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Deep-fried Quesadillas?

Looking at the menu of a local restaurant I saw this item ...

Quesadilla Turnover
a big flour tortilla, deep fried and stuffed with cheese, ranchera sauce & refried beans

Anyone had a quesdilla that was deep-fried rather than grilled?

Would these be called by another name? No mention of the deep-fried version in this wiki article.

The foodtime does mention deep-frying ...
"A quesadilla is a 'turnover' made by folding a fresh tortilla in half around a simple filling such as cheese, epazote (a pungent herb), and pepper, or potatoes and chorizo, and deep frying it..."

Here's an old thread about quesadillas that has a few brief mentions.

I have to think the restaurant is pretty authentic as they have things like goat birria and eggs with nopales on the menu. They make their own corn and flour tortillas. I'm guessing the streap chili on the menu is some sort of spelling error. They have regular grilled quesdillas on the menu as well.

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    1. re: Leslie

      A chimichanga is a deep-fried burrito, rolled and folded on the ends, with a good-sized amount of filling, made with a flour tortilla only. Cheese is optional.
      Quesadillas are made with a flour or corn tortilla folded over into a half moon shape, always have cheese and sometimes other ingredients in more moderate quantities, and can be grilled or fried.

    2. I think those are the Mexico City style of quesadillas. Here's a place in a LA that serves them and some discussion re: the same:

      2 Replies
      1. re: mollyomormon

        There are two distinct styles of Quesadillas in Mexico & surrounding environs... both made with fresh masa, both stuffed while the "inside" of the tortilla is stuffed. Some are fried others are griddled. Technically, I believe the fried version originates in Queretaro, and the griddled in the Mexico City / State area... but the fillings there (Huitlacoche, Squash Blossoms, Chapulines, Quelites etc.) are very different than mentioned by the OP.

        1. re: mollyomormon

          I ate that fried style in Mexico City as a child 30 years ago. As my uncle would drive us all over that region, we'd find stands set up at roadside rest stops. The ladies would flatten out some raw corn masa between a tortilla press, fill it with cheese and some grilled meat, fold over one side into half round packet, and fry them in a shallow pan until golden brown. I remember them using a wok shaped pan, but it might have been a steel hubcap for all I know.

          There are similar things called gorditas here in So Cal. They're not quite the half moon shape, but similar idea.

        2. As a child growing up in a Mexican-American household in the 70s and 80s, I never saw the grilled flour tortilla filled with cheese and meats, etc. We had quesadillas all right but the term always designated a smallish corn tortilla stuffed with cheese (and only cheese) and shallow-fried in about an inch of oil. Drained on a paper towel and eaten with spicy salsa (and occasionally sour cream), this was my favorite after-school snack. I didn't see a grilled flour quesadilla until the early 90s and then only in chain-style restaurants like Chili's or TGI Friday's. I'd give the authenticity nod to the fried version. To complicate things even more, an authentic Mexican quesadilla (as opposed to the Mexican-American one I grew up eating) usually consists of raw corn masa rolled out as for a corn tortilla, but then filled with cheese and either dry-baked like a tortilla, or fried in oil.

          1 Reply
          1. re: antrobin

            My mother would fry them in just a bit of oil or margarine (the method I use) and usually just cheese. And always corn tortillas..... yum...... We are not Mexican American, we are Dominican American (and my mother never had a taco til she came to this country.) , but we had MANY Mexican American friends.....

          2. Actually, today we ate a local mexican joint called Salsitas and Kane had the quesedilla. It came stuffed with steak and a spicy cheese, deep fried and a dollop of guac and sour cream on the side. A flour tortilla fried bowl of pico was on the plate as well. He hate every freakin bite!

            1. One option given in the Kennedy's Tortilla Book is to fry the quesadilla in 1/2" of melted lard, the other is on the griddle. Her recipe starts with uncooked masa. In effect she makes a corn dough turnover. This version doesn't rule out using the same name for a folded, grilled flour tortilla with a cheese filling.


              1. The 'quesadillas' made from raw corn masa sound an awful like 'gorditas' or a Salvadoran pupusa. Interesting topic about the varieties and also regional naming conventions.

                I recalled a recent thread about 'puffy' quesadillas made in the Imperial Valley along the border: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/485770

                Paging Ed Dibble and others - have these been seen in NW Sonora, NE Baja or is this an American thing?

                1 Reply
                1. re: DiveFan

                  That's what I was going to say-it sounded like a pupusa-but I couldn't remember the name. We went to a hole-in-the-wall wonderful El Salvadorian place, and when we ordered them, (for like a dollar!) I remember thinking it was kind of like a deep-fried quesadilla...really really good with all kinds of different fillings to choose from-but I just had cheese.

                2. Some food porn is in order:

                  Central Mexico style Griddled Quesadilla stuffed with Rajas:


                  Central Mexico style Fried Quesadilla


                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                    OK, this finally got to me. Since I was within 10 miles of the restaurant today, I ordered the deep-fried quesadilla

                    From that link ...

                    This one is Sinaloan according to the waitress. A scoop of refried beans, cheese and optional beef or chicken with a touch ranchero sauce which had bell peppers is placed on a flour tortilla which is folded in half, the edges crimped and then deep-fried for a few minutes.

                    It was quite satisfying. Not greasy at all, the tortilla is pleasantly crispy. I opted for the chicken and there were generous pieces of shredded chicken inside.

                    It looked a little like the one from this blog and pretty similar procedure ... the shrimp version sounds great ... scroll down for photo.

                    "Then she brought out three plates of plump shrimp quesadillas. The shrimp is gently sautéed with both salsas added at the finish, then they’re added to a flour tortilla with shredded cheese and more salsa, sealed and—get ready for this—flash fried."

                    It is its own unique dish. It is not a gordita, pupusa, chimichanga, fried burrito or fried taco. More like a crispy large empanada.

                    1. re: rworange

                      How do you crimp the edges, and does it go into a batter or just as is? Now I am hungry to try this!

                      1. re: danhole

                        You know ... I'm not sure ... I was taken by the murals in the restaurant and didn't catch the quesadilla making until it was about to be plopped in the hot oil. I just saw him pressing around the edges.

                        It did seem though to be a more doughy, softer tortilla so that pressed together the sides would stick ... like pie dough. For extra safety there was a tiny fold on each side.

                        However, it wasn't an empanada because the dough was ... well ... tortilla-like. Not the same as empanada dough.

                      2. re: rworange

                        Sorry, the quesadilla was Jalisco style, not Sinaloan.

                        1. re: rworange

                          Well I got here late, but I had never had a fried quesadilla until today. I was in my favorite Mexican place and I had gotten the folded over flour tortilla with cheese and sometimes other fillings and griddled before. I decided I'd get one with the homemade chorizo and the daughter of one of the brothers asked me "fried or griddled?" I asked her about the fried and she said it was her favorite way to have it with chorizo. What the heck, I thought and she's attractive enough to talk me into eye of newt if they served it. It came back in a fried corn tortilla containing a nice soft lump of white cheese and a generous portion of chorizo inside the crispy fried tortilla. The tortilla was about 5 inches in diameter instead of those large flour tortillas. It's probably a cardiologist's no-no, but it was good.
                          Someone told me it's traditional and the family I know is originally from Jalisco.

                    2. Janizito's Mexican restaurant on Walzem road in San Antonio makes them the deep fried way. Their's a discs of fresh masa dough with cheese and or other things,then the dough is folded to form a half moon and deep fried.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: HollyDolly

                        But isn't that an empanada? I learned how to make empanadas from a young woman doing a demo at a grocery store and that is what she did.

                        1. re: danhole

                          I was thinking that, too, although the empanadas I've had are very thick and also somewhat sweet -- they have a kind of molassas flavor despite the meat.

                          Not to complicate matters, but what about a quesadilla when it's BAKED?

                          1. re: Frostee Donut

                            The empanada I saw the demo of was just refried beans and some white cheese put into a circle of fresh masa harina, pressed in a little turnover type press and deep fried for a minute or so. There was no sweetness, but I have to say that there are many different types of empanadas!

                            A baked quesadilla doesn't sound right, to me anyway.

                            1. re: danhole

                              I gues my microwaved quesadilla wouldn't sound right either.

                      2. RW, have you had the quesadillas at Fonda? I've often wondered how those were quesadillas and not empanadas...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: adrienne156

                          Hmmm ... not that I remember. Gives me an excuse to stop by and try them out.

                        2. 30-some years ago, when I was staying in a house near San Jose occupied mostly by guys who'd found themselves between wives and/or girlfriends, we had a routine every Friday night of cooking up a vat of refried beans, sausage, green chiles and cheese, and then all weekend we'd roll this mixture up in giant flour tortillas, tuck in the ends, and then fry them to a crisp. These and beer were practically our sole diet, all weekend, every weekend...and we lived through it, godnose how. Being young helps... Anyway, I'd never heard of any restaurant serving anything remotely like this, except of course for chimichangas. We just called'em Fried Burritos, but they sound an awful lot like these "quesadillas" to me. So I guess we weren't the only folks on the planet to defy the Cholesterol Gods thusly...