Burritos are made by wrapping flour tortillas around a filling. The tortilla is steamed or grilled to make it pliable. Popular burrito fillings include meat, chicken, fish, cheese, refried beans, and rice. The word “burrito” is Spanish for “little donkey” and, to understand why, it is useful to know about the history of burritos.
A man called Juan Mendez used to sell tacos from a street stand in Ciudad Juarez, using a donkey to transport both himself and his food. This was during the time of the Mexican Revolution, in the early 1900s. Mendez wrapped the food in a flour tortilla to keep it warm and he put these flour-wrapped snacks inside individual napkins.
Everyone loved Mendez’s snacks and people came from other places near the Mexican border to taste the “food of the burrito” which became shortened to “burrito.” This example of delicious Mexican food is now famous all over the world and you can get burritos in both Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants. They come in many different sizes and flavors. Burritos are one of the easiest Mexican recipes to make yourself at home.
Burritos are especially popular in Ciudad Juarez, where they were invented, and this area is in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. If you visit Chihuahua, you can buy them from roadside stands or restaurants. Villa Ahumada and other northern Mexican border towns serve authentic Mexican burritos, which differ quite a lot of the North American type of burritos.
Authentic Burritos and Americanized Burritos
A traditional Mexican burrito is thin and small and contains only one or two ingredients, which are likely to be potatoes, fish, beans, chili relleno, Asadero cheese, or some kind of meat. Chopped hot dogs in a tomato chili sauce, shredded flank steak, cheese, refried beans, mole, or barbecue sauce might also be in the burrito.
Salsa verde, which is very spicy, is also found in some Mexican burritos. Sour cream, lettuce, salsa, and avocado are often found in American style burritos but not in Mexican ones. Burritos are very popular in northern Mexico but uncommon in other parts of the country.
Whole Wheat Burritos
Whole wheat burritos are now found throughout a lot of Mexico, perhaps because maize is not grown all over the country, although at one time burritos made with wheat flour tortillas could only be found in northwest Mexico and the southwest United States Mexican American community, as well as with Indian tribes from Puebla.
In Central and Southern Mexico, burritos are often known as “tacos de harina” which means wheat flour tacos, and they are sometimes called “burritas” outside Mexico. In Sonora, a long and thin fried burrito called a chivichanga is very popular and this dish is similar to a chimichanga.