Named for the canoe-like boats that the Aztecs used to navigate the canals of their ancient capitol Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City, chalupas are one of the most popular snacks in Central Mexico. They are a specialty of the city of Puebla, where they are served everywhere from street stands to elegant restaurants. They are smaller than those found in other regions, and the silver dollar size chalupas sold in the San Francisco plaza are famous throughout the country.
Chalupas are an excellent way to use leftover roast meat or chicken, but can also be served with no meat at all. Although many people prefer to cook without lard, chalupas just do not taste the same without it. Corn oil may be substituted, but don’t expect the authentic, succulent flavor of chalupas fried in manteca.
- 1/2 cup manteca (pork lard) or corn oil
- 24 3″-diameter tortillas
- 3/4-1 cup salsa verde, homemade or canned
- 3/4-1 cup salsa roja, homemade or canned
- 1 1/2 cups cooked, shredded beef, pork or chicken
- 1 1/2 cups queso fresco or mild feta cheese
- 1 medium white onion, peeled and finely chopped
In a large, deep frying pan, heat the oil or lard until a few drops of water sprinkled into the pan bounce and sizzle.
Place tortillas, as many as will fit, into the pan and soft-fry them, just 3-4 seconds on each side. They should remain pliable and not crispy. Drain them well on paper towels as they are removed from the pan.
Spoon salsa verde, about 1 tablespoon per chalupa, over half of them, and salsa roja over the other half. Top each with a bit of shredded meat, crumbled cheese and onion.
Serve immediately. Makes 24 (6 appetizer or snack servings.)