Esquites Rice Chimichangas Recipe

Inspired by the vibrant street food of Mexico, this recipe takes esquites, a dish of grilled or boiled corn combined with mayonnaise, chile powder, lime juice, and cotija cheese, and wraps it up with cilantro lime rice in a crispy fried flour tortilla shell. Each bite of these chimichangas is filled with a delightful combination of crunchy, golden-brown tortilla, sweet, smoky corn, spicy, zingy dressing, and fragrant, herby rice, the myriad of flavors and textures working in perfect concert.

Whether you are hosting a festive dinner party or simply seeking a delicious combination of flavors, these chimichangas are sure to be a hit with everyone around. Once fried and arranged on a platter, a quick drizzle of extra dressing and a sprinkle of esquites over the top gives the dish an enticing presentation fit for any function. So fire up the grill, gather your ingredients, and get ready to cook up something wonderful.

Gather the ingredients for esquites rice chimichangas

For this recipe you will need corn, mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic powder, onion powder, chile powder, lime juice, cotija cheese, cilantro, cooked rice, flour tortillas, and vegetable oil. Once you have brought all of these ingredients together, you are ready to get shucking and cooking.

Step 1: Grill the corn

Shuck the corn and place it directly on a high-heat grill, grill pan, or under the broiler, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, turning often, until nicely charred all over. Set aside to cool.

Step 2: Make the sauce

While the corn is cooling, make the sauce: Stir together the mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic powder, onion powder, chile powder, and 2 tablespoons of the lime juice in a bowl.

Step 3: Cut the corn

Once the corn is cooled, slice the kernels off the cob.

Step 4: Make the esquites

Make the esquites: Add the corn kernels, cotija cheese, ½ cup of the cilantro, and half of the sauce to a large bowl. Stir together until well-combined.

Step 5: Season the rice

Make the seasoned rice: Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of lime juice and ½ cup cilantro to the 1 ½ cups cooked rice. Stir together and add salt to taste.

Step 6: Fill the burrito

Make the burrito: Lay out a flour tortilla and scoop ¼ of the rice into the center followed by ¼ of the esquites. If you wish, reserve a small amount of esquites for garnish.

Step 7: Roll the burrito

Roll the burrito tightly, being sure to tuck the corners and fully enclose the filling.

Step 8: Heat the oil

Place a large skillet over high heat and add ¼ inch of vegetable oil (or other high-heat oil).

Step 9: Fry the chimichanga

When the oil reaches 350 F, add two of the chimichangas, seam side down, to the skillet. Fry them for around 30 seconds on each side until crisp and golden brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.

Step 10: Time to eat

Serve hot, garnished with the reserved sauce and esquites, if using.

What is the difference between elote and esquites?

These days it seems like elote is everywhere. Not only is the Mexican street corn dish popular in its own right, but you can find it in all sorts of other applications, such as elote pasta salad, elote chicken chili, or even just a jar of elote-flavored seasoning. But what is elote actually?

The word "elote" has come to be used in reference to the popular Mexican street corn dish, but directly translated means "corn on the cob." In Mexican grocery stores, you might see the word "elote" on a label, but the product is not the delicious dish you're thinking of, but rather your standard, run-of-the-mill corn. That said, there is not another name for the street snack of corn slathered in mayonnaise and covered with spices and cotija cheese, so elote will have to do. But what then differentiates it from esquites?

Esquites is essentially an elote salad. For esquites, the corn kernels are removed from the cob, mixed with the various ingredients used by that particular vendor, and typically served in a cup with a spoon. Elsewhere this same dish may be called elote en vaso (corn in a cup).

What is the difference between a burrito and a chimichanga?

The world of tortilla-wrapped Mexican food is a wide one, encompassing all sorts of different meats, vegetables, legumes, and cheeses. But when it comes to burritos and chimichangas, they are actually very similar. A chimichanga is, essentially, a fried burrito. In fact, chimichangas may have been accidentally created in a Tucson, Arizona restaurant when an employee dropped a burrito into the deep-fryer. That's the story at the El Charro Cafe, though the origin of the chimichanga is a widely disputed point crossing not only the city of Tucson, but also the state of Arizona and even into the northern states of Mexico.

Regardless of the origin, it is primarily the deep-frying which differentiates a chimichanga from a burrito. However, beyond that, chimichangas are typically filled differently. Generally, burritos are stuffed with rice, beans, proteins, and vegetables, whereas chimichangas tend to be a little bit more dense, most often sticking to a primarily meat filling. This recipe, however, stays on the lighter side, using cilantro lime rice and esquites to fill our chimichangas.

Esquites Rice Chimichangas Recipe
4.9 from 16 ratings
This crispy, crunchy chimichanga features grilled corn both on the inside and on top. It's all complemented by a herbaceous, cilantro-studded rice filling.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
25
minutes
Servings
4
Chimichangas
tray of chimichangas
Total time: 35 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 ears corn
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon chile powder
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice, divided
  • ½ cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1 cup finely chopped cilantro, divided
  • 1 ½ cups cooked rice
  • 4 large flour tortillas
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Salt, to taste
Directions
  1. Shuck the corn and place it directly on a high-heat grill, grill pan, or under the broiler, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, turning often, until nicely charred all over. Set aside to cool.
  2. While the corn is cooling, make the sauce: Stir together the mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic powder, onion powder, chile powder, and 2 tablespoons of the lime juice in a bowl.
  3. Once the corn is cooled, slice the kernels off the cob.
  4. Make the esquites: Add the corn kernels, cotija cheese, ½ cup of the cilantro, and half of the sauce to a large bowl. Stir together until well-combined.
  5. Make the seasoned rice: Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of lime juice and ½ cup cilantro to the 1 ½ cups cooked rice. Stir together and add salt to taste.
  6. Make the burrito: Lay out a flour tortilla and scoop ¼ of the rice into the center followed by ¼ of the esquites. If you wish, reserve a small amount of esquites for garnish.
  7. Roll the burrito tightly, being sure to tuck the corners and fully enclose the filling.
  8. Place a large skillet over high heat and add ¼ inch of vegetable oil (or other high-heat oil).
  9. When the oil reaches 350 F, add two of the chimichangas, seam side down, to the skillet. Fry them for around 30 seconds on each side until crisp and golden brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
  10. Serve hot, garnished with the reserved sauce and esquites, if using.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 270
Total Fat 19.9 g
Saturated Fat 3.0 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 9.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 19.9 g
Dietary Fiber 1.0 g
Total Sugars 1.9 g
Sodium 257.6 mg
Protein 3.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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