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What Is Chimichanga?

Robust salsa is a traditional accompaniment to chimichangas.
Chimichangas may be served with guacamole.
Cooking a burrito in a deep fryer will produce a chimichanga.
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  • Written By: Kasey James
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 05 September 2014
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A chimichanga is a burrito that has been deep-fried. This tortilla-based dish can also be called a chivichanga. It is often served in Tex-Mex, Southwestern, or Mexican restaurants. A chimichanga is generally easy to prepare and inexpensive to buy.

Chimichangas are made just like the traditional burrito. It begins with a large tortilla filled with shredded meat or seafood. The meat is topped with enchilada sauce, cheese, lettuce, and onions. It is then cooked in a deep-fat fryer. After being cooked, it is often smothered with more melted cheese.

After the chimichanga is cooked, it is often served on a bed of lettuce with guacamole and sour cream on the side. Many people also like to add salsa to this dish. Chimichangas were originally prepared using shredded chicken or beef, but can now be made using shrimp or pork. There are also vegetarian versions filled with grilled peppers, onions, and squash.

Even though this dish was believed to originate in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico, it can be found all over the world. Most restaurants that serve tortilla-based dishes serve their own version of the chimichanga. It is often found on a menu that also serves burritos, chalupas, and tacos.

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Several people claim to have created the first chimichanga. The Flores family from Tucson, Arizona, says that the original owner of its Tex-Mex restaurant, Monica Flin, was the unique creator. Monica Flin started the family restaurant in 1922, and some years later reportedly dropped a burrito into the deep fryer, creating the chimichanga. Another restaurant owner, George Jacob, also from Tucson, claims to have invented the chimichanga in 1946 and called it a fried burrito. Another man named Woody Johnson from Phoenix, Arizona, also says he created the dish the very same year.

Most people agree that chimichangas are one of the best Tex-Mex dishes on the menu but this meal may not be the healthiest. Since the chimichanga is deep-fried it contains a good amount of calories and fat. The oil that is used in a deep-fat fryer may not be heart healthy as well.

Most restaurants do deep fry their chimichangas but it is possible to make a healthier version of this dish. There are recipes that call for this delicious cuisine to be baked instead of fried. Baking chimichangas will omit the cooking oil and cut out much of the calories and fat, turning it into a healthier meal.

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