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Sep 8, 2003 02:57 PM

Migas v. Chilaquiles

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I have a question regarding the difference between migas and chilaquiles.

I am a Central Texan who has lived in San Francisco for the past 18 years. I usually make it back to Austin & Waco once a year to visit family and hit what few restaurants I can squeeze in (BBQ, CFS & Tex-Mex).

When I was groing up, we had a family dish call "migas" that is baked and that's I what remember restaurants doing 20 years ago. When I moved out to California, the only thing I could find that was even close was a dish called "chilaquiles" which is a skillet dish with approximately the same ingrediants - eggs, tortillas or chips, salsa, cheese and so on.

But just now when I did an internet search for migas recipes - all the recipes were done in skillet, not baked.

What happened? Can migas be baked and/or done in a skillet? Has the recipe evolved from baked to skillet?

Can y'all share you're favorite migas recipe with me or tell me who makes that best migas in Austin? - so that when I'm back at Thanksgiving, I can update my migas knowledge.

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  1. Migas, in my experience, are always a hopped up version of scrambled eggs with all the usual mexicanish ingredients with guac and salsa and tortillas on the side. Chilaquiles that I often see are just tortillas, cut into pieces and then skillet baked in a red sauce and no visible egg. Eggs are always offered as a natural side dish.
    Since these are simple comfort dishes, I bet they each come a million different ways. If you are ever in Dallas, try the Nuevo Leon Sunday brunch. It has both plus every other mexican comfort food you can think of (even churros.)

    8 Replies
    1. re: Donnie C

      Hmmm. I started out thinking the main difference between migas and chilquiles was baked v. skillet.

      But if you have had migas without tortillas/chips and chilaquiles without eggs (neither of which variations I have ever seen), it seems I'm even further from finding generally accepted definitions.

      Pending further research, maybe I'll just have to retreat to my childhood baked migas recipe and the contemporary serving of chilaquiles (since I never had chilaquiles as a child).

      1. re: Pssst

        I've been traveling to Mexico for some 40 years, and tearing up tortillas and then scrambling them into eggs for breakfast has always seemed, to me anyway, to be a fairly common practice throughout Mexico (although I don't recall any sort of definitive name until I got to Austin).

        For example, many years ago, I got a recipe from a Mexican friend. She just called it "Huevos con Tortilla Fritas," and it involved tearing up 5 corn tortillas, frying them in oil until slightly crispy, beating eggs with milk, S&P, pouring them into the skillet with the tortillas, and cooking over low heat until eggs are set.

        I have many recipes for chilaquiles. None of them calls for eggs, although it is suggested that after they are prepared, if one likes one can place a fried egg, or a chopped or sliced hard-cooked egg, on top for a garnish. The fried egg on top is particularly popular when the plain chilaquiles (no meat) are served for breakfast, which they often are.

        1. re: ChrissieH

          Hounds (not just you, Chrissie),

          by discussing this GREAT, HIGHLY INTERESTING TOPIC here, instead of on the General Topic board where it belongs, we're:

          1. depriving a national/international audience of this great info (this thread deserves widespread attention).

          2. depriving ourselves of the input of that wider audience

          3. frustrating those who'll one day search the general topics board for info on migas and chilaquies (90% of the usefulness of this site is in searching previous discussion) and won't find it!


          4. diluting the TX board (as great as this topic is) for those doggedly seeking practical local food tips.

          Now....if you want to recommned specific places to try this stuff, by all means, post it right here, y'all! (how's my pronunciation?). But talking foods/cuisines as generalities belongs on (you guessed it) General Topics. And our lousy software doesn't allow us to just move it where it belongs, so we count on you to:

          PLEASE post stuff where it belongs: conserve this board ONLY for local chow tips. Not because me and the moderators are anal ninnies who live to get on your case, but just 'cuz it works better for all hounds using the board!


          1. re: Jim Leff

            You still have too many syllables in "y'all," Jim. (And not enough syllables in "yes.") But we'll forgive you...this time.

            How do we move the thread to the General Topics board?

            1. re: Kirk

              Anytime any thread anywhere on chowhound has digressed beyond the context of the board it's on, and you want to reply,
              just start a new thread on the correct board.

              Proceed naturally with the conversation there. Start off mentioning where the discussion started (old board name and discussion title). Then go back to the old thread and ask participants to join you in the continuation on (new board name/discussion title)

              low-tech all the way!


              1. re: Jim Leff

                Just in case others have comments to add regarding the composition of migas or chilaquiles, I have added a post to the general board. See link below


        2. re: Pssst

          as a kid in california my mom who is from mcallen tx made us migas for breakfast often which were corn tortilla cut or torn into small pieces and fried to a crisp after which an egg was added and it was scrambled all together. she called tyhat migas. as we grew older we ased her to incorporatethe salsa wqhich we usually added on top after they were served and also cheese. i remember her saying those arent migas those are chilaquiles. ands when i ased... whats the difference? she replied chiAQUILES ARE MADE WITH CHILE OTHERWISE SALSA IN CALI} SO NATURALLY WHEN I SAW THIS I WAS AND AM INTERESTED IN KNOWING THAT ANSWER TOO.

          1. re: LODILOPEZ

            This, I'm pretty sure, sets some kind of time since original post record. Wiki does a fair job of distinguishing migas from chilaquiles and regional variations can blur the lines. In my experience, chilaquiles is focused on the corn chips and chile sauce of whatever type, whereas the migas is focused more on the eggs and chips, without sauce.

            can say coincidentally the beef tongue chilaquiles dish I had last weekend at Odd Duck were the best I've eaten.

      2. According to "La Cocina de la Frontera" by James Peyton, migas is a bread casserole as opposed to a tortilla casserole. But these kinds of dishes change wildly from region to region. If you look at the defintion of the word, you might get some idea:

        miga sustantivo femenino1 [de pan]
        la miga the inside part of the bread; the crumb
        2 migas (culinario, cocina) fried breadcrumbs
        ŸMODISMO:hacer buenas migas con alguien to get on well with somebody
        3 (= sustancia) substance
        esto tiene su miga there's more to this than meets the eye
        4 (= pedazo) bit
        hacer algo migas to break or smash something to pieces
        hacer migas a alguien to shatter somebody

        2 Replies
        1. re: Nick

          Thanks for the reference. I'll have to check out the Peyton book, it sounds interesting.

          I had read that the dish began life as a Spanish dish made with bread. I was mostly interested over seems to be an execution evolution in Austin from a baked dish to a skillet dish over a 20 year period.

          1. re: Pssst

            In Spanish cooking, the word "migas" means croutons. There's a dish called Huevos Fritos con Migas, which is Spanish-fried eggs (essentially eggs pan-fried in a large amount of olive oil) and fried bread with garlic. It is absolutely delicious and a great hang-over cure, but as different from migas and chilaquiles as Spanish chorizo is from Mexican chorizo. Same word, but completely different interpretation ... sort of like "chips" in England and North America.

            Recipe for the Spanish version is linked below. You'll have to translate it yourself.


        2. Migas are always an egg dish, Chilaquiles are not. Chilaqulies are corn tortillas in red or green sauce, sometimes with chicken, pork or beef (most commonly chicken), then topped with cheese and baked. Migas are a Tex-Mex dish of eggs scrambled with tortilla chips, cheese, peppers, onion and tomato. There are, of course, many variations.

          I think Austin's best Migas are at Trudy's/South Congress Cafe.

          1. I love those Mexican style eggs, but they always give mi gas.

            Heh, heh, heh...

            Sorry, I couldn't resist.


            1 Reply
            1. re: Stewart

              Stewart - will you please observe the rules of this board and immediately move this comment to the Food/General Topics/Humor/Sophomoric/Mexican/con gas/muy mal page promptly.
              Thank you in advance for your fine addition to this often overlooked page.

            2. To answer your second question - my favorite version of what we in Austin know as migas is at the Austin Diner on 5300 Burnet. I was surprised, too, but they were very good 9 out of the 10 times that I had them. Avoid the bacon there.