I love a good chicken enchilada, but my kids refuse to eat anything spicy, including enchilada sauce. That is why chicken enjitomatadas are the perfect solution! Enjitomatadas are prepared like enchiladas, but the sauce is made without chiles, making it a perfect meal for those who are spice adverse!
What are enjitomatadas?
Enjitomatadas (say it like: en-hee-toe-ma-TA-dahs) are essentially an enchilada, but with no spicy chiles used in the sauce. Typically, these are prepared by folding a tortilla and frying it quickly in oil. The fried tortilla is then dunked into the sauce and left to soak up some of that delicious tomato flavor. Toppings can include extra sauce, shredded cheese, thinly sliced or diced onion, Mexican cream, cilantro, parsley, shredded lettuce, thinly sliced radishes, or some combination of these toppings.
In some regions of Mexico, enjitomatadas are filled with shredded chicken, like in this recipe. They can also be prepared without a filling for a vegetarian option or used as a side dish for steak or cecina.
Enchiladas vs. Enjitomatadas vs. Entomatadas vs. Enmoladas vs. Enfrijoladas
It can be kind of confusing for someone not familiar with Spanish to mix up these different dishes. I mean they all include a tortilla and start with “en.” So, what is the difference between enchiladas, enjitomatadas, entomatadas, enmoladas and enfrijoladas? All have a rolled or folded corn tortilla base, but the difference is in the sauce:
- Enchiladas = spicy sauce with chile
- Enjitomatadas= light, tomato-based sauce without chile
- Entomatadas=light, tomatillo-based sauce without chile
- Enmoladas= mole sauce
- Enfrijoladas = bean sauce
I should note that jitomate is the word used in central Mexico for tomatoes. This is why the name, enjitomatadas, includes the word jitomate for the red tomato variety. However, this same dish may be called entomatadas in other regions where folks call tomatoes tomates or tomates rojos.
Here in central Mexico, the word tomate refers to the tomatillo. An entomatada would be the same as an enjitomatada, but with a green sauce instead of a red one. So, depending on where you are in Mexico, this dish is either called enjitomatadas or entomatadas.
How to make chicken enjitomatadas
This dish is so easy to make, I hope it makes it into your regular dinner rotation!
Make the sauce
I like to start by making the sauce. Place the tomatoes, onions, and garlic in a pot and cover with water. Simmer covered until the tomatoes are soft and the skins crack. Discard the water and place the sauce ingredients in a blender, along with the chicken broth and a bit of salt. Blend until smooth.
Prep the tortillas
Next, you will want to make the tacos. Heat oil in a non-stick skillet until shimmering and then quickly pass the tortilla through the oil for just a few seconds. The goal is to have a tortilla that is soft and pliable (makes for easy taco rolling), but not stiff or crunchy (not easy for taco rolling). Depending on how hot your oil is, this may be from 10-15 seconds total. Set the fried tortillas on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb any excess oil. Divide the shredded chicken between the tortillas and roll into tight logs.
If you want a vegetarian version, don’t fill the tortillas with anything and simply fold them over in half or in triangles. Although I have not tested this recipe with vegetable broth, I think that substitution would work well for a vegan or vegetarian version.
Putting it all together
Now that the tortillas are ready to go, you will want to put the sauce into a large sauce pan (you could use the same one that you used for frying the tortillas) and warm through. Once the sauce is warm, place the rolled or folded tortillas in the sauce and allow them to absorb some of the tomato flavor. You will want to remove them after just a couple minutes in the sauce to avoid the tortilla becoming too soft and losing its shape (and filling)!
Divide the enjitomatadas among the dinner plates, cover with extra sauce and top with your favorite toppings!
- 5-6 medium roma tomatoes about 1 lb
- 1/4 medium white onion about 2.5 ounces
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups chicken broth
- salt to taste
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil I use safflower
- 8 white corn tortillas (about 6 inches in diameter)
- 2 cups shredded chicken
- In a medium pot over medium-high heat, place tomatoes, onion, and garlic. Cover with water. Simmer covered until the tomatoes are softened and the skins crack, 10-15 minutes
- Remove the tomatoes, onion, and garlic from the pot and place them in a blender. Add chicken broth and salt to taste. Allow the ingredients to cool slightly and then blend until smooth. This should yield about 4.5-5 cups of sauce.
- In a large, non-stick skillet heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes or until shimmering.
- Gently fry each tortilla in the oil for about 5-7 seconds per side, or until the tortilla is soft and pliable. Do not allow the tortilla to become stiff. Remove the tortilla to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Place 1/8 of the shredded chicken onto the tortilla and roll into a log.
- Repeat these previous 2 steps for the remaining tortillas
- Heat the sauce in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Adjust salt as necessary.
- Once the sauce is warm, place the tacos in the sauce and allow them to warm through and absorb some of the sauce. You will want to turn them occasionally to coat them with sauce. Remove after 2-3 minutes to prevent the tortilla from disintegrating.
- Divide the tacos evenly among 4 plates and top with a bit of extra sauce.
- Add any desired toppings like shredded cheese (I like chihuahua, queso fresco, or queso cincho), Mexican cream, sliced onions, shredded lettuce, avocado, or sliced radishes