Kitchen Mexican cuisine
Allergens Gluten-containing cereals Milk
Basis Dough / batter
Dish type Main course
For who Hearty appetites
Spiciness pepper pepper pepper
What is a burrito?
A burrito (pronounced “burr-REE-toh”) is a rolled-up wheat tortilla with a filling; a type of Mexican or Tex-Mex cuisine. Many fillings are possible, such as seasoned minced meat, chicken, salmon, avocado or grilled vegetables. Burrito literally means “little donkey” although no one knows exactly why. Don’t be afraid: no donkeys are used in the dish.
Burritos have been eaten for a long time; certainly for at least 125 years. The dish is described in the Diccionario de Mexicanismos from 1895 as a “rolled up tortilla with meat or other ingredients in it”. Although they are one of the most popular dishes from Mexican cuisine, burritos in Mexico are mainly eaten in the north. Furthermore, they only exist on tourist menus in the country itself.
Not only the name but also the filling has been subject to change over the years. What began in Northern Mexico as a simple mix of meat, cheese and tomato, is nowadays a whole meal packed into a tortilla: rice, beans, meat, cheese, vegetables and sauces can all go in at the same time. Outside Mexico, chefs are particularly creative with the concept, which is why a filling with Thai chicken, Korean kimchi or banana will not raise any eyebrows. Americans are also very fond of the breakfast burrito, filled with egg and bacon.
Did you know...
If you pan fry a burrito, it becomes a chimichanga.
How to make a burrito
For a traditional beef and bean burrito, a pan of meat – minced meat or strips of steak, for example – is cooked to taste with typical Mexican flavours, such as chilli, cumin and oregano. Tomatoes are often added to make the meat a little smoother. Previously prepared or ready-made wheat tortillas are laid out and given a substantial strip of filling. Meat, baked beans and cheese are usual but the possibilities are endless. The sides of the burrito are folded inwards and the burrito rolled up. Often the burritos are allowed to heat in the oven for a while.
How to eat
In America, the land of oversized portions, people love the miracle burrito, which is the size of a newborn baby. Fortunately, the average burrito in European countries is somewhat easier to handle. Eat the dish from the hand, wrapped in aluminium foil, or neatly from a plate with a knife and fork.
We Brits usually eat burritos with a large number of side dishes, such as rice, beans, guacamole and sour cream.
Chimichangas, tacos, quesadillas and enchiladas – all consist of tortillas that are shaped around a filling. Try them all and discover the differences.