The Tortilla Step You Shouldn't Skip For Perfect Enchiladas

Between the savory meat, spicy sauce, and gooey, melted cheese, enchiladas can satisfy all sorts of food cravings. Like tacos, it's pretty much impossible to have just one. However, there is one component that doesn't always get the attention it deserves: the tortillas. This is crucial because the tortillas have the power to make or break the dish. Done wrong, the tortillas can become soggy and disappointing.

To ensure your meal comes out perfect, always fry the tortillas first. Failure to do so will result in enchiladas that fall apart, with a mushy texture and unappetizing mouthfeel. Just getting the enchiladas from the pan to your plate will be a challenge, as they'll be prone to crumbling in the process. They might even break up before that — splitting or tearing as they're rolled or folded. By frying them, you'll get tortillas that are both bendable and able to stand up to the sauce instead of disintegrating under it.

The two tortilla frying methods

Frying up all the tortillas you need will only take a few minutes, and it will be well worth the little bit of extra time and effort. Once you get the hang of it, you'll never again feel like you have to go out to eat just to enjoy enchiladas with the right texture. There are, however, two common ways to achieve this. It's worth trying both to see which you prefer.

Traditionally, corn tortillas are dipped in enchilada sauce first, and then fried. This allows the flavor to soak into the tortillas while also cooking them to just the right amount of crispness, ensuring that they won't fall apart under the wetness of the sauce. It will only take a few seconds on each side — you'll be able to tell that they're done by the change in texture and color as the sauce sears into the tortillas.

Since the first method can be messy, you may want to try frying them first, and then dipping them in the enchilada sauce second. There will be a slight difference in taste with this method, but tortillas fried this way are the easiest to work with.

Folded versus rolled enchiladas

Ultimately, there are innumerable ways to make enchiladas. While authentic versions are made with corn tortillas, some people use flour instead (though technically, this difference would make them wet burritos). Enchiladas can also be rolled into cylinders or folded in half like a taco, and they can be finished in the oven, or in a skillet on the stove.

If you've only ever made enchiladas by rolling them and baking them like a casserole, then you should definitely try the folded kind at least once. This method is quick and makes it easy to prepare a few enchiladas at a time instead of an entire baking pan's worth. Just add your preferred fillings to a tortilla that has been dipped in enchilada sauce, fold it over in a skillet with hot oil, add a spoonful more sauce, and pan-fry for half a minute. Then repeat on the other side, taking care to add more sauce. Regardless of which method you use, frying the tortilla is the most important step that will result in enchiladas that have just the right taste and texture.

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