This probably isn’t what you’re imagining when you think of a Chalupa, right? I get it, since Taco Bell has pretty much bastardized every authentic Mexican creation and made them into an impossibly filling but nowhere near satisfying fast-food impulse. As a result, when you look at this — it actually appears sparse by comparison. That’s ok. This is an Authentic Mexican Chalupa and it’s the REAL DEAL.
How do I know? My friend and collaborator, Aurora, who hails from the Mexican state of Puebla shared this with me and she knows a thing or two about authentic Mexican cooking. She runs Aurora’s Mexican Kitchen and teaches classes focused on authentic Mexican fare each Saturday.
When I say authentic, I mean it. Aurora grinds her own corn for tortillas. Everything from her kitchen is from scratch and it’s based on the food and traditions she grew up on in Mexico. The fare is straightforward and very simple to prepare — once you know what to do. Like these chalupas…
They actually get their name from the way the corn tortillas float on the hot oil in the same style as the boats they’re named for! To make the chalupas, heat the oil (not too much — just about 1/4″) in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add a tortilla and let it sizzle for a minute or two, then carefully spoon on the salsa and spread it over the shell while the tortilla is still frying.
Continue to cook until the edges are crispy and browned, then transfer to a flat surface lined with paper towels to soak up excess oil. Continue in this manner with the remaining tortillas.
After the tortillas are fried, dress them how you like. Traditionally, they use very simple toppings, like queso fresco, scattered cilantro and pulled pork or chicken.
I’m showing these Chalupas with Aurora’s salsa verde (a winner in my book), but you can also use red salsa as well and still be just as authentic.
To be honest, I could make a meal of them just like this! They’re crispy and light with a luscious soft heat and creamy, salty bite from the queso.
However, Scott is more of a meat guy and topping these Chalupas with shredded chicken or pork adds just enough umph to take it from quick snack to something more substantial.
If you have a leftover rotisserie chicken, just pull the meat apart and use it to top your chalupas. Pretty simple, right?
Although they may not be what you think of as chalupas, after you try them, you’ll quickly discover why these are way better than the wannabes passed off by the fast food chains. Trust me, you want this for Cinco De Mayo or any time you’re craving authentic Mexican!
Authentic Mexican Chalupas
Chalupas bear very little resemblance to the behemoth's hawked by Taco Bell. This recipe is from my friend Aurora who hails from Puebla, Mexico!
- 8 small corn tortillas
- canola oil for frying
- 1 cup tomatillo salsa verde on this site, plus extra for serving
- 1 cup queso fresco crumbled
- 2 cups pulled cooked chicken or pork shredded
- cilantro for garnish
In a heavy bottomed medium skillet (that a whole flat tortilla can fit into) add about 1/4" of canola oil. Set over a medium to medium high heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, rest a tortilla on the oil (it will float- like a boat) and let it cook for about a minute, until bubbling. Spoon 2 tablespoons of salsa into the center of the tortilla and gently spread it around, but not quite to the edge. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes or until the tortilla edges and bottom are crisp. It's ok, if a little hot oil touches the salsa.
Transfer the chalupa to a tray lined with paper towels to drain. Continue in this method with the rest of the tortillas.
Divide the chicken or pork and queso fresco over the chalupas. Garnish with cilantro and extra salsa verde if desired.
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