What is flakey on the outside and oozing with the melty goodness of a molten melange of savory, cheesy, meat, beans and Mexican comfort? That would be something called a chimichanga.
Culinary historians argue about exactly where chimichangas were invented. Many restaurants claim bragging rights. The strongest claim comes from the El Charro Cafe, the oldest Mexican restaurant in Tucson, Arizona. A Family legend says that Monica Flin, who started the restaurant in 1922, cussed in the kitchen when a burrito flipped into the deep fryer. Because young nieces and nephews were in the kitchen with her, she changed the swear word to chimichanga, which is the Spanish equivalent of thing-a-ma-gig. Apparently, the name not only stuck, but now can be enjoyed in just about any place that offers good Mexican food.
When the chimichanga was invented, it was designed to taste like it was prepared in the style of the cuisine of Sonora, Mexico. This way of cooking is reminiscent of a special kind of Mexican cooking that has achieved a wildly popular cult status. A chimichanga is a burrito prepared with a choice of meat, vegetables, and spices, deep-fried to a gilded perfection, and served on a bed of shredded lettuce with cheese and then topped with a mild sauce, Guacamole, chopped green onions and chopped cilantro. dictionary
The best word to describe chimichangas is delicioso. That is Spanish for delicious. Perhaps delicioso is not powerful enough. Maybe it should be said that chimichangas are scrumptious. Is there a word for that in Spanish? According to dictionary.com, chimichanga (pronounced: chim-ee-chahng-guh) means, a crisp, often deep-fried tortilla containing a spicy filling of pork, chicken, etc., usually served as an appetizer with sour cream, green chili sauce, melted cheese, etc.’. This definition does not begin to express the deliciousness, or the uniqueness of this dish. It is such a versatile, inventive creation, that it is one of those recipes that everyone will want to share with everyone.
It is reasonable to presume that anything that even ever-so-slightly makes us think about eating Burritos cause mouths to water and tummies to growl everywhere! Chimichangas are just that, and then some. These start out like plump, delectable Burritos, and then get a double whammy when their crispy, pastry-like exteriors are bathed in hot oil and fried to an even golden brown. There are two types of tortillas. Some are made of corn and others are made out of flour. Chimichangas are always made of flour, and flour tortillas always fry up nicely. They become so crisp that, they seem to shatter when you take a bite.
The very next time one needs an excuse to put together a fiesta (around here in Los Angeles, that means pretty much all of the time) make it extra special just by serving a platter of chimichangas. Put on some happy, Latin sounds on the radio, rustle up some Margaritas or some ice cold Sangria and pass around a heaping platter of chimichangas. Give out lots of napkins. Put on your dancing shoes, your serape and some maracas! Salud, Amigos!