It was beyond one of my most unreal adventures that I had no question and no regrets in going for it. It had taught and showed me a lot about the person I could, should, and expected to be. Towards myself, towards others and towards unexpected situations.
It gave me a lot to learn, invest and outgrow scenarios that both served and didn’t serve me any longer. Be it in energy, realizations and especially in comfort zones. Besides growing as a person and snapping into reality, one thing was for sure that I was certain of was that I was and have always been drawn to the love of food!
Wherever I went, I was always curious about flavors, textures, its history and how one dish came to be. In this series of “Mexican Memories,” I'm going to share extraordinary foods that have stuck with me since I’ve left and try to veganize it with you all.
For this recipe, we’re going to travel back into the history of “Chimichangas”—the cousin of the burritos! It is basically a deep-fried burrito but for this version, we’re going to air fry them instead. Stories have it that different restaurant owners claimed to have invented their own version, but there was one who accidentally dropped a burrito into a deep fryer and swore by it—literally swore! They had their young nephews and nieces playing around and almost blurted out a Spanish bad word, and said “Chimichanga” instead.
The end result is a nice, crispy outer wrap enveloping a hot filling topped with simplicity. Each bite just brings out a gush of deliciousness! Let’s start making it before our mouths start watering:
Mexican Memories: Vegan Chimichangas (Air Fried Burrito Instead Of Deep Fried)
- 1 onion (diced)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 block firm tofu (crumbled as minced beef)
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- ½ tsp each paprika, oregano, black pepper, salt, cumin (as DIY taco seasoning)
- 1 whole bell pepper (chopped)
- ¼ can corn kernels
- ¼ can black beans
- 6 tortilla wraps
- vegan cheese (save some for topping)
- oil (for brushing)
- 6 leaves of lettuces (thinly sliced)
- 1–2 lime (into wedges)
- A handful of cilantro
- 1 avocado (into slices or as guacamole)
- (for topping) salsa
- sriracha sauce (to drizzle)
- (for topping) vegan sourcream or coconut yogurt
1. On a hot pan, drizzle 1 tbsp oil to sauté your diced onion and then your minced garlic.
2. Next, add in your crumble firm tofu and sauté it with soy sauce which will mimic looking like minced beef as your filling base.
3. Then add in your chopped bell pepper (I like using tricolor bell peppers—green, red and yellow).
4. After that add in your corn kernels and black beans.
5. And sprinkle your DIY taco seasoning (paprika, oregano, black pepper, salt, cumin)—it also actually includes garlic and onion powder but I just prefer using and sauteing fresh ones (as on step 1).
6. Simply sauté them altogether until everything is fully merged, not having to worry about “undercooking” them because they’re simply and beautifully vegan and they’ll be air fried later on.
7. Take your tortilla wrap and stuff 3 tbsp of your filling, top with 1 or 2 handful of vegan cheese before wrapping and folding them.
8. Once you’ve wrapped all of your chimichangas, lightly brush them with some oil before transferring them into your air fryer basket. (you can also deep fried them if you don’t have an air fryer). I air fried them at 180–200°c for about 5 minutes until golden brown and crunchy.
9. Serve them on a bed of shredded lettuce, top with some salsa, vegan sour cream or coconut yogurt, avocado slices (or guac), a handful of vegan cheese, drizzle some sriracha sauce, a handful of cilantro and some lime wedges.
10. Enjoy this Mexican fiesta! (I sure did.)
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Photo: Bel Faustino