Enchiladas with Red Chilli Sauce


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves:


Appears in

My Street Food Kitchen

My Street Food Kitchen

By Jennifer Joyce

Published 2015

  • About

My friends call these ‘crack enchiladas’ for their highly addictive nature. Let’s just say you’ll be tempted to let out a button or two when you’re finished. They’re best made on the weekend when you have time to lovingly put them together. Unlike the bloated soggy enchiladas you get in some Mexican restaurants these have crisp corn shells and a mouth-watering tangy red chilli sauce. They’re not difficult but it will take a little effort.

Preparation: 40 Minutes
Cooking: 40 Minutes


  • 50 ml ( fl oz) vegetable oil
  • 750 g (1 lb 10 oz) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 handful of coriander (cilantro) leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 200 g (7 oz) cheddar cheese, grated
  • 12 corn tortillas

Red chilli sauce

  • 8 dried guajillo, pasilla or ancho chillies
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) boiling water
  • 1 onion, thickly sliced
  • 5 roma (plum) tomatoes, halved
  • 8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 teaspoon dried wild oregano
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) cider vinegar
  • 60 g ( oz) soft brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt


To make the red chilli sauce, remove the stems and seeds from the dried chillies. Put them in a frying pan over high heat and dry-fry for 30 seconds on each side or until lightly toasted. Transfer to a heatproof bowl, cover with the boiling water and soak for 30 minutes, then drain.

Meanwhile, preheat a grill (broiler) on high. Line a baking tray with foil and lay the onion and tomatoes, cut-side up, on the tray. Cook under the grill until the top edges are blackened.

Put the garlic cloves in a small frying pan over medium heat and dry-fry, shaking the pan frequently, for 10 minutes or until blackened. Remove from the heat and, when cool enough to handle, peel the garlic.

Put the blackened tomatoes, onion and peeled garlic in a blender. Add the remaining ingredients, including the drained chillies, with 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) water and process until smooth. Check the seasoning and add extra salt, sugar and vinegar if necessary. If you wish, you can push the sauce through a fine sieve to remove the chilli and tomato skins; this isn’t usually necessary if the sauce is finely puréed. Blenders will do a better job of this than food processors because they have four blades instead of two.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Season the chicken pieces with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook until browned on both sides. Reduce the heat to low and cook, shaking the pan regularly for 8 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through. Remove from the pan, allow to cool slightly and cut the chicken into 3 cm (1¼ inch) pieces. Put the pieces in a bowl with the onion, coriander and three-quarters of the grated cheese and combine well.

Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F) or 200°C (400°F) fan forced.

Pour 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) of the chilli sauce over the base of a large baking dish. Trim 1 cm (½ inch) off the ends of the tortillas (this will help you fit two snug rows of six into the one dish). Microwave or steam the tortillas for a few seconds to soften them, then quickly place a scant ¼ cup of the chicken mixture along the centre of each tortilla. Roll up tightly and place in the dish, seam-side down. Brush the top of the enchiladas with the remaining oil, then scatter with the remaining cheese. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are crisp.

While the enchiladas are baking, lightly heat the remaining chilli sauce. Serve the hot enchiladas immediately with the chilli sauce, sliced pickled jalapeños or escabeche and créme fraîche.