Homemade Mexican feast that beats shop-bought kits hands down

Kitchen Cabinet: Proper, authentic Mexican food that’s quick to make and delicious to eat

When it comes to Mexican food, there is always one massive bee under my bonnet: the twisted concept of an enchilada, which has been pushed by commercial food companies that sell quasi versions of Tex-Mex food and pass it as Mexican.

I’m going to take this opportunity to set the record straight. An enchilada uses a good quality corn tortilla which has been dipped into a nice warm bath of a chilli sauce, then stuffed with a filling of cheese or meat and rolled or folded. It is then topped again with some more sauce and served topped with lightly fried carrots and potatoes, some lettuce, crumbled cheese and a good drizzle of sour cream. Many times you’ll find the dish served with a side of refried beans and/or Mexican rice. The word enchilada means “covered in chilli”.

An entomatada (meaning covered in tomato), is a similar thing, however it is actually covered with tomato sauce that has been cooked with some fresh chilli. So what people have been buying in those kits are definitely not enchiladas but some sort of entomatada made with wheat wraps, which is not Mexican at all. By the way, no enchilada is ever baked in Mexico.

So here’s my homemade entomatada recipe. I made mine filled with fabulous St Tola feta cheese and onion, but we also make a carnivore version of these with some gorgeous Regan organic chicken cooked in water with a bay leaf and a couple of unpeeled garlic cloves, then shredded when fully cooked use these as a filling. Either way, they are quick to make, delicious and full of fresh, wholesome ingredients. No sachets of dehydrated stuff, added flavours, colourings or preservatives: just pure lovely tomatoes and fresh chillies.


This sauce is very mild; I use a jalapeño chili, but you can use any of the red chillies you normally find in supermarkets. If you’re concerned about the heat, only use half the chilli, make the sauce, taste it and add a bit more if you want to increase the heat.

Lily Ramirez-Foran is chef and owner of Picado Mexican, Ireland's first Mexican boutique grocer and cookery school. She also blogs at A Mexican Cook

Mexican entomatadas

Serves 4


For the sauce
800g vine tomatoes
1 fresh red jalapeño chilli, about 20g
5g garlic, two cloves peeled
60ml of hot water
1 vegetable stock cube
2 tbsp sunflower oil
80g onion, diced
Salt to taste

For the filling
400g St Tola feta cheese, plus a bit extra to serve
80g onion, diced

To serve
16 corn tortillas (15cm size)
60ml sunflower oil
1 iceberg lettuce, cut finely
Crème fraiche
Refried beans (tinned are fine)


Make the sauce
1. Put the tomatoes, garlic, chilli, water and vegetable stock cube in a blender or food processor and liquidise/blitz till you have a smooth sauce.

2. Heat the sunflower oil in a non-stick pan, add the onion and cook on medium heat for 2 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Pour the liquidised sauce into the pan with the onions and cook at medium heat, stirring occasionally until the tomato sauce has changed to a deeper red colour and reduced and thickened a little, approximately 10 minutes. Season with salt and set aside. While the sauce is cooking, start making your filling.

Make the filling
3. Crumble the feta cheese into a bowl and mix it with the chopped onion. Once the sauce is made and the filling is ready, you can start making your entomatadas.

Making the entomatadas
4. Heat half the vegetable oil in a small, non-stick pan at medium to high heat. Drop a corn tortilla into the hot oil for about 15 seconds and using an egg lifter and a fork, quickly, gently turn it to the other side for another 15 seconds. Don't leave it too long or the tortilla will go crispy and it will be impossible to roll. What you are trying to do here is to heat the tortilla and make it flexible enough for rolling. Lift the tortilla from the pan and gently shake any excess oil. Repeat this step, topping up the oil every now and then, until all your corn tortillas are heated making sure to overlap them in the plate to keep them warm.

You are now ready to assemble the entomatadas. I recommend you assemble them directly on to warm individual plates you’re going to serve them on, as Mexican entomatadas do not require any baking.

5. Take one of the shiny warm tortillas and place it into a warm plate. Take a generous spoonful of the cheese and onion filling and put it in the bottom half of the tortilla. Using your fingers, roll the tortilla carefully into a cigar form and move it to the edge of the plate to make room for the next one. Repeat the process until you have four plates of lovely, golden cheesy rolls in front of you.

If you are worried about keeping them hot, you can make the first plate and place it in a warmed oven while you get on rolling the next set. This works well when you’re feeding loads of people.

6. When you are ready to serve, check that your tomato sauce is still hot, take a prepared plate of rolled tortillas from the oven and pour a generous amount of the tomato sauce over them. Take some lettuce and place it on top, making sure to crumble any leftovers of feta cheese on top; drizzle with a generous amount of crème fraiche and serve with a side of warm refried beans.

There you have it. A proper, authentic and delicious entomatada (not enchilada) from scratch: simple, healthy and super tasty! No more packaged stuff for you. Go native and try what the real dish tastes like.

Kitchen Cabinet is a series of recipes from chefs who are members of Euro-Toques Ireland who have come together during the coronavirus outbreak to share some of the easy, tasty things that they like to cook and eat at home #ChefsAtHome