There’s no better way to start your day than with a good breakfast, especially if it’s a dish from Mexico. Mexican cuisine is well-known for its bold and vibrant flavors that awaken taste buds and provide an instant burst of flavor.
Mexican breakfast dishes often feature a combination of spices, herbs, and fresh ingredients such as eggs, beans, tomatoes, avocados, and fresh herbs among others. These ingredients provide essential nutrients such as protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals which help to fuel your day. If you want to start your day off with a bang, we recommend indulging in either migas or chilaquiles for breakfast.
Migas and chilaquiles are traditional breakfast or brunch dishes from Mexico that are delicious and full of flavor. While both these dishes feature tortilla chips as the primary ingredient, they aren’t exactly the same thing.
Differences Between Migas And Chilaquiles
Migas originated in the Iberian Peninsula, which includes present-day Spain and Portugal. The dish has a long history and can be traced back to rural communities where it was developed as a way to utilize stale bread and other readily available ingredients.
Migas have different regional variations within Spain and Portugal, each with its own unique preparation and ingredients.
In Spain, migas can be found in various regions such as Teruel, Extremadura, and Murcia, each with its own twist on the dish. For instance, migas in Teruel is prepared with chorizo and bacon, and is commonly accompanied by grapes. In Extremadura, the bread is soaked in water, garlic, paprika, and olive oil overnight. On the other hand, migas in Murcia are often accompanied by a fried egg or fresh vegetables on top.
In Portugal, migas are also part of the culinary heritage. Portuguese migas are made using cornbread or cornmeal that is cooked with water and olive oil to produce a moist, crumbly texture.
Migas are commonly found in various regions of Portugal, including Alentejo and Algarve. In Alentejo, migas are made with cornbread, while in Algarve, they may contain seafood such as clams or shrimp.
Nowadays, most people use tortillas or tortilla chips instead of bread to make migas.
On the other hand, chilaquiles are a traditional Mexican dish that originated in Mexico. It is believed to have ancient roots, tracing back to the pre-Columbian era when the Aztecs inhabited the region.
The name of the dish is derived from the NahuatlI word "chīlāquilitl," which refers to something that is "soaked in chili."
Chilaquiles were initially created as a way to use up leftover tortillas that had become stale. The stale tortillas were cut into triangles or strips, lightly fried or toasted, and then soaked or simmered in a flavorful sauce made from chili peppers, tomatoes, and various seasonings.
Chilaquiles were traditionally a peasant dish, which was popular among Mexican working-class communities. Over time, they gained popularity and became a beloved breakfast or brunch dish enjoyed by people from all walks of life throughout Mexico.
Chilaquiles have also become a staple in Mexican cuisine and are often served at celebratory events, such as festivals and holidays.
Migas have a rich and savory flavor from the combination of ingredients like garlic, onions, and meats. The bread or breadcrumbs provide a substantial and hearty texture.
On the other hand, chilaquiles have a combination of flavors that include the tanginess and spiciness of the sauce, the crunchiness of the tortilla chips, and the creaminess of the garnishes. They offer a balance of savory, tangy, and spicy flavors.
In general, migas can have a mild to moderate level of spiciness. The use of ingredients like peppers or spices such as paprika or chili powder may add some heat to the dish.
Chilaquiles, on the other hand, often incorporate a sauce made from tomatoes, chili peppers, and other seasonings. The spiciness of chilaquiles can range from mild to hot, depending on the types of chili peppers and the quantities used in the sauce. Traditional red or green chili-based sauces can add a noticeable level of spiciness to the dish.
Migas have a breadier and chewier texture with a crispy exterior, while chilaquiles offer a combination of crispy, soft, and moistened textures with layers of varying degrees of crispness.
Migas often have crispy elements, especially on the exterior of the bread or breadcrumbs. The bread is typically sautéed or fried until it becomes crispy and golden brown. The crispy texture adds a delightful crunch to the dish.
While migas have a crispy exterior, the interior of the bread or breadcrumbs may have a softer texture. The bread absorbs the flavors and liquids from the other ingredients during cooking, which can moisten and soften the interior of the bread slightly.
Chilaquiles traditionally start with crispy tortilla chips, which are either fried or toasted until they become crisp and golden. This initial frying or toasting process gives the chips a satisfying crunch.
Once the tortilla chips are combined with the sauce and simmered, they absorb some of the liquid, causing them to soften. The chips may become softer and more pliable, although they can retain some crispness in certain areas.
Chilaquiles are typically simmered in a flavorful sauce, which moistens the tortilla chips. The sauce partially soaks into the chips, providing them with moisture and additional flavor.
The main ingredient in migas is stale bread or breadcrumbs, which are sautéed with various ingredients like olive oil or lard, garlic, onions, peppers, and meats such as chorizo or bacon.
Chilaquiles are made with tortilla chips, which are lightly fried until crispy. The chips are then simmered in a sauce typically made from tomatoes, chili peppers, and other seasonings.
To prepare migas, stale bread is typically broken into small pieces or crumbs and then cooked in a pan with olive oil or lard. Additional ingredients such as garlic, onions, peppers, chorizo, bacon, or sausage are commonly added for flavor. The mixture is cooked until the bread becomes crispy and absorbs the flavors from the other ingredients.
Migas typically does not have a sauce. The bread or breadcrumbs are cooked with the other ingredients, absorbing their flavors, but they are not coated in a liquid sauce.
To prepare chilaquiles, corn tortillas are traditionally used. The tortillas are cut into triangles or strips and lightly fried until they become crispy. The fried tortilla chips are then simmered in a sauce, which can vary but is often made from tomatoes, chili peppers, and other seasonings. The sauce can be red or green, depending on the ingredients used.
Chilaquiles are simmered in a sauce, which can be red or green depending on the ingredients used. The sauce adds flavor and moistens the tortilla chips.
Migas can be served as a main dish or as a side dish, often accompanied by fried eggs, vegetables, or cured meats. It is a hearty and satisfying dish that makes use of leftover bread and is popular in Spanish and Portuguese cuisine.
Chilaquiles can be enjoyed as a standalone dish or accompanied by other breakfast items like fried or poached eggs. It is a popular and versatile dish that showcases the flavors of Mexican cuisine, offering a combination of textures and a balance of savory, tangy, and spicy tastes.
Here’s how you can make traditional migas and chilaquiles in the comfort of your home!
To make traditional migas, you will need olive oil, minced garlic and onion, diced chorizo or bacon, a finely chopped red bell pepper, and stale bread. We recommend using rustic bread or a baguette for this recipe.
Start by cutting the stale bread into small pieces or tear it into rough crumbs. You can leave the crust on or remove it, depending on your preference.
Then, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan or skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is ready, add the minced garlic and sauté for about a minute until fragrant. Then, add the diced chorizo or bacon to the pan and cook until it starts to brown and release its fat. If you are using bacon strips, we recommend cooking the bacon strips until they become crispy to add that extra crunch.
Then, add the chopped onion and red bell pepper to the pan and cook for about five minutes until the vegetables have softened and become translucent. At this stage, add the chopped bread pieces to the pan, stirring well to combine with the other ingredients.
You should continue cooking over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes or until the bread crumbs have absorbed the flavors and turned golden brown and crispy. Make sure to stir occasionally and adjust the heat as needed to prevent burning. In the last stage, season the migas with salt and pepper to taste. One thing you should keep in mind is that the chorizo or bacon may already add some saltiness, so season it accordingly.
Once the migas are cooked to your desired level of crispness, remove the pan from the heat. You can serve the migas hot as a main dish or a side dish. They can be accompanied by fried eggs, grilled vegetables, or even a fresh salad.
A popular variation of this traditional Mexican dish is called the Tex-Mex Migas. Instead of using stale bread, you can just use tortilla chips. All you have to do is fry the tortilla chips till they are crispy and add them to the pan. The process is the same.
Check out this video to learn how to make migas like a pro!
On the other hand, if you want to make yummy chilaquiles, you might want to save this recipe. The ingredients that you will need are corn tortillas, salsa, chicken or vegetable broth, finely chopped onions, minced garlic, and crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese.
The first step is to cut the corn tortillas into triangles or small squares and fry them until they are crispy and golden brown. Then, remove the fried tortillas from the skillet and place them on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.
The second step is to make the sauce. In the same skillet, discard most of the oil used to fry the corn tortillas, leaving about a tablespoon behind. In the hot oil, add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the skillet and sauté them until they become translucent and fragrant. Then, pour in the salsa of your choice and the chicken or vegetable broth.
Bring the sauce to a simmer and let it cook for about 10-15 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together. Once the sauce is ready, add the fried tortilla pieces to the skillet. In order to make sure that the tortilla pieces are well coated, gently toss the tortillas in the sauce.
If you love cheese, you can sprinkle some queso fresco or cotija cheese on top. You can also use feta cheese. Make sure to garnish with sour cream, sliced avocado, chopped cilantro, and sliced radishes, or fried eggs.
Here’s a video for making delicious chilaquiles!
Can I use stale bread instead of tortilla chips for making migas?
Yes, you can use stale bread for making migas. All you have to do is tear or cut the bread into small pieces and cook them with the other ingredients in the same manner.
How do you prevent the tortilla chips from becoming soggy?
You can fry the tortilla chips in batches in order to prevent them from becoming soggy. If you intend on making a large batch of migas or chilaquiles, fry the tortilla chips in small batches so that they are cooked evenly. Then, place them on a paper towel to drain out the excess oil.
Can migas and chilaquiles be made vegetarian or vegan?
Yes, migas and chilaquiles can be made vegetarian by omitting meat ingredients like chorizo or bacon and using vegetable-based toppings like diced avocado, fresh salsa, grilled corn, and scallions among others.
For a vegan version, eggs and dairy products would be excluded or substituted with plant-based alternatives like guacamole, dairy-free cheddar or mozzarella, pickled jalapenos, sliced radishes, black beans, and lots more.
While migas are a great way to use up stale bread, chilaquiles are a great way to use up leftover salsa. What’s great about these dishes is that they can be customized to your liking. Both are excellent dishes that can be served for either breakfast or brunch and the recipes are quite easy to follow.