-fried. The end result is a delicious, hot filling, wrapped in a delightful, crispy outer shell. This is a popular dish in Tex-Mex and other Southwestern American cuisines.
Furthermore, a chimichanga is a tortilla-based dish that is quite popular. It is made by stuffing a flour tortilla with various ingredients, mainly rice, cheese, beans, and meat, and folding it into a rectangle bundle.
Machaca (dried meat), carne adobada (marinated meat), carne seca (dried beef), or shredded chicken are some of the popular options for filling. The deep-fried wrap is often served with salsa, guacamole, sour cream, or carne asada.
Flautas are a Mexican delicacy made by filling a tortilla with meat and other ingredients and deep-frying the entire thing. They are usually served straight from the fryer and might come with a variety of toppings.
You can eat a handful of flautas at once because they are small, which means that one dish of flautas usually contains multiple tortilla rolls.
This plate is highly popular in Southwest America, and there are versions in South America, in addition to its place of origin in Mexico.
Some people distinguish this dish from taquitos, a closely related dish. However, the two names can be easily confused and are sometimes used interchangeably. Others even argue that taquito is a Californian term for Mexican-Spanish flautas.
Chimichangas vs flautas: what are the differences?
Origin (Are they really Mexican?)
According to some reports, the chimichangas originated in Mexico. Others claim it began when a man mistakenly placed his regular tortilla in a deep fryer in Arizona.
Given the Mexican-type chimichanga, one derivation stated that immigrants to the United States took the dish with them through Sonora and Arizona.
In the case of flautas, the origins of this dish are unknown. Many people believe it was created in the 16th century in Sinaloa. The first modern description of a flauta as a rolled tortilla dish was in 1929, found in a collection of stories about Mexican people in the United States aimed at a young audience.
The flautas are often credited to two restaurants in Southern California for helping to invent and promote them. Guerrero’s daughter used her flauta recipe to open a chain of restaurants in Los Angeles in the 1930s. Shortly after that, competitors began selling identical products, bringing this yummy fried roll to the masses.
The tortilla is a staple ingredient in Latin American countries. Hence, it is not hard to understand why both these dishes are tortilla-based.
Both use flour tortillas to secure the filling when rolled. Yet, the tortillas used for flautas can be smaller, while those for chimichanga are larger, allowing more fillings. Chimichangas usually require extra-large tortillas to secure all the fillings.
Flautas are long, thin rolls, while chimichangas usually come in a bigger role. A chimichanga is a fried burrito, after all.
The chimichanga also weighs much more than a flauta because it tends to hold more contents inside.
Chimichangas are basically meat and veggies wrapped in a tortilla. Yet, since it is a fried burrito, you can add many different ingredients to your filling as long as the ingredients go well together.
Although the filling for flautas can be varied, the most typical ones are meats and other savory fillings that go well with meat. As a result, other fillings should be used sparingly, or the rolls may explode inside your deep fryer.
Flautas are frequently served with cream and green onions on the side. This fried meal, however, can also be served with a spicy dipping sauce.
Meanwhile, a chimichanga is often served with cheese and sour cream.
So, the distinctions between the two dishes are apparent by now, of which the most noticeable is their sizes. You can think of chimichanga as deep-fried, regular-sized burritos and flautas as long, thin spring rolls.
Now with the differences out of the way, let’s learn how to make these delicious deep-fried rolls at home and to surprise your friends and family.
How to Make Chimichangas
Ingredients to prepare
- Shredded meat (your choice)
- Fried beans
- Chili powder, cumin, paprika, and salt
- Green onions, cream cheese, cheese, and salsa
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the shredded meat, chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and salsa. Now is also the time to preheat your oven if you wish to bake your chimichanga.
- To make them, put 2 teaspoons of dried beans 2 inches away from the tortilla’s edge, 1/2 cup of the meat mixture in the center. Fold the tortillas in half lengthwise and roll them up from the bottom, seam down.
- If you bake these rolls (which is a healthier option), brush the outside layer with olive oil and bake for about 20 minutes. If you want to deep-fry them, heat the oil in a deep fryer and cook the chimichangas until golden brown.
- Enjoy these deep-fried burritos with salsa or sour cream on the side.
How to Make Flautas
Things to prepare
- Meat (any kind would work)
- Veggies of your choice (make sure that the veggies go well with your meat)
- Cook your beef until it is soft and well-cooked; then shred it into smaller pieces.
- Prepare your vegetables before beginning the rolling procedure. Combine the vegetables and shredded beef in a mixing bowl, so your filling is ready to use.
- Warm the tortillas before rolling them to prevent them from cracking.
- Fill your tortillas halfway with the filling. Make sure there is not too much filling in them, or everything will fall apart.
- Roll your tortillas and make sure the contents are completely covered. To make your roll even more secure, add a toothpick.
- Preheat your oil. Fry the rolls in a hot skillet until golden brown.
- If you want to opt for a healthier option, you can spray the surface of your flautas with oil and let them cook in the air fryer. This way also results in the crispy and delicious rolls you are looking for.
- Serve them while they are still hot with your favorite dipping sauce. Enjoy! They are perfect as a finger food and can be conveniently eaten on the go.
Are empanadas and burritos related to these two dishes?
In most cases, no.
They’re different, even though they’re all popular foods.
How do you roll a chimichanga?
There’s no one right way to roll a chimichanga, but here’s one method:
- Start by heating some oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.
- Place a large tortilla in the pan and top it with a few tablespoons of refried beans, some cooked chicken or beef, and some shredded cheese.
- Fold the sides of the tortilla in so that they cover the filling, then roll it up like a burrito.
- Fry the chimichanga for a few minutes until it’s golden brown and crispy, then serve with sour cream, salsa, and guacamole. Enjoy!
Some people like to add other ingredients to their chimichangas, such as rice, corn, and diced tomatoes. You can also experiment with different types of cheeses, meats, and sauces. The possibilities are endless.
What do you eat with chimichangas?
Traditionally, chimichangas are eaten with sour cream, salsa, and guacamole. However, you can eat them with whatever toppings you like. Some people prefer to have them with a side of rice and beans, while others might enjoy a side of crispy fries. No matter what you choose, chimichangas are sure to be a delicious and satisfying meal.
Can you make chimichangas ahead of time?
Yes, you can make chimichangas ahead of time. Just follow the instructions above, but instead of frying them, place them in a covered dish and freeze. When you’re ready to eat, pop them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes or until they’re heated through. Chimichangas make a great quick and easy meal for busy weeknights.
Should you eat chimichanga with a fork or a spoon?
That’s up to you! Some people prefer to eat chimichangas with a fork, while others enjoy using a spoon. It all comes down to personal preference. Experiment and see which method you like best. No matter how you choose to eat them, chimichangas are sure to be a delicious and satisfying meal.
Congratulations! By the end of this article, you must have grasped all the ways to distinguish between a chimichanga and a flauta. All in all, their primary difference is clear: while flautas are the size of spring rolls, chimichangas are much bigger, more like burritos.
These deep-fried rolls make yummy dishes and great snacks, so don’t hesitate to follow our recipes to make some at home. You can thank us later!
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