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Flautas: Crispy Rolled Tacos from Mexico

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Flautas, meaning “flutes” in Spanish, are a beloved dish in Mexican cuisine known for their crispy texture and flavorful fillings. They are made by rolling filled tortillas tightly and frying them until golden brown and crunchy. Traditionally, flautas are filled with shredded chicken, beef, or potatoes, but modern variations include a variety of fillings that cater to different tastes. Served with fresh toppings and sauces, flautas make for a satisfying and delicious meal or appetizer.

Ingredients

For the Filling:
  • 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken (or beef, pork, or potatoes)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
For Assembly:
  • Corn or flour tortillas
  • Toothpicks or skewers
  • Shredded lettuce or cabbage
  • Sliced avocado
  • Crumbled queso fresco or shredded cheese
  • Salsa verde or salsa roja
  • Crema Mexicana or sour cream
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Lime wedges

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Filling:
    • In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
    • Add minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
    • Stir in diced tomato, ground cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the tomatoes soften.
    • Add the shredded chicken (or other filling of choice) to the skillet. Mix well to combine and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  2. Assemble the Flautas:
    • Heat a small amount of oil in a separate skillet over medium heat.
    • Warm each tortilla in the skillet for a few seconds on each side to make them pliable.
    • Spoon a small amount of the filling onto each tortilla and roll tightly into a cylinder. Secure with toothpicks or skewers to hold the flautas together.
    • In the same skillet, heat enough oil for frying over medium-high heat.
    • Fry the rolled flautas in batches until golden brown and crispy, about 2-3 minutes per side. Use tongs to turn them carefully.
    • Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels to remove excess oil. Remove the toothpicks or skewers.
  3. Serve Flautas:
    • Arrange the flautas on a serving platter.
    • Top with shredded lettuce or cabbage, sliced avocado, crumbled queso fresco or shredded cheese, and chopped cilantro.
    • Serve with salsa verde or salsa roja, crema Mexicana or sour cream, and lime wedges on the side for squeezing over the flautas.

Tips for Serving

  • Variations: Experiment with different fillings such as beans, cheese, or even seafood for a unique twist on traditional flautas.
  • Toppings: Customize your flautas with your favorite toppings like pickled jalapeños, guacamole, or pico de gallo.
  • Make-Ahead: Prepare the filling and roll the flautas ahead of time. Fry them just before serving to ensure they stay crispy.

Cultural Significance

Flautas are a popular street food and appetizer in Mexico, enjoyed for their crunchy exterior and flavorful fillings. They showcase the versatility of Mexican cuisine, offering a delicious way to enjoy tortillas in a different form.

Conclusion

Flautas are a delightful representation of Mexican culinary tradition, combining crispy fried tortillas with savory fillings and fresh toppings. Whether served as a main dish or appetizer, they are sure to please with their satisfying crunch and delicious flavors. Embrace the essence of Mexican street food and enjoy homemade flautas with this authentic recipe.

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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