Daring Cooks do Enchiladas – Thai Enchiladas

by Jenn on May 14, 2010

in Dairy Free,Daring Kitchen,Gluten Free,Meats


This month was an especially fun challenge to make – enchiladas!  My mom always made the best enchiladas when I was younger, and it was one of a number of dishes called “California style” – though I’m not quite sure what that means in terms of enchiladas.  We would have enough to feed an army – not that any of us minded, my mom’s enchiladas were one of those dishes that you looked forward to eating leftovers every night that week for dinner.

Until this Daring Cooks challenge came around I am ashamed to say I had never actually made them before, only been merely someone who enjoyed their cheesy gooey flavorful wonderfulness – ha, surely more than one past English teacher of mine would cringe at that particular selection of adjectives, but I think that description is actually pretty accurate.  I usually pride myself on having some ability to articulate, but then there are just those times that call for half made-up words like wonderfulness.  Enchiladas embrace the concept of “wonderfulness” completely.  Even my spellchecker must realize that about enchiladas because it has no problem with my description :)

I think they seem intimidating to many to prepare but in principle they are really rather simple.  Their only issue is that they have several parts – roast the chiles, make the sauce, cook the meat, fry the tortillas, fill them, and bake.  But no one part is particularly difficult or time consuming – unless of course you have my kitchen, which involves about an 8″ x 10″ sized counter-space, two tiny burners and a toaster oven.  Preparing these enchiladas took me the better part of 4 hrs, and I only got about 4 servings out of them because I had to make such small portions given the space I had.  I just can’t fit a larger dish in that toaster oven no matter how much I want to.

Living in my parents’ house I probably could have cut at least 30% of the time out, and made a good 20 servings.  Ah, the joys of apartment living….one day, hopefully sooner than later, I dream of having a kitchen with a real oven, 4 full burners, and an actual counter instead of trying to slice veggies on my cutting board placed on a rolly cart that moves causing me to slip and slice part of my finger off.  Did I mention that yet?  I have a sizable dent in my index finger now.  Safety note to self – don’t do your cutting on a rolly cart.  And thank goodness for Neosporin.  My husband then continued the chopping on the rolly cart.  He didn’t injure himself :)

Ok, onto the food!  Truth be told, when it came time to actually make the enchiladas, I really wasn’t feeling like eating Mexican at all, nor anything cheesy.  I still roasted a bunch of chiles, but instead blended them with some homemade Thai green curry paste and made a Thai version instead.  Chicken was marinated and then sautéed in roasted chiles/green curry, and a sauce was made with the rest of the chiles, curry paste, and coconut milk.

My husband quickly fried corn tortillas that we got from our favorite gluten-free shop while I then raced to fill them with the chicken, some greens, bamboo shoots and sauce before they cooled so much that they risked cracking.  I LOVE the flavor of corn tortillas, but they are hard to bend once they are fried.  I elected to do the filling of the enchiladas because I am more heat tolerant than my husband, so I could arrange them and fill and roll them while they were still hot enough to manipulate, literally right out of the frying pan.  I squished as many as I could all in a row in our little baking dish, topped with more sauce, and baked for about 30 minutes until everything melded together and the aromas of the chiles and fresh lemongrass permeated our entire apartment.

I didn’t use a timer, I just waited until it smelled right.  That’s often how I cook.  It’s almost an instinctual feeling, like a sixth sense sometimes.  I just let them be in the oven and then a while later said to myself, “Hmm, they smell like they’re ready to eat.”  Turns out I was right, they were ready.  So there you have it.  Thai enchiladas, gluten and dairy free.  And they were full of wonderfullness :)

Blog Checking Lines: Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Foodhave chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found onwww.finecooking.com and written by Robb Walsh.

Also linked to – Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Gluten Free Wednesdays


Joe Ambrosino May 14, 2010 at 12:41 am

Give me lasagne any day, but your recipe was inventive!

Jenn May 14, 2010 at 7:41 am

Oh thanks! Half the fun of DC for me is figuring out how I can put my own spin on the challenges :)

Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 14, 2010 at 2:39 am

Fabulous take on the Daring Cooks Jenn!! Love it — bookmarked for making SOON! (I was expecting a dessert version!)

Jenn May 14, 2010 at 7:42 am

Thanks Mardi! haha I’ve made too many DC challenges into desserts…

Rosa May 14, 2010 at 10:06 am

That is a great idea! I bet those enchiladas taste wonderful!



Jenn May 15, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Thanks! They were!

Barbara Bakes May 14, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Kinda like a pinball wizard – cooks by sense of smell. lol I know exactly what you mean. I’m always saying I’d better check that, it smells like it’s done. Very creative version. Thanks for cooking along with us.

Jenn May 15, 2010 at 10:24 pm

Thank you for hosting! Yes my mother cooks like that too, I think I learned it from her :)

Ruth H. May 14, 2010 at 6:31 pm

I love the idea to take a traditionally Mexican dish and turn it Thai! I also love that you found a way to do it dairy free… Us lactose intolerant folks are always looking for new ideas! Even for someone with a vegetarian household, your “enchiladas” look great!!

Jenn May 15, 2010 at 10:24 pm

Thanks! I think these would be pretty easy to turn vegetarian…the chicken is definitely interchangeable with whatever you would want!

natalia May 14, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Ciao !! You had a great idea ! I had never had normal ones but soon I could try your way !!!

Jenn May 15, 2010 at 10:25 pm

Thank you! If you try them I hope you like them!

Shree May 14, 2010 at 10:39 pm

how interesting! green thai curry paste with roasted chiles! Awesome!

Jenn May 15, 2010 at 10:25 pm

Thanks! I thought they’d blend together well and my husband agreed :)

Megan May 14, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Interesting adaptation of the challenge, sounds like it worked really well!

Jenn May 15, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Yes it did, thanks so much!

tariqata May 15, 2010 at 5:48 pm

I love the idea of using Thai flavours and ingredients with the corn tortillas – it’s such a different way to use so many of the same ingredients – cilantro, lime and chile :) – but it sounds absolutely delicious!

Jenn May 15, 2010 at 10:26 pm

You’re right, many of the flavors/ingredients are the same – just a slightly different spin – Thai flavors + corn tortillas worked out surprisingly well.

Valérie May 15, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Oooh, love the Thai twist! Your mother made enchiladas, what a wonferful childhood! (Ok, I can’t complain: my mom made other good stuff, lol).

Jenn May 15, 2010 at 10:28 pm

I can imagine that your mother made some quite tasty things indeed! Yes, I look forward to my mom’s enchiladas when she makes them, even now when I go home to visit!

Donna May 15, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Wow! Coconut milk sauce for enchiladas – so creative! I’ll bet your flavors are fantastic!

Jenn May 15, 2010 at 10:28 pm

Thanks so much!

Candice May 15, 2010 at 11:33 pm

Oooh, Mexi-thai food! Sounds like a great combo to me.

Jenn May 20, 2010 at 9:54 am

Thanks! It was def. a new combo for me, but a good one!

Wolf May 16, 2010 at 3:59 am

Don’t feel bad- I’ve never made enchiladas before either.}:P

Love the creativity you used in yours!

Jenn May 20, 2010 at 9:55 am

Aww thanks – yeah they were always just something my mom made – I think that’s part of why I couldn’t make traditional enchiladas, because they’re her thing, ya know?

Audax Artifex May 16, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Like you and Wolf I never made enchiladas before this challenge and your Thai version sounds so inspired and delicious. Well done on this challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Jenn May 20, 2010 at 9:55 am

thanks Audax!

Lisa May 16, 2010 at 5:26 pm

What a unique and great idea to fuse Thai with Mexican! they look absolutely beautiful and sound delicious!

Jenn May 20, 2010 at 9:56 am

Thank you!!

Robert May 17, 2010 at 5:02 am

I have started seeing several fusions of Mexican and Asian food lately. One was a hominy and kimchee noodle bowl. I bet your enchiladas tasted wonderful. Can’t wait to see you bust out to a full kitchen.

Jenn May 20, 2010 at 9:58 am

I can’t wait either….Going from full kitchen to sharing parents’ kitchen to this tiny “cuisine agencée” has been quite the adjustment for sure…

I can see lots of potential overlap with Mex/Asian flavors…that hominy/kimchee bowl sounds great too!

gfe--gluten free easily May 18, 2010 at 7:55 pm

They look fabulous, Jenn. I’m so impressed with your dedication given your kitchen restrictions!


Jenn May 20, 2010 at 10:00 am

Thanks Shirley! I super puffy heart my toaster oven right about now :)

Linda May 20, 2010 at 1:40 am

I hope your finger heals quickly! I too am impressed with how much you do in your small kitchen. Thai sounds like a great twist on enchiladas.

Jenn May 20, 2010 at 9:59 am

Thanks! Yeah I’m fine now – there’s a scar but it’s not the first …

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